I recently discovered H&M… sort of the same way Christopher Columbus discovered America… other people were already there – and they had been for some time – but, I came in one day and decided to lay claim. H&M is now mine. I freakin’ own it… in the I-have-no-actual-right-to-it kind of way (not to mention, the no-one-recognizes-my-authority way).
There’s a reason I stayed away from H&M for so long, despite its reputation for being the Ikea of clothing, a virtual Mecca for budget/fashion conscious women everywhere. But the store’s original inhabitants – hordes of shrieking teenage girls hell-bent on buying halter-tops and mini skirts approximately four sizes too small – forced me to choose my sanity over affordable style.
Besides, I figured it simply had to be an illusion. Cheap and chic does not come without a price… even if it’s not on the tag. Instead, one usually finds that she pays dearly with what little self-esteem she carried with her into dressing room. The clothing designers for these stores generally don’t account for people whose body types fail to fall under the category of “supermodel” or “12-year-old.”
Who needs H&M! Just watch me spend seven times as much on a comparable item at Anthropologie.
Two weeks ago I gave in when realized:
1) The temperature would continue to climb for the next three months.
2) I was lacking any decent summer clothes.
3) I was unwilling/unable to drop the kind of cash it would take to buy an entire summer wardrobe at my beloved Anthropologie.
Fate decided for me. I would make my pilgrimage to H&M.
I prepared myself for the crowds, for the screaming, the obnoxious tourists, and Britney look-a-likes, and I reminded myself that slapping a child, even if it is for the greater good, would likely result in my arrest.
And I braced myself for the possibility that nothing would fit; that with each article I would be reminded of every single flaw (maybe find a few new ones)… that my legs are too short or my boobs are too big or my waist isn't small enough... and everything would look TERRIBLE HORRIBLE NO GOOD VERY BAD… shopping excursion. And that would be it… tears... just a few, defeated and in the dressing room alone.
But, I was on a mission. Turning back was no longer an option.
I was half right.
To actually find the racks of clothing, I had to navigate through inappropriately dressed teenage girls, excessively peppering their conversations with the word “like,” and yelling acronyms into their cell phones.
But it was worth it... H&M made good on its promise… and the clothes actually fit. I went back to the dressing room three times with items overflowing in my arms. For the price of two-thirds of a dress at Anthropologie, I walked out of H&M with six shirts, a dress, a pair of city shorts, and a skirt.
And I learned something. We must make sacrifices for what we believe in. Something, something. Whatever. Mixed metaphors. Stop expecting so much from me.