Here’s exactly what spouses think about Forever 21’s new PT-inspired line


By Rebecca Alwine

Yesterday was a trying day. The kids woke up early and it was early release. The laptop wasn’t working and I really didn’t want to do anything. And then, midway through my afternoon, the local wives’ page started hopping.

You see, clothing store Forever 21 has some new products for sale. . . the military wives just couldn’t believe their eyes. You’re not going to believe it–and you’re probably not going to run to the store, either. Here’s a peek:

(Photo: Screenshot, Rebecca Alwine)

Let that sink in: $40 for this outdated, cut up, Army gym shirt. You know, the one who you still have on the closet floor because the wear-out date is later this year. The one that you may have donned for a variety of reasons in the comfort of your own home and maybe when running to Walmart in the middle of the night.

But as a dress?

Like this?

Wives everywhere are shuddering.

There’s a cross between disbelief and anger. . . with a little bit of jealousy thrown in. After all, my first thought was “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Army wife Robin agreed with me: “With all the old ones my husband has I could make some serious cash selling them for $40!”

Former soldier and military spouse Erin was shocked. She couldn’t even imagine someone wearing it. And cannot believe people would pay $40 for it.

While we were giggling over the ridiculousness (and ugliness) of the line, we were also figuring out ways to make it better. The conversation continued far into the night. One wife said she has some complete with pit stains and holes–she thought that would add some extra charm.  Another thought that a PT belt tied into a bow right at the small of the back would be worth at least another $20.

It was refreshing to see the conversation continue. Wives were thoroughly enjoying this conversation, no one (except the designer) was getting picked on, and we were united. Never once was the “D word” dropped, never once was a wife ridiculed. It was wonderful.

And it got better.

(Photo: Screenshot, Rebecca Alwine)

Suddenly we all became wanna be DIYers. “Grab your scissors and save your money!” one wife posted.

You know, there is something cute about a t-shirt dress in dark green. Or dressing your kids in camo for photos. But wearing this stuff? No way. Absolutely not.

I know you’re thinking: It’s not so bad, right? Just some PT shirts repurposed. And I haven’t shopped in Forever21 since, well, never. And I’ve heard they are having some problems paying the bills and are closing some stores. Including the one where I live.

Then it crossed a line.

(Photo: Screenshot, Rebecca Alwine)

(Update, May 6, 12:07 AM: It has come to our attention that this photo is not a direct screenshot from the Forever 21 website but a screenshot of a widely circulated screenshot that could have been altered.)

The implication seemed to be that we’re all barracks bunnies, who just flounce from soldier to soldier. We don’t have serious relationships. . . it’s all about sex. And, let’s imply that all service members are male and all they want from women is sex. Let’s insult women  by inferring they only wear things because it would make a man happy.

Y’all, there are so many things wrong with this line.

In case you’re wondering what service members think of this line? Well, it’s not pretty either.

I do want to leave you with one helpful tip I’ve learned from 10 years of being a military spouse. These–believe it or not–are not bracelets. But they do make excellent emergency hair ties. We’ll be expecting them to show up in Forever 21’s accessory section soon.

91 Comments

        1. unfortunately I don’t believe you are seriously upset at this due to your insufficient number of exclamation points!!!!

  1. “Sneak out of his barracks in style”? Are they kidding me?! Way to perpetuate negative stereotypes of women and service members. Way to negate female service members. Way to just completely disregard any form of respect for milspouses. This is disgusting.

  2. I think the line is ridiculous, but the second half of the story about objectifying women and implying that all service members are men, etc. is a bit of a stretch. We don’t have to turn everything into a sexist and gender issue. I don’t see this as that big of a deal. I wouldn’t purchase the clothes, obviously, but I’m not enraged about it. This is something I think we should roll our eyes at and move on..

    1. I think it was the “all women are sluts” like tag line next to the black crappy dress that pissed women off…

      1. Totally agree. As and female ex-military vet I found it a bit insulting to the service of women in the military. The sneak out of the barracks comment was low class, riduculous and uncalled for.

