Does Forever 21 Run Small Or Big? (Sizing Review)

Forever 21 clothing tends to run small. Therefore, in order to get the perfect fit, you need to size up.

The 2010s have been all about the rise of fast fashion stores. And leading the charge has been Forever 21, a youth-centric brand that provides customers with the latest trends at really cheap prices.

In this article, I am going to cover the sizing issues at Forever 21 in great detail, and I will tell you exactly what size you need to buy for the best fit.

How does Forever 21 Fit?

forever 21

Forever 21 does not run true to size. While there are a lot of brands at their store, most of them tend to run small.

Why is this the case? Well, it’s in the name.

Forever 21 was started to cater to an extremely urban and young audience. Add to that vanity sizing, and you will realize that there is not much for healthy adults at their store.

Because Forever 21 carries a lot of different brands at its stores, they practically have no control over the sizing of these sub-brands. Therefore, it may be entirely possible that you buy two pairs of jeans in the same size from two different sub-brands but they both end up fitting you completely differently.

So what should you do?

Here’s what I recommend. Go to a page on Forever 21’s website that has a size chart button, such as this one. Now, at the right, you will see a small link that says Size Guide.

forever 21 website
The size chart button on Forever 21’s product pages.

Now, compare your measurements with the size chart, and simply go one size bigger than what their size chart recommends, especially if you are in-between sizes.

The only exception to this rule of thumb are dresses, because they run true to size on the Forever 21 website.

One more thing 👉 Whatever product you want to buy, try looking for it in the clearance section at Forever 21. Due to a glitch in their system, sometimes certain discounts are applicable only after going through the sale section. They won’t be there if you directly go to the product link.

Which Forever 21 Items Run Small?

Forever 21 ClothingSizing
Tops and ShirtsRun small.
JeansRun small.
DressesTrue to size.
ShortsRun small.

Tops and Shirts

The tops and shirts at Forever 21 run small. Some run true to size, but it’s just better to size up because even those clothes are going to shrink.

Forever 21 has an extremely humongous collection of tops and shirts, for both men and women. The quality is also pretty decent when compared to the crap that most other brands are providing.

But the sizing is so all over the place, that it becomes necessary to size up, just to be on the safer side of the spectrum.


Forever 21 jeans tend to fit very tightly. They run small, so sizing up is recommended for a better fit.

Every sub-brand under Forever 21 has its own pair of jeans with its own complicated sizing system, which makes the entire buying process more difficult.

But across the board, most of the denim in both the men’s and the women’s section generally ran small. Go for one size larger than your actual size.


The dresses at Forever 21 run true to size, but given the vast number of brands under their roof, it is really important to pay close attention to the product size chart.

The size chart is the thing that is going to help you make the decision-making process much easier. Just compare the measurements on it with your own body measurements, and buy the size that matches you the most.


Forever 21 shorts are notoriously ill-fitting. Due to the concept of vanity sizing, most of their shorts tend to run small.

I purchased three different pairs of shorts at a Forever 21 store, all claiming to be a 32 waist. All of them fit me tight, and sizing up to a size 34 pair is what made things work.

So here’s your mantra for shopping at Forever 21 – When in doubt, size up.

Forever 21 Size Chart For Men

All measurements are in inches.

Shirts, Hoodies, and Sweaters

XS33 – 35
S35 – 37
M37 – 40
L40 – 43
XL43 – 46

Jeans and Pants


Forever 21 Size Chart For Women

All measurements are in inches.


XS3224 – 2533 – 34
S34 – 3526 – 2735 – 36
M36 – 3728 – 2938 – 40
L38 – 3930 – 3142 – 44



Does Forever 21 Make Plus-Size Clothing?

Forever 21 does make plus-size clothing, but even their plus-size clothing tends to run small. Therefore, you would need to size up in order to get the perfect fit.

The collection is pretty diverse, and the sizes run up to 3XL in most categories. But the area of contention is the actual sizing.

The sizing is completely unreliable at Forever 21. Because they have a bunch of different brands under their store, no two jeans fit alike. Therefore, to be on the safer side, I would recommend you to size up.

They have a separate plus-size sizing guide that you can check out on their website.

Final Remarks

Forever 21 is a mess when it comes to getting their sizes right. But still, it is perhaps one of the only few places that will help you find trendy designer-level clothing for dirt-cheap prices. Thus, in this article, I tried to make the entire size selection process easier for you.

Here’s a quick recap.

Does Forever 21 run small? Forever 21 generally runs a bit small, because of their young target demographic. Apart from this, the wide variety of brands available at Forever 21 also makes the sizing system pretty inconsistent.