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Brief me on H&M and Zara!

mendel

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Sick of price/quality tradeoffs from the usual suspects here in Ottawa (BR, America, Club Monaco, Mexx, etc.), I'm going to take a day trip to Montreal this weekend to hit H&M and Zara (plus some other stores, but I know those other stores from when I lived there).

I realize this is solving the price/quality tradeoff in the wrong direction, but I'm still at the "figure out what I like" phase.

But I've never been to either, except in and out of a Zara quickly in Paris.

Can you guys give me an idea of what to look out for/what to expect at both H&M and Zara? Neither of their websites is of much use.
 

trogdor

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I MUCH prefer H&M over Zara -- the quality of their items is about the same, but H&M is about half the price! H&M shirts, I like a lot -- they're not terribly well made (you may have to sew buttones back on etc.), but they're nice and slim fitting, they come in a pretty good selection of colours and patterns, and they usually cost under $40 a pop. THe one trouble I've had is that they *sometimes* (and only sometimes) shrink a fair bit after the first wash. H&M is a godsend for basics like underwear and elaborately coloured/patterned socks. Since I moved to Ireland from Toronto, I'm really missing the H&M
 

WN2

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Is the H&M quality or selection different in the US and in Europe? They get surprisingly good reviews from our American members.
 

Aaron

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I would spend the bulk of your time at H&M and the streetwear stores of Montreal. Zara in North America is a different animal than Zara in Europe. I would also start perusing the What I'm Wearing Today threads at the top of each of the fora. It will give you some great ideas for outfits and how things should fit.

A.

edit: I haven't noticed any huge differences in terms of quality of H&M from Europe to North America. However, I've heard they do localized pieces for their bigger markets.
 

Jovan

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My friend got a decent jacket by Zara at a thrift store recently. One button, peak lapel. Really helps him since he's height challenged. I'd say it was a steal.
 

Holdfast

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Originally Posted by WN2
Is the H&M quality or selection different in the US and in Europe? They get surprisingly good reviews from our American members.


I think it must be. Over here in the UK, Zara is considerably better than H&M in my opinion. Both are in favourable positions on the cost/quality spectrum but H&M is at a more "disposable" position with Zara at a somewhat a more durable level.

YMMV, of course.
 

lakewolf

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Originally Posted by WN2
Is the H&M quality or selection different in the US and in Europe? They get surprisingly good reviews from our American members.

Originally Posted by Holdfast
I think it must be. Over here in the UK, Zara is considerably better than H&M in my opinion. Both are in favourable positions on the cost/quality spectrum but H&M is at a more "disposable" position with Zara at a somewhat a more durable level.

YMMV, of course.


I have been at H&M New York and I can confirm that the quality and items sold are the same...

It is a little more expensive there.. as for example a suit costs here 250 CHF equivalent to $200 and in NY they cost $250... could be transportation costs as the items are made in eastern Europe....

what I do think is that in America they get better reviews than in Europe because in Europe there is an overall better quality than in the US...

I have been to JC Penney and Sears in the US for example and the quality of the items there is much lower than what you would find on an equivalent department store in Switzerland...

However there is also good quality on places like Macy's...

As about H&M the quality is not great... but they have nice items at low price... maybe we could call them disposable as somebody said here...

Myself I have 2 H&M suits I use when I don't want to expose a more expensive suit to a risk of being dammaged... I got them at half price so around $100... have one black in wool and one white in linen.

Anyway here you can find much better quality than H&M in Italian outlets during the sales period.... So I do my shopping then... no more H&M for me...
 

drizzt3117

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In my experience Zara is a bit better quality than H&M both in the US and in Europe. I would agree with the comment that H&M products are of similar quality both in the US and in Europe, though.
 

Toiletduck

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IMO, In HK, and London, Zara quality seems to be much better compared to H&M.

For best example, take a look at their dress shirts.
 

babygreenspots

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Originally Posted by drizzt3117
In my experience Zara is a bit better quality than H&M both in the US and in Europe. I would agree with the comment that H&M products are of similar quality both in the US and in Europe, though.

I would have to agree with this, having been to both stores on both continents. I would say that overall Zara is a good deal better in quality than H&M. However, you can occasionally find some pieces at H&M that are just as good as the best at Zara. You just have to sort through a fair amount of garbage to find the good stuff at H&M. I feel that most items at Zara are of a decent quality – slightly below that of Banana Republic but offering far slimmer fit and better styling.

Zara has a very interesting business model. They have the lowest design to shelf time in the industry due to a highly vertical organization. Its items are limited run and attempting to be designer-type pieces. They often do not restock when pieces are sold out. It is true that when you buy something from Zara, you will not see too many others wearing it, as you would with H&M, Gap, Banana Republic.

That is not to say that quality of fabrics and construction are top-notch. They aren’t, but you do get the slimmest fit of any major chain.

Both H&M and Zara offer very low prices, with Zara being, justifiably, more expensive. Generally the higher priced, more stylish items (coats, suits, fitted wool trousers) are sourced in Eastern Europe, while they tee-shirts and other more casual items come from Asia. I wonder how long this model of low-priced items being sourced in Eastern Europe can last. Wages are climbing fast in countries like Romania and Lithuania, so they might not be able to keep their production there for long.

By the way, if you are coming through Beijing, and want this same slim fit and modern style in a suit, blazer, cashmere overcoat, etc., but with far superior workmanship, materials (thread, buttons, interfacing), tailored to your body with multiple fittings and bespoke service, and at a somewhat lower total price than H&M and Zara, please send me a message and I can introduce you to an excellent tailor. It will be a much better result and you ought to visit Beijing anyway.
 

acidboy

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Originally Posted by Toiletduck
IMO, In HK, and London, Zara quality seems to be much better compared to H&M.

For best example, take a look at their dress shirts.


i don't get it. is there an h&m in hongkong?
 

mendel

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Figured I might as well follow up here.

Zara started out promising but I found it really hard to find anything that fit me great and that I was excited about, and since I'm just assembling basics to move from jeans-and-hoodie to business casual at work I need to find stuff I look forward to wearing. So no luck for me there. I think I need a bit higher-quality stuff than Zara even if it's going to cost me a bit more.

The H&M in Rockland Centre in Montreal had a very small men's section that was pretty much all young trendy stuff, so I didn't get anywhere there either. All in all it wasn't much of a clothes shopping trip for me.

It's only a two-hour drive, though, and my wife managed to find a handbag she'd been trying to find for ages, and H&M was more useful there for her too, so all was not lost. (There's a separate H&M store for less of-the-moment women's wear! So unfair.)

At least now I know that there's no tremendous advantage in heading to Montreal for mall shopping, at least. It's easy to convince myself that Ottawa is completely hopeless and that if only I were in Montreal I'd have no problem finding what I want, but really I just need to try harder here. (Downtown's another story, but if I'm going to spend time in downtown Montreal I want a hotel room and dinner reservations too!)
 

JR88

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I bought a black courderoy sportcoat at Zara in HK last winter and after many wearings, it's still in terrific shape. Easily one of the best recent additions to my wardrobe and a stellar performer at the office. The fit is a bit different from the usual suspects -- it's a "40 US" but I'm a 38. Don't know if that's because I bought it in Asia or if that's how Zara fits everywhere.
 

lsquare

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I couldn't find any size 36 coats at Zara. Do they sell 36 coats? It's too bad there isn't a H&M in Vancouver.
 

Jared

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