Thursday, March 18

In praise of H&M: Cheap yet chic

Have you ever ducked into an al cheapo clothing store and hoped that no one saw you? Ever shoved your purchase into another store’s bag? How about telling a teensy lie about where you bought something? Yes? Nope? Maybe, just that one time? I call it the ‘shopper shame.’ Who needs it, right!?

Sometimes, we have no choice but to shop on the cheap and our in-store experience shouldn’t have to feel cheap and cheesy, should it? I’m not saying that value stores should pretend to be sophisticated. Rather, they should treat their customers like the cool but thrifty people they are. Case in point - H&M. This is a chain that knows how to sell cool with an affordable price tag.

If you live in a first world city, chances are H&M forms part of your everyday landscape along with Starbucks and Burger King. The mega clothing chain has yet to come to our sunny shores and I wish it would, gosh, darn it.

I remember the first time I stepped into an H&M in London. If you’ve never been in one, picture clean glass windows, neat neutral partitions and Lilly Allen on the stereo. The store is simple but slick and the clothes are affordable but cool. In-store posters are understated but stylish and the mannequins are dressed in wearable, interesting outfits. Clothes are divided into sections like everyday basics, work wear and party etc. They’re then further categorized by colour which makes for a super-stress free shop. You are just about guaranteed to find a last-minute Friday night outfit or a new boyfriend blazer for work.

They’ve also got mass appeal. I remember shopping among tweens, hipsters, corporates, mums, goths - you name it. H&M have nailed neutral without being boring. Let’s take a look at how they’ve got it right…

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Ok, digging for vintage is wonderful but some days you just need a hit of fast fashion! This is just my humble two cents of course. H&M was a lovely, affordable novelty to me while I spent a year in the UK. I’d love to hear your thoughts on our local clothing stores as well as the British High Street. Have your say in a comment below!

18 comments:

Lady Times said...

wish wish wish. maybe we should all club together and open our own franchise?

Lauren said...

Good idea!

Dee said...

H&M was definitely my favourite, for SURE. Almost 3 years on and I still think about it whenever I'm out looking for something to wear.

"If we had H&M here i wouldn't have to spend hours in shitty shops that are either too expensive or full of crap." That's usually how it goes...

I still have a favourite pair of jeans that I bought in an H&M Paris (the branch next to Galleries Lafayette, which obviously had clothes i could actually afford as opposed to the designer floors in the galleries themselves...)

The stuff I bought in London still makes up a bulk of my winter wardrobe (especially nice jackets which you can't really find here)

I'm also slightly ashamed to admit that i frequented Primark quite often...

Besides H&M, my favourite shops in the UK & Europe would have to be Zara (best for quality stuff that's still not too pricey) and Uniqlo - best for basics like jeans, tops, cardigans.... ugh. LOVE Uniqlo. love love love.

I didn't really buy clothes from any other shops... many were beautiful and filled with stuff I would have wanted to buy, but my purse would not have allowed.

lavelle said...

I got a really cute denim jacket in there for £5 yesterday! There's some lovely stuff and so,so cheap! xx

Anthea said...

Ok Lauren, you really make me want to travel. I swear I could lift off and out of my chair right now and fly off to another land....but anyway, H&M sounds awesome. I hope I get a chance to shop there one day.

As for local shops, I must say I am a big Mr Price fan. Not just because they are cheap but because they get in new stock regularly and they are very trendy. I try and check in at a Mr Price weekly.

Otherwise, my shopping philosophy is to leave no stone unturned. I wil give every shop a chance. Just like you bought those cute shoes at Exact which would be one of the last places you'd expect to find something you love.

The Eater of Popcorn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lauren said...

Ah, thanks for your wonderful feedback girls! I'm going to reply to you properly tonight. x

Freshly Found said...

Yes I have enjoyed H&M on my few trips to London!

Lauren said...

Hi Dee! I know what you mean, it feels like there's such a gap in our market for something cool and affordable between the 'crap' and the pricey stuff, haha. I shopped at Primark too. 1 pound sunnies, awesome! Agreed with Zara too - excellent quality. Thanks so much for your comment, sweet.

Well done Lavelle, that's super cheap!

Hi Anthea, ah I'm sure you will one day. You sound like the type of gal who will appreciate the many floors of Topshop! It seems the 'shop everywhere' is a good philosophy for SA x

Dee said...

oh i forgot to say, i also love love LOVED the uk & european GAP stores.

x

Cupcake Couture said...

I agree with Lady Times...let's bring it here. 1 mega H&M + Topshop emporium of shopping joy. Dreaming. x

Lauren said...

Hi Dee! Yeah, GAP indeed! There are some gorgeous marroon shoe boots by Gap in Stuttafords at the mo:)

Ah, Nads, can you imagine that. If Topshop came to SA, I would DIE! Which wouldn't be much use, would it,hehe. I just checked to see if they ship to SA and they don't, sniff.

Infamous said...

H&M is overrated and has become to mainstream. I bought a coat from there one day and I swear walking in the streets of NYC I saw like 5 other girls with my same coat lol I like peices that are rare and no one else has

Lauren said...

Hee, us South Africans have the same issue with one of our big chains. We want some of your first world mainstream! x

Renee said...

I wish we had an H&M in my town! I shopped there all the time when I lived in Boston, but now I live in the rural south and there just aren't a lot of big cities nearby (no Anthropologie, no Urban Outfitters, no Ikea)

Lauren said...

I have ALWAYS wanted to visit Boston. Home of the Pixies! We don't have any of those in SA either, I would do cartwheels if Anthropolgie came here! x

Wendy said...

Lived in Germany and H&M was one of my faves as well.

Chantel said...

Oh you're so right! You can basically find anything at H&M and its super affordable! They're all over Europe, i mean everywhere! I dont think i came across a street where i didnt see an H&M, some streets have a few on one street, Crazy! I also loved Zara while i was in Europe, a tad more pricy though, but so chic! We need to bring an H&M to SA! Starbucks is here, why not H&M?