Hi, lovelies! 💛 I hope you’re having a beautiful Wednesday! Last weekend, I headed to the mall in search of good summer-to-fall transition outfits. After visiting a few stores, I couldn’t help but notice a lot of similarities (and differences) when it came to all of the pieces and outfits.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been intrigued by how retail stores decide to piece outfits together. The outfits on mannequins always intimidated me because of their bold elements. That didn’t stop me from loving and wanting to wear them anyway! I’ve never been the best at styling different pieces together and thought the mannequins’ outfits looked pretty seamless!
I decided to buy three outfits highlighted by different trendy retail stores via their mannequins. My main goal in mind was to assess two things. 1) How do the trends of each store overlap and stand out from one another this season (summer-to-fall)? and 2) Did getting styled by a mannequin make my shopping experience any easier?
This post is inspired by Safiya Nygaard (one of my favorite YouTubers of all time). About a year ago, she posted a video called “I Dressed Like Store Mannequins For A Week” and compared outfits from 7 retail stores, including Forever 21 and TopShop. Definitely check out her videos if you haven’t yet, she’s awesome!
For my experiment, I visited Charlotte Russe, Forever 21, and Windsor (since they’re pretty popular stores in general and I shop there most frequently). On to the outfits!
I should preface this by saying that Charlotte Russe is my go-to store for everyday wear. They also have fancier pieces, like cocktail dresses and blouses. As soon as we walked in, Alejandro spotted an outfit that was displayed in the front of the store. He mentioned that it looked like something I’d wear on an average day. He was absolutely right.
Jeans and a simple v-neck top. Although I like experimenting with patterns and colors, this was a basic outfit that’d work for any event.
When I first put on the outfit, I noticed that the jeans were extremely comfy (Charlotte Russe sells AMAZING jeans, y’all!) The shoes were a bit lackluster for me, initially. I wondered how they’d work out with the rest of the pieces. Plus, I had similar shoes in my closet. They actually grew on me pretty quickly and looked so cute with the jeans!
Out of all the pieces, the v-neck top ended up being a bit of a disappointment. For some reason, it wouldn’t sit right and kept riding up. If it sat just a little bit lower, the top would have been a perfect 10 because the fabric was so soft.
Charlotte Russe’s outfit was definitely the comfiest of the bunch. In general, the store also offers a lot more basic pieces in comparison to Windsor and Forever 21.
It was easy to locate the main pieces of the outfit together, but I couldn’t locate the sunglasses and necklace. I did end up finding a comparable necklace that went well with the look!
Overall, I had a good experience shopping at Charlotte Russe, felt comfortable in this outfit (aside from the top), and fell in love with my shoes!
Talk about an Instagrammable outfit! This entire look gave me Nancy from Stranger Things vibes.
Forever 21 has such an eclectic selection of clothing, and is largely inspired by popular trends of each season. We saw plenty of stripes, denim, and sweaters that day (which I’m obsessing over). A lot of the pieces reminded me of childhood, which makes sense considering that 2018 has completely brought the 90’s back in fashion.
There were a good amount of 70’s inspired pieces as well, especially with all of the bold patterns and oversized flannels.
This outfit excited me the most out of my three looks, even though it was a bit intimidating to try on. Each piece stood out individually and I worried if the sweater, skirt, and boots together would be too much. I’ve always been a fan of striped sweaters, though. After all, the best time to wear a striped sweater is all the time. (Yes, I just quoted Spongebob hehe!) Plus, those boots! I mean, wow!
Y’all….the look did not translate well from photo to real life, and I don’t mean aesthetically. Everything flowed well together and the sweater was gorgeous. But let’s talk about this skirt. The front buttons would unfasten with the slightest moment. Super terrifying! I couldn’t even really sit down.
Fun fact: I moved at a snail pace while posing for the bench photo. Yikes!! Cue the nervous laughter and extremely awkward pose here!
The boots were epic (and I reached my goal of being taller than Alejandro for a second without his shoes on)! Aside from that accomplishment….they were pretty tight and uncomfortable.
At the end of the day, this outfit is trendy and perfect for an Instagram photo shoot! However, it’s not exactly practical or easy to wear in real life.
The last store that we stopped at was Windsor. I don’t shop at Windsor as much in comparison to Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe, but their clothes are great for formal events. Just by looking through the store for a few minutes, I noticed that Windsor didn’t suggest as many outfits to their customers via mannequins. Instead, they tended to highlight certain pieces (like a blouse or bodycon dress).
The Windsor at my local mall had a smaller selection of pieces compared to Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe, so that may be why the options were more limited. There were a lot of fancier pieces perfect for going out, and the store didn’t offer as many daytime outfits.
Like Charlotte Russe, Windsor seemed to focus more on timeless pieces rather than trendy fashion staples. I did see a few plaid outfits and bold patterns here and there, though. They also offered a lot of dresses for homecoming and even bridal pieces!
After some browsing, I found a mannequin that had on a cute blouse and statement necklace. Immediately, I thought the blouse would be so pretty during the holidays and I loved the back! I ended up pairing the blouse with a patterned skirt and shoes from my own closet.
Even though Windsor’s mannequins didn’t always display a complete look, I do think their individual pieces work well with a lot of outfits and are pretty versatile. I didn’t struggle piecing together my outfit when I came home and was happy with how the look turned out!
After going shopping, I realized that each retail store’s personal styles both stood out and overlapped. Forever 21 offered the trendiest varieties out of the three shops and is heavily inspired by 90’s fashion this season. Charlotte Russe was somewhere in the middle and had more basic pieces. Windsor offered versatile but fancier pieces in general. As for similarities, their racks were already filled with a lot of fall themed clothing and summer-to-fall transition pieces.
I don’t think getting styled by retail stores through their mannequins necessarily makes the shopping experience easier. However, it brought me out of my comfort zone and introduced me to new pieces that I may never have tried on otherwise!
I hope that you enjoyed this post, lovelies! Have a wonderful day! x
What are some of your favorite stores to shop at? What do you think of Charlotte Russe, Forever 21, and Windsor’s pieces? Also, which outfit did you like the best overall?