My love for H&M has everything to do with this key combo: quality x options x price.
It can be overwhelming walking into a store with dozens of sections devoted to every possible mood. It’s like being asked to choose a personality for yourself on the spot with a debit card screaming at you from your purse — which is kind of genius on their part because my inner monologue always goes something like this: “Am I preppy/outdoorsy? Yes…but I also have yet to find the perfect LBD, which means I should go to the ‘party’ section. Vintage is always fun, buuut that classic European vibe over there is something I’ve always wanted to try out.” And after a few rounds of that, the inevitable, “WHO AM I?” and then, victoriously, “WHOEVER I WANT TO BE! PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT…SELF!” This whole thing happens while I’m still standing at the entrance, mind you. Fast forward 2 hours, and I’ve burrowed through all the sections, raided the dressing room and emerged with an armload of personalities to test drive in the real world.
Because of the awesomeness that is this style diversity, every fashionable guy or gal that comes out of H&M looks completely different. For instance, on my last shopping trip I picked up a chunky knit sweater with an adorable arrow pattern from the new arrivals section (another favorite, here), a floppy wool hat (similar here) from the impulse-buy section, and a pair of high rise skinnies from the denim wall. I took those pieces home, paired them with my old standbys, the Tamiko Oxfords by Fossil (similar here) and the Sabrina Tiered Pendant from Free People, and a gorgeous handmade leather backpack from Hiptipico. I looked like me.
On the flip side, my friend Taylor Stanley (Visual Merchandiser at H&M Cincy) came down to Lex last week so we could shoot some new gems from the Alexander Wang X H&M collection, and she arrived looking like a gorgeous Tim Burton character. From her violet/silver locks to a dark ensemble with edgy accessories and exaggerated platform boots — you never would have guessed that she and I were outfitted by the same shop.
She paired the Alexander Wang goodies (sports bra, bustier, socks) with some older H&M favorites, like the quilted leather jacket, a thin blouse and black high rise skinny jeans. Some killer boots brought the whole thing together.
When you have so many choices, it’s a challenge to conquer all the self-doubt and figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. I like that. H&M is a great place to start if you’re just beginning to curate your own unique style. I say, stand at the entrance, give yourself a minute to have the unavoidable existential crisis, then go after everything that intrigues you. No exceptions. Weed stuff out in the dressing room, make sure you’re staying within your budget and purchase only what you love.
And here’s my last tip: don’t let what you love be influenced by anyone else’s opinion. If you really love it and you can responsibly afford it, it deserves a spot in your wardrobe. When you get in the habit of being fearless when it comes to developing your own style, what you wear will become a creative tool — something you can use to express yourself every day. Not only is this a huge confidence builder, but it’s sooo fun and you’ll look more and more like the one and only YOU.
What advice would you give to someone struggling to find their style voice? Are you experiencing your own fashion conundrum? Let’s discuss!