H&M: Hyped & Mediocre.

We were so excited! The mecca of cheap and cheerful clothing had finally come to a Mall Near Us! Women who had lived in other cities told tales of six-dollar shirts and ten-dollar handbags scored at H&M. Someone pointed to her cute pants, remarking that they had been a bargainous fifteen dollars. Reflecting that I might finally get away from my usual thrift-shop sensibilities, I made the plan, a month ago, to trek out to the H&M in Coquitlam with a carload of women.

What a disappointment! First, the fashion looked like it was designed by people from Iowa who had read about Goth culture, but never witnessed it firsthand. You know, they get the general idea, but don’t have the specifics dialed: Racks and racks of black smock-front shirts were crammed together with hot-pink and mustard-striped sweaters. Bins of vinyl wristlets vied for space against racks of gold-plate hoop earrings. Boring black blazers abounded.

Second, nothing was on sale. Prices kind of hovered between Gap and Old Navy: Twenty dollars for a William Morris smock top, thirty dollars for a sweater. Twenty four for polyester pants. No bargains there. So much for the miracle of H&M.

We trooped back into the city disappointed, but a little wiser: If a store seems too good to be true, it probably is.

12 Comments to “H&M: Hyped & Mediocre.”

  1. By gen, October 22, 2007 @ 2:18 pm

    Hmm, I just finished going last week. I did actually find clothes, including a shirt for $12, a pair of pants and a jacket. I fondly remembered H&M from Europe but I also remembered that it requires a lot of picking through to find stuff. Sorry that it didn’t work out for you, especially since you were also given a bout of food poisoning to go along with the experience.

  2. By Liz, October 22, 2007 @ 2:19 pm

    Serves me right. I should have been packing at Arwen’s.

  3. By rachel, October 22, 2007 @ 3:56 pm

    I’ve never even heard of this place before!

    What IS a good place to get clothes? Because I need clothes, but I hate clothes and I hate shopping and if I thought I could just wear my bathrobe everywhere I would.

  4. By cheesefairy, October 22, 2007 @ 7:01 pm

    I was struck, on my only visit, by how much I felt like I was in a John Hughes movie. I think it was all the purple and black striped fingerless gloves.

    However, I did purchase a shoulder-covering pashmina type thing which has eleganted up my work wardrobe considerably. And I keep meaning to go back & check the maternity whatnot.

  5. By Liz, October 22, 2007 @ 9:43 pm

    Update: As I plucked my winter coat from the closet, I noticed that it was originally from H&M. I got it secondhand. So I guess I like some of their clothes, just not what’s there right now.

    Rachel, I thrift shop for most of my clothes. Sometimes I go to Old Navy or some place like that. Metrotown has a lot of stores, but is overwhelming. Pacific Centre isn’t very good right now. Ditto Oakridge.

    Cheesefairy, I think I can predict that their maternity whatnot largely features black smock tops.

  6. By sarah, October 23, 2007 @ 6:01 am

    Every time I go try to find something at a new store or an old store or a store that happens to be handy, I am reminded to just go back to Old Navy. If they don’t have what I’m looking for, I probably don’t need it right now.

  7. By gen, October 23, 2007 @ 10:34 am

    Yes, but black smocky things are ok when you’re pregnant (at least I would have been ok with them). The problem with the black smocky things now is that when I put them on I still look pregnant. I am the worst for finding clothes that I like. It depends on the type of clothes that I am looking for. Do I want dress up go to the office work type of clothes or relaxing and running around in clothes? Jacob can actually be quite good for pants and blazers but when it comes to their tops you can’t be chesty. I also often find clothes at Banana Republic and Club Monaco. Usually I buy on sale.

  8. By rachel, October 23, 2007 @ 11:57 am

    I am the anti-chesty. People are always trying to cross me in Conestoga wagons.

  9. By cheesefairy, October 23, 2007 @ 2:58 pm

    Rachel, I like Jacob’s less expensive younger sister, Jacob Connexion. I have many pants from there and they were all $20 – 30. Casual pants. Lots of nice t-shirts (plain colours, v-necks) Also they have good socks – if you like socks.

    But currently I rock the smock.

  10. By stephanie, October 23, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

    There is an H&M on its way here. People around my office are freaking out about it.

  11. By Beth, October 23, 2007 @ 10:12 pm

    “People are always trying to cross me in Conestoga wagons.” Now, THAT is funny.

  12. By Liz, October 23, 2007 @ 10:41 pm

    Waaaah, Rachel, you’re hilarious! So maybe try Jacob or Jacob Connexion. JC’s stuff doesn’t fit over my Cascade Range so well.

    Cheesefairy, are you channeling Dr. Seuss?

    “Currently, I rock the smock.
    There’s nothing else for me,
    We don’t need to talk
    Of maillots and henleys and all other styles.
    I’m gestating here, and I’ll be a while.”

    Stephanie, as you can see, there are mixed opinions about the place. However, by the time it comes to you, styles may have become less smocky.

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