    2. I see it a big deal… no one but military should even be wearing this uniform but military!! You guys didn’t put In the work to be in the army and do what we do on a daily basics!!! It even pisses me off to see some military spouse to wear one to the store! It’s our uniform! It’s fucking means something….. as a female soldier in the army

      1. Seriously, pisses you off a military wife wears it. See when my husband asked me to wear one of his I see it as a honor. I support him in all of the deployments, moving every three years, giving up my career to support his while trying to get a job in my field every three years. That pisses me off.

        1. I have to agree with the original comment. As a female currently serving in the military, I’ve worn this uniform everyday when I was exhausted and didn’t feel like even moving, let alone getting up to go physically train. Ive worn it while standing in formations in training alongside women who are tired, hungry, homesick, etc.. I’ve worn it while it’s dripping in MY sweat and washed it with MY hands to get out the stains that I made. There’s a difference. Yes, you support your spouse by picking this uniform up off the ground and washing it when it’s dirty, but for you to compare that to a service member’s attachment to this uniform it sickens me. Unless you’re the one training in the uniform and creating the sweat in it, you have no right to wear it. It’s an honor when your husband lets you wear it? Really? It’s an honor that your husband has earned to wear it on his own. He and I earned the right to wear it along with the other uniforms we wear every single day. Do not confuse your sacrifices with ours.

          1. First of all I want to thank you for your service and the sacrifices that you make. What I also want to say is that I think you’re out of line. Pam wearing that shirt is between two people-Pam and her husband. From the comments that you made about her supporting her spouse by washing his shirt (classless and demeaning) and minimizing the sacrifices SHE has made leads me to believe that you are not married. Either that or you like to demean your spouse too, but I’m betting more on, with your warmth and sparkling, loving personality, not married. Please stay that way.

          2. “Picking this uniform up off the ground and washing it”?…
            #1. My husband would never throw any of his uniforms (he’s a cop too) on the ground.
            #2. You must have more training to attend or growing up to do because you have not learned respect. When our spouses or children are gone for months at a time sometimes that stained smelly tshirt is something we can hold on to. God forbid one should get killed and their children want to wear daddy or mommies old shirt. Any married person knows there is no He/She and I. It’s an US ..you support EACHOTHER…it’s not one sided. Both make sacrifices. So for you to demean any spouse, let alone a military spouse, is disgusting. I also served at one point so don’t bother going that route either…
            As for this clothing it is disrespectful…to cut up uniforms and have it (try) to be a fashion line is trashy. They should discontinue it and apologize to all service members!!

          3. As a female serving my country I completely agree with Courtney and anon. What you do on the inside of your home is up to you, but going out in public wearing even your spouses uniform- even if it’s just a PT shirt shouldn’t be allowed. That still a uniform. One issued to US at basic training.

          1. Alexandra, it is issued during basic, but any jo blow can pick one up at a surplus store or online. Now that being said, I can not stand it when a military spouse spouts off about their sacrifices. All married people make sacrifices for the betterment of their spouse’s career, or at least healthy marriages do. So that old and tired excuse needs to be retired. If you are a military spouse, do what spouses of police officers or fire fighters, etc. do and pick up a shirt supporting their branch or have one made. There is no reason to leave the house in your spouse’s uniform, civilian or otherwise. I miss the days when people wouldn’t dare step out of the house wearing anything less than business casual. You are representing you’re spouse when you leave home, at least have some shred of dignity and look presentable.

        2. Pam, as a military spouse, let me remind you… the “sacrifices” we do are not for the military… everything we do & go through is for our husbands. We shouldn’t wear their uniform nor their rank! We DIDN’T joined the military, we joined OUR HUSBANDS… for love to them not our country! They are the ones working their butts off to keep us & our country safe! I agree with Courtney.

      2. I agree with you completely. I’m not in the military and I think it is disrespectful to sell military clothing anywhere, in any store. Once a military member in no longer in the military then should be able to keep it or give it back to the military for more military members to use. It even bothers me when I see homeless people wearing military clothing. They wouldn’t get ahold of it unless it was given to them or bought by someone else and given to them. This Forever21 should get a lawsuit against them. Their army clothing line is a disgrace, and outrageous disrespect to our country’s military, men and women alike. Trash the shirts, make some apologies to our military & our nation’s men and women, and lastly SHUT DOWN ALL FOREVER21 STORES FOR GOOD.

