Saturday, September 25, 2010


I used to work retail for H&M and although it was great coming right out of college, I'll admit that I was surprised by the quality of their clothes even when I was getting them practically for free. Since moving to the Bay Area, I've mostly shopped at thrift stores, online or occasionally at J.Crew. So imagine my surprise when I went into H&M for the first time in almost a year and found out that not only had the quality gone up but the new fall collection was packed with pieces that are wearable with interesting design details.

My personal style varies. I try to mix it up because I'm still finding what works for me and I'm always intrigued by innovation. But at the end of the day, I love a good basic (the perfect slouchy white t-shirt, a crisp button-down-shirt, simple bootcut jeans). This fall H&M has it covered with simple cotton henleys ($12.95) and tanks. They are very soft and have superfluous buttons but it's a design detail I enjoy.

Coming from the East Coast, I have a bit of a fetish for fall and the most important thing it comes with: outerwear. I have a peacoat that I purchased from H&M when I was in college that I pop-out the minute I touch down at JFK but it might get replaced by one of the new fall jackets that H&M has on sale and none of them costs more than $49.95. All of the pieces that I saw in store were fitted and about three-quarter length unless they were peacoats. Some had cowl collars while others were fitted. Essentially, there's something for everyone.

And then there are the dresses. I don't often wear dresses but that doesn't mean I don't buy them. All the dresses in this fall's collection are muted, sugary confections with ruffles details. Of these three dresses, the first is probably my favorite (though they didn't have it in store when I was there last Friday). Obviously, the third is most affordable, but the second is displayed in one of my favorite colors and it's restraint leads to a gorgeous silhouette that I think would be flattering on a variety of shapes.

Usually, these are designs that would usually have me gagging, but the muted tones, choice of fabrics and the careful styling takes away the frills and creates a hard/soft mix that's just right for the Bay Area's layer-necessary weather. These ethereal pieces are tempered by things like rugged boots, fitted cargo pants and army-green parkas. All when combined, reference the resurgence of early-90's style. Kind of a Winona Ryder Reality Bites moment for 2010.

On November 20th, H&M will be releasing it's latest designer collaboration Lanvin for H&M which is sure to be in keeping with their current hard/soft, masculine/feminine vibe, that Lanvin already plays with.

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