I first encountered H&M in London when I studied abroad. Being a poor college student in the UK did not bode well with the exchange rate 8-10 years ago...I can't imagine what it must be like today. I didn't do a lot of clothes shopping (believe it or not, there was a time when I controlled myself) but before I went to visit a friend in Spain, I stopped in to pick out some appropriate going out attire. The experience was fine--decent clothes at a decent price. Fairly trendy but not a budget breaker. And I thought when I left the country, I left H&M behind.
But clearly that is not the case; H&Ms are popping up like Duane Reades around this city! After my first traumatic experience 6 or 7 years ago in a Downtown NYC H&M, I pretty much swore them off. There are three things that make for a Shoegirl Shopping Meltdown and unfortunately H&M seems to have all of them.
- For starters, I'm a fabric snob; if something is itchy or wrinkles when the wind blows, it is a no go.
- I overwhelm easily--4 floors of fashions tightly packed together is not my idea of a good time.
- People--there are just too many people. Have you seen the lines for the dressing rooms in those places?! Anyone who knows me knows that I am not the biggest fan of the general population, particularly those that are oblivious to the world around them. My affection only lessens when you put me in close proximity with a large amount of these people all looking for a bargain.
Now, all of that being said, we are in a recession and a girl still has to shop (well, that may not technically be true, but this girl still has to shop). So, I ventured back into an H&M for the first time in years last Saturday...and I survived! I even thought there might be purchase potential! It seems that now that there is an H&M on every corner, one can strategically pick a location where people are not likely to go in droves and perhaps, just perhaps, have an enjoyable shopping experience.
I have to be honest though--I spent approximately 10 minutes in the store looking around and then headed to an appointment I had, so I can't definitively say that my recent assessment is correct. I'm going to complete my mission this weekend after I've appropriately prepared both mind and body (i.e. eat a big brunch and drink lots of coffee) and report back. Stay tuned...