        1. Do you really think that not a one of those homeless people are veterans? SERIOUSLY? Most of them EARNED those uniform pieces, and the thanks they get from our oh so grateful nation is to be forgotten and left on the street. There is a huge homeless problem for our veteran community, and your ridiculous comment is both rude, disrespectful, and completely ignorant. Open your eyes, do a Google search, something. Better yet, TALK TO ONE OF THEM. I can’t even believe you said that.

        2. How about no.

          “Our military sacrifices so that you can live in a FREE country!!!!!!”

          “It should be ILLEGAL for anyone not in the miltary to wear a T-Shirt!!!!!”

          LOL

          Add extra !!!!! For increased effect

    3. You said what I was thinking. People get so easily offended. There are better things to waste your energy on.

  3. It’s gross. But like you’ve mentioned, this particular pt shirt will be gone by the end of the year as the black and yellow steps in. Someone had to buy all the extras .

  4. Hey I actually wear one of the blouson straps on my left wrist. Yep I wear it every day my son is deployed, it was an actual piece of his uniform he wore, and I don’t take it off until the day he steps off that ship. It’s a piece of him I have with me at all times, it’s important, it’s not meant to make a profit off of, and it’s definitely not a hair tye.

    1. I wear my boyfriendblouson strap. I always have it on my right wrist. It makes me feel so much closer to him while he is gone. Definitely not something I’m making money from and I’m definitely not using it as a hair tie. I never take it off even when I’m with him.

  5. I don’t see disrespectful in anyway, it is upcycling. I personally was pissed when asshat wives found a way to wear their husband’s rank by making the cammo purses out of shirt, name and rank patch. That was ridiculous and 10x worse than this. Or just wearing their husband’s “cover” to store with messy ponytail just to get hoots from other soldiers and “the look” of envy from other wives.
    As for the wording ? Yeah it could have been worded better but having lived by Fort Hood for years I can tell you the bunnies multiply and are rampant. It isn’t as secret sneaky as it was 15 years ago. So it happens so why hide it? It made me snicker. Offending the female soldier? If this is degrading to them then they need a tougher skin.

    1. Melissa, if you had any ounce of what it is to be a military member or spouse you would know why this is disrespectful.

      1. I’ve been a military spouse, military mother, and my husband is a vet. Neither he nor I find it disrespectful, just silly. Sometimes I think people look for reasons to be disrespected.

        1. It is disrespectful to female military members. Until you are treated less than because you are a female in service you’ll never understand the magnitude of disrespect that it carries. And as far as your husband being a vet and finding it funny that is exactly what is wrong with the service today. Women who put on the uniform are made a mockery of so there is nothing silly about this.

        2. I agree…. I am a spouse and I dont see anything disrespectful about it. I don’t understand why anyone would want to wear this let alone for $40 lol

          1. I’m a spouse too and the only thing I find disrespectful is that price tag. If they are gonna charge that much they should be donating that money to help military families. Lord knows I need it lol. I’m gonna go ahead and repurpose one of my husband’s PT shirts and wear it as a cute dress when he comes back from his deployment. I’m sure he would find it sexy and he would love it.

      2. Eric, I was a spouse for 9 years and now I’m active duty. I don’t find it disrespectful and I really don’t care.

  6. What the hell is this? “Sneak out of his barracks in style” the flying hell?? Just.. no. Forever 21.. Just no.. stop it…

  7. That is not PT belt >.> not one that I’ve seen away (usually reflecting yellow) . If I wanted to wear his clothes I’d do it. I dare you to wear that on a military base and see if no one tells you shit or laughs at you for how disrespectful you are and how stupid you look >.>

  8. So lame – disrespectful, rude, classless, and lacking any sort of design skill – someone should be fired – such cheap, low quality merchandise insults the Army name. Low Zero.

  9. Stay classy Forever 21. As a female Marine. I have to say this is ridiculous. It is like when I see people in our dress blue coats. It is all wrong because we as military individuals earned the right to wear those items of clothing. Wow 😳

    1. You didn’t earn the right to wear anything. You had the right to wear whatever you wanted before you joined. One of the side effects of living in a free country.

      Did you join to fight for Freeedom, or so that you can feel superior to others?

