Rue21 Review – Should you still trust this teen specialty retailer?


Rue21 says it loves “making cool, casual clothes for the raddest people [it] knows”. Driven by its mission to make the latest trends affordable and available to the teeming youths (particularly teenagers) in the U.S., Rue21 opened locations in shopping malls, outlets, and strip centers all around the country. It soon became the “poster child” for mall-based apparel retail, providing its youthful customers affordable feel-good pieces in numerous locations across the country.

At one point, a continuous decline in mall traffic caused Rue21 to fall into bankruptcy leading to a closure of over 400 of its stores. In recent times, the effect of the COVID 19 pandemic has also brought about a decline in mall traffic. Knowing this, can Rue 21 still be trusted as a legit fashion store to shop from?

This Rue21 Review will put the teen specialty retailer under the microscope in order to provide you with the information that will help you answer this question.

What is Rue21?

Rue21 is an American retailer for trendy teen’s casuals and accessories that is headquartered in Warrendale, Pennsylvania. Rue21 has been around for longer than most people realize. It started in 1970 as Pennsylvania Fashions, a name it answered until 2003.

What is Rue21 Known for?

Rue21 is better known as a mall-based apparel retailer. Yes, there was a time (those times before the internet) when hitting the malls was the only way a fashion retailer could get its products to shoppers; and Rue21 was very successful at that.

At one time, Rue21 was operating almost 1,200 stores in shopping malls, outlets, and strip centers across the country. While it still has hundreds of physical stores across the country, Rue21 has had to move with shopping trends. It now also operates an online store via its website

Rue21 is also known as a discount fashion store. Its mission is to provide the latest trends with an affordable price tag. Thus, it has always pushed to make the latest teen casuals not only available, but also affordable.

What happened to Rue21?

Any time shifting shopping trends bring about a decline in mall traffic, mall-based apparel retailers suffer.

Many retailers have been so hit that they file for bankruptcy and disappear from the scenes. However, when hit in 2017, Rue21 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, allowing it to reorganize so as to become a stronger and more sustainable Rue21.

As part of the reorganization, Rue21 had to reduce its footprint by closing about 400 of its about 1,200 stores at the time. Understandably, as some Rue21 stores were closed, people started wondering what was happening, and asking whether Rue21 was going out of business. However, Rue21 did not go out of business, because hundreds of its high-performing stores remained open for business across the country.

The reorganization was smooth, and Rue21 quickly exited bankruptcy. Now, just over three years of falling into bankruptcy: many more Rue21 stores are being opened, it is expanding its plus-size apparel to more of its stores, its online store is being given some positive shake up, and it is rewarding all its customers than ever before.

Is Rue21 legit?

Oh yes, it is. In its 51 years’ stay in the apparel industry, Rue21 has seen it all. It must be said that the company (then as Pennsylvania Fashions) first fell into bankruptcy in 2002; but it came out fresher and stronger in 2003, as Rue21 Inc.

It also quickly exited its 2017 bankruptcy, coming out as “New Rue21 LLC”. It is now steadily increasing its footprint by opening and expanding more brick-and-mortar stores. Rue21 now has over 700 stores spread all over 45 States in the US. To find the Rue21 store closest to you, go to the website, find the store locator, and enter your zip code. More than ever before, Rue21 is pushing its online store, and also drawing the attention of online shoppers.

Definitely, Rue21 is not a scam fashion retailer that will take your money and disappear or send you garbage as apparel. It is a legit fashion US-based fashion retailer that generally fulfills orders satisfactorily.

What does Rue21 sell?

The niche of Rue21 in the apparel market is “street wear” – clothes that can be worn just about everywhere. The word “rue” is actually French for “street”. Rue21 provides the latest street styles that’ll allow you to express yourself. Its apparel gravitates from boring to playful styles, and from cute to daring styles. It’s all about clothes that make you look and feel great, giving you the confidence to embark on that next great adventure, and to live life to the fullest.  

