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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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd