Over the weekend: Forever 21 opens a megastore at the Denver Pavilions

I call Forever 21 "Forever 12" because it's my seventh-grader's shopping destination of choice. But I'm also an old fart who can't fit into anything really skimpy anymore. And I do know this: millions of young women (and even some older ones) swear by Forever 21, and they should.

It keeps them looking smart and chic without putting too much of a dent into their humongous handbags and pretty little pocketbooks (not to mention mine, as the doler of funds for pre-teen clothing shopping sprees). So, yeah, I took the kid and her friend for the big grand opening celebration on Saturday at the newly expanded, two-story extravaganza of a Forever 21 store in the Denver Pavilions.

We arrived right after the store opened, and it was already packed. An adorable bowler-hatted Clockwork Orange-dressed Forever 21 ambassador named Rachel greeted us at the door with a big, red-lipped smile and a 10 percent-off coupon, and we wafted onto the bright, shiny floor, blasted out by DJ spins and ready to shop till we dropped. I immediately lost the girls and did not see them again until it was time to pay the damages, but in the meantime, here's what I saw: girls and women of all ages, some dressed to the nines and ready to strike a pose, and others looking perfectly normal; cute boys with nice hair (most of whom worked there); Muslim women in hajibs and Mickey Mouse T-shirts; little kids who dutifully carried piles of clothing for their moms; elegant lesbian biker types; artistes and career girls; and, I don't know, girls, girls and more girls.

From what I saw (skinny kids bent over under the weight of what they'd ripped off the racks and dressing-room lines stretching halfway across the store), I'd call the new, improved, monster Forever 21 a total success. As one trio of heart-breakingly pretty girls waiting to try on their finds (one of them, thin and tall with dark hair streaked blindingly white, looked like she'd walked out of a manga comic) told me, "We've been waiting for this for MONTHS! It's our favorite store!" I don't doubt that for a minute. Forever 21, I think, is here to stay. Forever.


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