  10. How about instead of sneaking out of the barracks they use the tagline, “You have me at TRICARE and BAH”

  11. Dear baby Jesus- I’m not offended that it’s sexist, or implies anything, or that it is disrespectful, I’m just offended that out of every adorable military inspired line they chose this tacky, untasteful, trashy, outdated junk.

    But then again it is Forever21.

  12. As a prior serving female in the Army, this seems pretty distasteful on many levels… It’s kind of a rule to never wear your uniform (this is part of the PT uniform) with civilian clothes. While I know these aren’t government issue, they aren’t desicrating an actual uniform… but there is something wrong about cutting a replica into a wannabe sexy little number. Anyhow, I was sexy in this shirt, LONG ago… I wore it with my PT shorts and ugly Army issue New Balances. However, the most sexy, strengthening aspect of wearing this shirt is taking an oath to kick a**. Hoo-ah? Hoo-ah.

  13. I am in the service – and I am completely BEWILDERED! I don’t know why they think this is okay?? Being in the Army or being an Army Wife is not glamorous, sexy or any of that. It’s sacrifice and tears and hard work. Some people even lose their lives, yet Forever 21 thinks that it’s just a fashion line. I hope they realize that and take these clothes down.

  14. I’m a market capitalist and a currently serving serviceman and I believe there is little wrong with this line of clothing, other than my personal opinion that its tacky.

    Military-style clothing has always been a recurring fashion trend. Patrol caps, jungle boots, fake ID tags etc. etc. etc.

    I fail to see how this is different. It sells and apparently sells decently.

    Do we service members get offended so easily? Do we really think we are so special and above the common People that our decorum, clothing, and traditions are off limits from being enjoyed and inspired from? We serve the People. We are servants. Do not forget that.

    1. Your very right and civilians know very little about military life, culture, rules and regulations. So in their own perverted way they think they are paying homage to the service members and helping boost support for the military. Every year I attend a camouflage cruise in NYC and I always redesign an old uniform of my husbands as an outfit instead of buying a store bought outfit. If you ask a civilian about military life it all perception and less actual facts. When you don’t know you imagine and create.

  15. I wouldn’t wear any of it personally, but if all of you would actually do your research, you’d know that the picture is fake. Yes, they do have an “army” collection, but they never put text beside their clothing like that, especially something so offensive; don’t believe me? Go to the site and look at it yourself.

    1. And you;d be wrong. It’s legal, unless you do so with the intent of committing fraud of some kind. That would include any form of passing yourself off as a member of the military.

      1. Actually, supreme court ruled that stolen Valor was unconstitutional.

        One of the things about living in A free country is the risk that someone might do something you dont like. It’s funny that the people who pretend to “fight for freedom” are the ones who have an issue with people, ya know, being free and stuff.

  16. Omg!! Everyone is getting all bent out of shape over this. Your uniform should never be worn for anything other than your military purpose and that includes PT clothing. Yes the dress is in poor taste and that should be the end of it. All these other comments being made about inappropriateness towards female military and blah blah blah is just ridiculous.

  17. You mean to use the word “implying” not “inferring.”

    Forever 21 is implying that women only wear things to make men happy. I am inferring, from this article, that you think Forver 21’s new clothing line is garbage.

  18. It’s funny. I’m sure many of you had bdu pattern something when it was “in” don’t get bent up over something irrelevant to you lol it’s fast fashion and will be gone next week

  19. As a spouse of military man, I find this to be rather scarey. 40 dollars for my bum to hang out ?! A dress that will probably show everything (I’m large chested) ?! Who on earth thought this was a good idea ?! Purely insulted.

  20. I love wearing my man’s clothes! My husbands a soldier and I like to wear his old military clothes.
    I think it’s dumb that people take offense to that! Do you wear a bomber jacket? A trench coat? All inspired by military uniforms!

