Are H&M and Forever 21 Cost-Effective?

Are H&M and Forever 21 Cost-Effective?

Is it worth buying cheaper clothing, if it won't last as long? That depends on how long it will last, and how expensive the alternative is. If you hold onto clothes until they're worn out (and 88% of women do, according to BIGresearch, an Ohio-based consumer intelligence firm), it might actually be worth your while to go for the higher-priced items.

We’ve tracked some of our favorite clothes from H&M and Forever 21, to see how they stack up.

H&M Denim Skirt - $10 (on sale)

Amount Worn: 3-4 years
We’ve had this skirt for four years and worn it about 30 times. Since it’s denim, we’ve washed it less often than we'd have washed cotton. It’s kept its shape and could easily last another season.
Bottom Line: H&M is good for sturdy fabrics like denim.
Worth It? Yes.

H&M Cotton Black V-Neck - $15

Amount Worn: 2 months
We wear this t-shirt with just about everything, but it has only lasted a few months. The black was discolored and we got a hole in the cotton.
Bottom Line: A high-quality black shirt can last three years, whereas this only lasted a few months.
Worth It? No.

Forever 21 Black Cotton-Acrylic Sweater - $20

Amount Worn: 2 years
Our favorite go-to sweater has lasted two seasons. Although it’s ready to retire, we still wear once in a while. The material looks worn, but we had a good run with it.
Bottom Line: We're satisfied getting two years from $20, since many high quality sweaters are sold at nearly five times the price. As long as you're willing to forgo wool, you'll find a bargain in synthetic fabrics at Forever 21.
Worth It? Yes.

Forever 21 Plaid Dress - $30

Amount Worn: 2 months
The dress is super comfortable, but it lost its shape after only three washes. Still, with this particular style quickly going out with the winds of fashion, we won’t be sad to toss it.
Bottom Line: If you’re buying a classic dress that you want to wear again and again, go with a more upscale brand. But, if you want a trendy ensemble for just one season, head to Forever 21.
Worth It? Maybe.

All in all, we found that some items are major bargains at low-cost fashion stores like H&M and Forever 21, but other items become worn out too quickly to justify even the low cost. We like stores such as Forever 21 and H&M for super-trendy clothes that we won't mind tossing in a season or two--and highly durable fabrics like denim, acrylic blends and nylon.

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