jeudi 2 juin 2011

In the changing room

As my office is right next to one of the busiest and most commercial Paris area, I often pop by the high street stores spread out in the neighbourhood. My favorites are the trifecta: H&m, Zara and Gap.

The Swedish chain has been providing a lot of my closet: from lingerie to office-tailored skirt and 98% of my jeans, all have the h&m tag.

I hear a lot of the same chorus about h&m's low quality and can't relate. I actually find the quality better than Zara or some pricier brands (Maje, Sandro I'm looking at you). 
That said, it's a matter of choosing wisely, you can find decently made items at h&m and to this date I never had to complain about the brand's clothes.

Lately I've been skipping the changing room step as I hate the annoying time consuming process of the ever there standing queue and learned to know what to look for in these stores:
  • I always go to the neutral items first because they don't scream "h&m" or "Zara" as much as the obvious printed/flashy ones that are often displayed in ads and visible all over the net. 
  • The cut has to be interesting but not overly trendy so that I don't get tired of it once the fashion wave tips.
  • Then the material, I feel it and check the tag if it's synthetic and above a certain price point, I put it down. I really prefer natural materials but have a couple synthetic trousers from Zara and Gap that I wear to death so I won't swear it off entirely.

In the case of h&m, my preference goes to the Trend and Logg lines which for the first tends to deliver a "version" of designers hits with clothes that are often better cut, the second offers clothes in a preppy/boho/sporty style.

When I enter an H&M store these 2 sections are my first stops. Which is where I picked up a few items to the changing room  a few days ago.  Lucky me, barely no crowds and no queue so I decided to do this little shopping report. 

Watch out for this exclusive-almost minute by minute-post from a cabine d'essayage!

I thought this printed top (Trend) was cute. The burgundy/maroon color with white prints caught my eyes, the square cut had potential.
Not what I was looking for but gave it a try. I expected it to be longer, it's actually cropped as you can see a bit of tummy showing in the 2nd pic and the back is slit opened... It comes in a minty green/blue and white too. Cute but not for me.

Next, the pleated pink skirt (Trend), I've been eyeing it for awhile. I liked the Chloé like - ballerina vibe of it but pleated skirts do not suit me, I feel like I have huge matron hips  whenever I tried getting into this kind of skirt.

Well I liked this one, I didn't feel too matronly wearing it and found the colour very pretty. Maybe if it goes on sale will I get it.

The neutral linen trousers (Everyday):

I was looking for a Steven Alan replica. Ideal to wear at work and on days-off. I wasn't 100% sure of the cut so I left it. The legs of the trousers are not slim enough and that's one recurrent defect in my opinion in h&m trousers. Plus for the white one, the visible pockets in transparence turned me off.

The jumpsuit (Wateraid collection)

I  was inches away to get this one. It's very much to my taste, a great blue print color, a soft material, not saggy but neither clingy. A great Summer piece, the more I look at the picture, the more I want it, plus it helps charity. That's a good reason non

The blouse (Logg)

Here's the winner! I wanted to add another top that's versatile enough. Versatily is always the key word in my purchases. I want to be able to wear most of my clothes any day, any place. This light blue blouse is thinly stripped and works as a tunic, tucked in a skirt or trousers.  

Up next, my private sales/eBay booty. I know what a tease huh!

7 commentaires:

Prêt à Porter P a dit…

I like the one piece best of all, I vote YES to that one.

S a dit…

I absolutely LOVE this post! It's so true, we often look down on brands like H&M, but you show that with a good eye and careful shopping, you can really find great priced gems. And your new top? Very Marant, in the best way possible :)

If Jane a dit…

(aha! rue de rivoli!!!)
oh snap! i was looking at the chloé-like skirt as well yesetday and also rejected it because of my hips...sistah! :)
all your finds are great!!

Dahlia a dit…

Je trouve très rarement des vêtements à mon style chez H&M, mais pour des jeans pas chers, c'est un de mes endroits préférés. J'envie souvent mes amies qui réuississent sans cesse à trouver des aubaines et des vêtements à leur style!

elle s'ennuie a dit…

I agree, you can definitely find good quality clothes in the highstreet stores as well, you just have to be discerning and careful. I have a couple of jumpers (sweaters) from a very cheap store that have held up decently for several years now, and I do wear them frequently. Also, I find that Zara's 70% cotton/30% nylon cardigans work well for me (though I also prefer natural fabrics, I'm not a purist :), even though a lot of people complain how they lose their shape and pill easily (I mostly handwash my knitwear though, so this might help).

I love the Logg blouse, it's pretty much the kind I've been looking for for summer! No H&Ms here, alas. As for the jumpsuit, it looks good! If you love it and it feels good on, well... maybe you need to get it. :)

koko // res pulchrae a dit…

High street stores are great for me if I want to try out trendy things, like sheer maxi skirts or neon tank tops, stuff I want to try out but don't want to spend a lot on. I have to be careful though, because when I do a rare closet clean it seems those brands are always the first to go. I too look at fabric tags, not just high street, but everywhere - sometimes I'm surprised at how certain contemporary labels can charge such high prices for fabrics that are non-breathable and wrinkle easily, like polyester and rayon.

I like your final pick, perfect for summer!

Aïssa a dit…

Prêt, it's a jumpsuit! :))
Thanks! Your vote has been duly recorded and will be taken in account! That said I saw so many ladies wearing this kind of jumpsuit during the heat wave we had, it turned me off a bit. Plus not sure I need more fun/off days Summer clothes.

Thanks S! These big fashion chains were my first foray in fashion.
With time my apprehension of what I want from these stores evolved, I don't necessarily look for the "in" item of the moment, it's more about complementarity.
I love Marant, APC and VB but for a tee or jeans, I don't want to go into double digits tags. Says the girl who bought a few weeks ago IM jeans and a linen tee...
Yes, that's me. A living paradox. But you get what I mean. :))

You nailed it If Jane!
There are some trends that I'm irresistibly attracted to but my body says "non, ça va pas être possible!" ha! ;))

Dahlia: Je trouve de moins en moins d'articles intéressants et puis je dois me faire vieille parce que je supporte de moins en moins tout le bruit, la chaleur, le monde et le fouillis. Du coup, j'y vais en matinée ou à midi, après je trouve l'ambiance horrible. Ça me fait fuir.

Elle s'ennuie: Well, talking about quality,I also handwash my knits and anything too sacred to go in the washmachine and there's this APC sweater that I got a few weeks ago that's already pilling. So much for the brand's supposedly immaculate quality reputation...
On the other hand, my also quite new, also 100 % cotton h&m knit is still impeccable.
Thanks for the blouse, I already wore it! It's a great piece!
The jumpsuit is one of those piece I like but don't need right now. I have enough "fun" Summer clothes.

Thanks Koko! I'll complete what I was replying to Dahlia, saying that shopping in those stores is getting painful to me because of the noise, heat and mess (not mentioning the ethic issues) by adding that there's so much choice now, that when I shop there it's about finding the right item. Otherwise, I'd rather keep my money.
On the other hand as you mentioned some in-between brands like the ones I singled out are offering blatant copies of the collections of the moment, in selective locations, nice boutiques and all but in the end the quality is sometimes, not to say often, worse than supposedly cheaper stores....