However, it is SO very affordable and, at the end of the day, the difference in quality not that big with the other brands I could afford, I decided to go back to them when I moved to Denmark. Also, in the case of H&M, I need to add as a reason to shop again their campaigns around more sustainable fashion.
Fast fashion or the same for less: H&M and ZaraSome high street chains are specialists in quickly translating runway fashion into affordable fashion. H&M is one of those brands, together with Zara. These capability is probably the main reason for their success. Also, their ability to constantly bring new stuff to the shops gives them an "entertainment value" for those of us with the time to browse. Moreover, their translation of high fashion looks is often uncanny, and only a few discerning ones can tell the difference.
The truth is that, nowadays, only the greats continue to offer amazing quality and craftsmanship (say Valentino or Chanel) that make every piece a work of art. Everybody else, and that especially goes for bridge collections - those between high fashion and high street fashion -, often offer very little that sets them apart from big retailers like H&M and Zara: synthetic materials in unexpected places - a shoe lining that will make your feet sweat and blister, or a polyester lining in a silk dress that will stick to your legs when you move - uneven hems, glued-to instead of sewn hems, jerseys that get holes the third time you put the garment on... You know what I'm taking about, right?
Insider secret: mixing high and lowFashion insiders actually pride themselves of their finds in high fashion retail and mix it. Examples this "high and low" mixing, i.e. wearing an H&M dress with a pair of Valentino shoes bought on sale (or not) and a Radley handbag with Étoile by Isabel Marant coat.
It is what I do, minus the Valentino anything. What about doing it yourself?
Let's see some examples of the same look for less.
Practically payless 1 by C. Grant . Two very similar chiffon skirts in in-and-out black polyester: Both obtain volume from appliqués, although H&M lacks the crystals Alice + Olivia provides. If the embroidered crystals make a difference for you, consider sewing some yourself into your H&M skirt. [H&M £40, Alice + Olivia £232,50].
Practically payless 2 by C. Grant The beauty of these sweaters cannot be denied, I can assure you. H&M's is 64% viscose 36% polyamide, Beckham's is 100% nylon. Both are slip on, although the sleeve length is different. I loved them at first sight, but could not reconcile cycling with the thick materials and a potentially exposed midriff... [H&M jacquard sweater £20, Victoria by Victoria Beckham, £325].
Practically payless 3 by C. Grant. These two are right on the boho trend, but have different composition: Temperley's is 100% polyester; lining: 55% polyester, 45% viscose; H&M's is 67% cotton, 33% linen. I have only seem the H&M one in person and it is splendid, very well finished, a beauty. [Temperley Lettie embroidered crepe jacket
€1,195; H&M embroidered jacket €69,99].
€1,195; H&M embroidered jacket €69,99].
Practically payless 4 by C. Grant. These two are practically the same cut . Granted, the lining of the first is cupro and cotton, while the second is polyester, but you could always ask a tailor to change it for something more luxurious, even patterned (think silk satin, brocade...). Both are lambskin. [YSL €3540, Zara €100].
Practically payless 5 by C. Grant. Denim is probably the very best example of the unreasonableness of high prices. To begin with, denim is a cotton fabric, usually complemented with lycra or similar elastic components in trousers, but not in dresses. In this case, MK's dress contains ramie, which gives the fabric a certain sheen. However, ramie does not tolerate washing very well and loses body and shine very fast. Accordingly, they recommend dry cleaning but, frankly, that is bonkers for denim. Cut and finishings (buttons, seams, etc.) can be the reason for an elevation in price, of course. [Zara denim dress €39.95, Michael Kors Collection denim dress €950].