Rue21 main product categories are: Girls, Plus, Guys, and Jeans

There are numerous products arranged in sections and subsections in each product category. For example, the Girls and Guys categories has the following:

GirlsClothing: Tops, Graphic Tees, Bottoms, Dresses, Jumpsuits + Rompers, Matching Sets, Swimwear, Jackets + Coats Tops: Graphics, Sweatshirts + Hoodies, Blouses + Shirts, Bodysuits, Tank Tops, Tees, Sweaters + Cardigans Bottoms: Jeans, Leggings, Joggers + Sweatpants, Pants, Shorts, Skirts Jeans: Ultimate Stretch, Curvy Jeans, Jeggings, Flare Jeans, Skate Jeans, Straight Jeans, High Waster Jeans, Skinny Jeans, Ripped Jeans, Mom Jeans, Dad Jeans Accessories: Jewelry, Beauty + Perfume, Hats, Sunglasses, Hair Accessories, Bags, Socks + Tights, Belts, Cloth Face Masks, Tech, Pet Accessories, Scarves Shoes: Slippers, Sandals, Boots, Flats, Heels, Sneakers Lingerie + Sleepwear: Bras + Bralettes, Sleepwear, Undies
GuysClothing: Tops, Graphic Tees, Bottoms, Swim Trunks, Jackets + Coats, Matching Sets, Champion Tops: Graphics, Shirts, Sweatshirts + Hoodies, Tank Tops, Jerseys, Tees Bottoms: Jeans, Joggers + Sweatpants, Trackpants, Pants, Shorts Jeans: Skinny Jeans, Skinny Arc, Super Skinny Jeans, Stacked Skinny, Slim Taper, Straight Jeans, Bootcut Jeans, Ripped Jeans Accessories: Underwear, Socks, Sunglasses, Belts, Jewelry, Hats, Cologne, Tech

Rue21 Prices

Rue21 is known as a discount fashion retailer. This can only mean that it has lived up to its promise of providing “the latest trends with an affordable price tag”.

A look at the prices of its listing is also revealing in this regard. Cute casual dresses as well as dress rompers and party dresses for formal occasions are available for $14.99 to $34.99, with a promo to get buy 1 and get 1 for just $5. You can pick up a jean for as low as $24.99. In the Shoes’ category, Sandals are available for $6 – $9, comfy Sneakers for $19.99, and Combat Boots for $34.99.  

With Rue21, you definitely can get and rock the latest casuals everywhere without bursting the bank.

Rue21 Promos

You’ll find a lot of Rue21 promos. These change from time to time, but they serve one purpose – make your favourite casuals available for even lesser.

An example is the “buy 1 get 1 for $5” promo on the dresses that is available as of writing this review. Imagine getting a lovely dress whose full price is $34.99 for just $5!

Another fine promo that was available is save $10 on $50, $25 on $100, $60 on $200, $100 on $300. Using the promo code STOCKUP, you’ll get a $10 bonus on any purchase worth, $50, and so. You’ll find different Rue 21 promos as they are updated from time to time. There is a Sales section where all discounted items are listed. Here, you’ll get wonderful deals on different products.

Ordering from Rue21 Online Store

Ordering from the online store is quick and easy. You don’t even need an account to place an order. However, having an account may be a good idea, as it allows you to check your order status, and to store your billing and shipping address to enable swift ordering in the future. Don’t fret! Registration is also easy, and free.

To place an order, simply go through the product categories to find what you want, add it to your shopping cart, and go to checkout. At checkout, select your payment method, provide your billing and shipping addresses, and click “submit” to place your order. Unfortunately, Rue21 does not allow for changing or cancelling an order after it is placed. It says that orders are filled so quickly that it cannot allow for changes. Um! That said; before finally placing an order, review it, and make necessary changes.

Rue21 supports generic payment methods, such as VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and PayPal, so you should have no problem paying for your order. You can also pay with Rue21 Gift Cards, and Rue21 rewards.

Rue21 Rewards

A new feature of Rue21 is a loyalty program called Rue Rewards. With this program, Rue21 customers are being rewarded like never before.

Simply sign up for the program (in-store or online), and anytime you shop at Rue 21 (whether in stores or online), you will earn points, which you can later use for future purchases. For every $1 you spend, you will earn 10 points. Once 750 points are earned, you will instantly earn a $5 reward. You can later use this cash reward for shopping in-store or online.


Rue21 serves only the US. So, not only are its stores located in only the US, the company also ships online orders to only US addresses (the 48 contiguous states, excluding Alaska and Hawaii). Unlike some US-serving apparel brands, it doesn’t even ship to US territories or APO/FPO.