  21. Lmao the hair ties did me in those are blousing straps for our pants 😂😂😂😂😂 omg and if I dont have any of those I use pony tail holders I’m seriously dying right now over the uproar and the fact that this is a thing 😂😂😂👌🏽 Well played forever 21 well played

  22. Now What In the Total Fuck Made Them Come Up with This Shit Then Again Charging $40 😂😂😂😂 Sooooo Glad i dont Shop At Forever 22 Y’all Should Be Ashamed …… My husband Said It’s Stupid And It look stupid
    #FourYearsOfBeingAArmyWifeIThoughtI’dBeALittleMadder

  23. My estranged Army husband used to cut up his old PT shirts but I thought he was wearing them to the gym….not getting ready for the Spring ’17 collection, but this would explain so much…

  24. Have we forgotten the reason men and women serve, my understanding was that it was to protect the constitution of the United States… that being said they have a right to sell whatever trashy clothing line they want and you have the right to not shop there. we have the right to be offended and the right to offend. I bled for it and buried friends that died in service to it! Glad to live in a country where we can afford to debate something so trivial.

    1. I wore the uniform too Sir, but imo this is not trivial , as young girls boys etc,, think this is cool , i just simply do not like it..

      1. Yes, the fact that someone, particularly young women, are wearing something that you “simply don’t like” is beyond trivial and more into the category of inane and completely irrelevant.

  25. Seriously this is what people are worried about. It is just a shirt. Who cares. Write about the Airmen who are struggling with PTSD. Please tell me you have more going on than this

  26. LOL @ all of these women who are getting their panties in a bunch. Yes, you are a part of those people always looking for something to b**** about. Get over yourselves. It is just a shirt. Literally just a shirt. Maybe if it were an actual uniform with stripes like stolen valor, then yes, I’d definitely be mad also. But come on, it is a PT SHIRT. I never thought anyone could get so upset over a shirt, but then again, it is women after all. xD. As far as the comments go with advertising the shirt, yeah they could have gone a different direction. But they still caught your attention right? And that is exactly what they were trying to do. #winning

  27. Someone will buy it. There is always that 1 person. Rest of the world if you don’t like it, don’t buy it. That’s sends a clear picture of what the public really thinks.
    It’s sad they thought THIS would save their failing company. I’ve seen BDUs repurposed and ACUs repurposed in much better ways such as back packs and hand bags. Those were great! Not to mention Army wife made to help ends meet! What I’ve never seen is boot ties repurposed for the purpose of a hair tie apparatus in the Army! Pretty sure nobodies hair is green!

  28. As an Army MP veteran who served two tours in Iraq, I’m pretty disturbed by this new line of clothing. To me it seems to demean the hard work and extra miles ran by those who signed their name and earned the right to wear them. To sign up to defend your country should never be a fashion statement. By the way, an authentic Army PT shirt issued by the Army will not have any logo on the back. I remember receiving an Army PT shirt from my recruiter when I signed with the logo on the back as a “gift” or “promotional item” but when I got to basic all of our shirts that were issued were blank on the back.

  29. While this line sucks and those shirts are disgusting and easily soiled by sweat. As an exmilitary war veteran, I will say y’all need to stop acting like it’s a lie about the barracks being a hookup and sneak around plave…I witnessed it plenty of times. This is for the super young military crowd, and how a lot of this new generation gets down. Sex has been so glorified to them, that it exposes their minds to these type of communication.

  30. My only complaint would be, is this company putting some of the proceeds towards Wounded Warriors, Fallen Soldiers, Soldier Suicide Prevention? I could go on! If they are going to tastelessly sell something that promotes the Army, and especially at god awful ridiculous prices! Then why can’t some of the proceeds go toward helping the Soldiers? Just a thought!

  31. Sorry, ladies. The pic with the black dress is a meme I created and shared on Instagram. Forever 21 didn’t include the gaudy, pink text. I did. I was just so taken aback when a friend shared a screenshot of the PT shirt/dress that it was my first thought, unfortunately.

  32. I see anyone wearing this you will have the full force of a Military Dress Down from a former member of the United States Army Military Police. You think Drills Sgt. are bad piss of a MP.

  33. This should be illegal and forever 21 should be ashamed this should be banned and as a army wife supporting my husband I would dare put this shirt on this is his not mine. Something that shouldn’t be destroyed and sold for 40 dollars this is a requirement to a service memeber not a privledge to civilians

  34. so why are military wives complaining….. have you seen what some of those dependents do to their husbands uniform on base??? come on ladies….. really!

Comments are closed.