Editor’s note: Normally, brand or site round-ups haven’t been covered here on the site. However, sometimes seasonally appropriate or standout items just jump off the page. These choices don’t reflect sales picks at the moment, but simply offer a snapshot of great products from a (hopefully) affordable brand.
H&M exists in kind of a funny spot as far as fashion brands go. They’re clearly part of the cycle of fast-fashion retailers who pilfer ideas from larger, more successful retailers and offer their own versions at lower prices (this means, of course, cheap labor). At least on paper, they’ve been making progress in that arena. And on the clothing end, you tend to pay for what you get — their products aren’t ridiculously well-made, but they look just as good as more expensive brands and can definitely work in a pinch. Like other fast-fashion brands (Zara comes to mind), there are misses on the shelves and online — but some gems, too. Check out key picks below.
#1. Merino Wool Sweater — $19.95 (On-sale)
Merino wool is a great in-between fabric for V-neck sweaters — it’s not as expensive as cashmere or cotton-cashmere, and it still provides more depth and heft than a lightweight cotton sweater. This H&M option is quite the steal for their site. It’s was on-sale last week but the price has jumped back up — however, there are nearly all sizes available across five different colors. The gray black or ‘khaki green’ picks would be wise choices for their versatility, while the burgundy and evergreen options offer perfect seasonal tonality.
#2. Fine-Knit Cardigan in White — $34.95
While the site is all sold out of the navy option (which wouldn’t look out of place when worn this way), the cream option provides something most sweaters don’t — a nice jolt of bright color in the winter (not that there’s anything wrong with darker colors — option #1 here, for instance). The shawl collar and texture through the body are different visual touches that call to mind an old fisherman’s sweater without the thicker cable knit pattern. This would pair well with dark denim or some burnt-orange chinos (as featured in last week’s Thanksgiving style piece) and a chambray shirt.
#3. Derby Shoes in Brown — $49.95
H&M definitely isn’t the first place you should turn for quality footwear – DSW provides many brands that are a step up in quality for just a bit more coin, for example. But if you’re on an extreme budget and need a good pair of basic, reliable derby shoes for business-casual wear (get a breakdown of shoe terminology from Dappered), it couldn’t hurt to throw these in your cart. The metal eyelets do make this shoe more casual, but they should still work with more ‘casual-dressy’ pieces like a crisp knit tie. A word of warning: The company’s site even points out the shoes are made with imitation leather, so this could lead to a rather quick weardown. However, they shouldn’t fall apart right away on you, and could work in lots of different scenarios, especially with tan chinos.
#4. Patterned Flannel Shirt — $34.95
I don’t personally have a lot of experience with H&M shirts, but the higher price point on this piece might bode well for its quality. The other thing that jumps out is the similarity (generally) to another printed flannel shirt on the market now from Frank & Oak. Prints now seem to be moving towards more and more graphic-based, busier and bolder looks, so grabbing a fall and winter-weight shirt at a lower price should definitely be appealing. This shirt, despite the busy print, could work under a tan herringbone blazer, and grey worsted wool trousers would also bring out the varying shades of blue well.
#5. Leather Chelsea Boots — $99
Much like the derby shoes above, H&M wouldn’t normally jump to mind as a place to get great footwear — however, they have received some acclaim for their Chelsea boots, which hit the sweet spot in terms of affordability and looks. This pair appears sleek and slim, the ideal silhouette for boots that should work with everything from slim trousers and a V-neck sweater to some dark denim and a chambray shirt once it gets warm. While the lighter tan version is flashier, it’s arguably less versatile – darker brown leather would probably go with more outfit combinations, including black denim (like David Beckham wears here). But on the more fashionable side, if you’re looking to diversify your boot selection, lighter tan fills in a gap that other boots might not.
What are your top picks from H&M? Any items to recommend? Leave your thoughts below, and thanks for reading!