The “Ship to store” service is offered, and even incentivized (by low rates). So, you can buy Rue21 apparel online, and have it shipped to a nearby Rue21 store for pick up. For delivery to your door, Rue21 offers standard and expedited shipping options.

The Rue21 shipping times and rates are as follows:

Shipping methodShipping costshipping time
Ship to Store$4.95 (free for orders over $35)7 – 10 days
Standard Shipping$7.95 (free for orders over $50)7 – 10 days
2-Day Shipping$17.952 days
Overnight Shipping$25.951 day

Does Rue21 offer free shipping? Yes. You’ll get free Standard shipping from Rue21 if you’ll bump up your order. However, the minimum order requirement is relatively low. With total order of $35 or more, you can have your order shipped for free to a Rue 21 store of your choosing; and with total order of $50 or more, you can have your order shipped for free to your door. While having free shipping is great, shipping charges are a bit on the high, especially the rates of the expedited shipping options.

Returns and Refunds

Should you have need to return a Rue21 merchandise, know that the brand accepts returns. In fact, its return policy is relatively friendlier. For example, Rue21 accepts returns of all merchandise (including jewelry, fragrances, accessories, and lingerie, which in most fashion stores are designated “final sale items” and made non-returnable). However, swims wears are not returnable without the hygienic liner intact.

Rue21 also allow returns of online purchases to store. This makes for easy returns, as one can walk into any of its numerous U.S. stores to return an online order. Every Return (whether to store or by mail) must include the original packing slip, and with the items in their original conditions (with tags and original packaging intact).

Can you contact Rue21?

If you have a question, comment or concern, you are free to contact the support service of Rue21. It offers telephone support and email support. For the former, call the number 866-533-4783; it is available 7 days a week from 10 am – 8 pm (EST). For the latter, fill and submit the Contact form in the “Contact Us” page of the website.

Rue21 Complaints

The rating of Rue21 in the top review platforms is less than average. For example, Rue21 is rated 1.83/ 5 in Site jabber, with just over 12% of customers giving it a 5-star rating. Rue21 fared a little better in Trustpilot where it is rated 2.6/ 5, with 42% of customers giving it an excellent (5-star) rating. These ratings show that there are customers who nurse some complaints about the brand.

However, a closer look at the customer complaints was somewhat heart-warming. This is because they are not the many complaints of poor-quality products which plague many apparel stores, neither are there numerous complaints of late delivery which plague many online stores.

The Rue21 complaints are mainly about poor customer service, especially in the brick-and-mortar stores. The complaints include that most attendants are not professionally dressed, and that most attendants are rude and unhelpful.

Our thoughts on Rue21

Rue21 is a legit fashion retailer with trendy chic styles that you can wear virtually everywhere. Its 50+ years existence can speak for it, and so does its army of over 700 brick-and-mortar stores across the US that have been meeting customers’ demand.

Despite declining mall traffic brought on by the COVID 19 pandemic, Rue21 can still be trusted for your apparel purchase. Since exiting Chapter 11 bankruptcy about 3 years ago, Rue21 has grown from strength to strength. Though the brand remains a leading mall-based apparel retailer, its online store is better positioned now than ever before to fulfill orders.

Also, before now, Rue 21 relied mainly on the “price and promotions” double edge sword. It relied on its prices (which are fair and acceptable) and its many promotions (which are enticing) to ensure business for it. But now, Rue21 can count on another weapon to ensure business for it, which is the newly launched reward program. While customers shop more because of the rewards they’ll get, business continues for Rue21.

Rue21 Pros and Cons


  • Has a huge physical presence
  • Has a fine collection of trendy casuals (great jeans, Graphics, etc)
  • Prices are relatively low and affordable
  • Offers some very enticing promotions
  • Free shipping is offered, and with relatively low minimum order requirement
  • Offers a relatively friendly return policy (it accepts returns of items that are usually categorized “final sales”)
  • Online purchases can be returned to any of its physical store
  • Offers a loyalty program that rewards shoppers for every purchase


  • Targets only the younger generation
  • Ships only to the 48 contiguous US States
  • The shipping charges are a bit on the high side
  • Does not allow making changes to an order after it is placed
  • There are too many complaints of poor support service, especially in the brick-and-mortar stores


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