|No, these aren't from a consignment shop in an elderly community. This is H&M+|
Admittedly, I have previously not paid much attention to their plus size line because it has not been available in stores. When it came out in the springtime, I was unaware that it was even in stores until I read about it on The Curvy Fashionista. By that time, I couldn’t find any items in the stores by me, so I patiently waited for fall.
When the ads came out, they looked nice and then a few days ago, one of my fave bloggers Alyssa from Stylish Curves, shared her experience with shopping the plus dept at our local H&M on 34th St and 7th Avenue. She mentioned that she was pleased with the items, so I was SO excited last night after work to swing by and pick up some goodies.
When I got to the store, I asked the saleswoman to please direct me to where it was located. She mentioned it was on the second floor.
Anyone who shops at H&M knows that the mannequins are always dressed in the best clothes they are selling at the moment. There are section managers that are in charge of keeping each section coordinated with color and trend stories. I was hoping it would be the same for plus, as I have seen Forever 21 do this, as well as several other major dept stores.
What I saw was shocking. I quickly learned that the amazing bloggers I follow are true masters of fashion to make these items look cute, because the clothes were a downright HOT MESS.
Now, I understand that NY is a busy place and 34th St in Manhattan is one of the busiest retail spots in the entire world. I saw many employees however, hanging out and talking, or attending to other sections, while the plus size section sat looking sad, messy and unappealing. Like the secret, ugly cousin they’re ashamed of and didn’t want anyone to see.
The clothes were wrinkly, dusty and dirty. Worse, they were mixed up, hanging off the hangers and in a heap in many sections.
So I started to look for things to try on. And I was let down so horribly.
H&M standard clothes are honestly some of the trendiest, sexiest, most fun pieces in my wardrobe and the plus size section was the exact OPPOSITE. It was shapeless and school-marm-looking and dominated by cliché prints (more florals than anyone should ever have to see).
I like to consider myself someone who can make the BEST out of less than favorable items. I tried on at least 20 items, no lie. But I found almost nothing I liked. There was a peplum top that was cute and the widely-circulated sheer polka dot sleeve top a la Stella McCartney, but honestly, I didn’t even like that when I put it on. There was another cute, black and white polka dot blouse, but guess what? Simply Be designed that last spring.
She was very sweet and super candid. To put it simply, she said it wasn’t selling and that people didn’t even know about it really. She agreed that the clothes were not trendy and then told me that she did not think that the higher ups really cared about the content. This is an EMPLOYEE of H&M at 34th street in NEW YORK CITY, admitting this to me.
Then she added, “I don’t think plus size women are our customer or that they shop here.”
Yes, she said that, to me, at a size 16, standing in front of her (in leggings that did nothing to conceal my shape), buying plus size shorts from her store. And there were at least 4-5 other women who could wear plus in my eyesight. So either we were invisible or she did not understand what plus size looks like.
Overall, there is simply no excuse for this. How can small designers with not even a toenail’s budget in comparison to H&M, produce beautiful, amazing, fashion-forward clothes?
I’ll tell you how, BECAUSE THEY CARE.
I love H&M and I love their clothes. But it’s clear that whoever is in charge of their plus size department does not really care. They look like they are phoning it in and not looking to magazines or bloggers to see what is on trend and what is being worn.
And the saddest part of all is that I know, like so many other retailers have done, that they will tell people how “they tried” and “plus size clothes just don’t sell.”
No, when they are low-quality, cliché, messy and, in some cases, downright ugly, you’re right, they don’t.
H&M, please do better.
I believe in you. Now it’s time you believed in us.