Hennes & Mauritz AB, better known as H&M, is one of the world’s largest and most recognizable clothing retailers. Headquartered in Sweden, H&M has over 5,000 stores worldwide and brings fast fashion to the masses with its affordable and on-trend styles.
In this comprehensive H&M clothing review, we’ll cover everything you need to know about this popular brand – from its origins and business model to its product range, quality, sizing, and more. Read on for the full lowdown on H&M’s accessible fashions and decide if its mix of fashion and value is right for you.
A Quick History of H&M
H&M was founded in 1947 by Erling Persson in Sweden. The company’s name is derived from the founder’s initials and the first store that opened in the city of Västerås.
In the 1960s and 70s, H&M expanded throughout Europe and Scandinavia. The 1980s saw the retailer enter the American market by opening a store on Fifth Avenue in New York.
H&M differentiated itself from competitors by offering inexpensive, on-trend, fast fashion for the whole family. Unlike other budget retailers, H&M clothing was designed to help shoppers recreate celebrity and runway looks at wallet-friendly prices.
Today, H&M remains focused on bringing customers affordable, fashion-forward clothing for women, men, teenagers, children and babies. It releases new collections daily to stay on top of trends. The company also owns brands like COS, Monki, Weekday, and ARKET.
H&M’s Business Model and Supply Chain
H&M keeps prices low by relying on high volumes and fast inventory turnover. It can get the latest styles in stores just two to three weeks after initial design. This is significantly faster than traditional apparel companies that work on seasonal collections.
To achieve quick turnarounds, H&M works with a network of approximately 800 independent suppliers, primarily in Asia and Europe. The company does not own or operate its own factories. This allows for flexibility in capacity and cost management.
H&M’s supply chain and distribution network are also optimized for speed. Its global logistic centers use automated systems to sort and allocate products. From factory to store, it takes just 24 to 48 hours for inventory to be distributed.
H&M’s Product Range
H&M offers clothing, accessories and footwear for the whole family:
- Women’s: Contemporary styles ranging from workwear and basics to dresses, denim, swimwear and accessories. Sizes run 0-20.
- Divided: Fast fashion targeting young women in their teens and 20s. Styles tend to be more daring and trend-driven.
- Maternity: Affordable maternity clothes in casual, business and formal styles.
- Men: Updated basics, athleisure, blazers, coats and other contemporary men’s clothing. Sizes run XS-XXL.
- Kids: Clothing essentials for babies, boys, girls and tweens. Styles are cute yet practical for play.
- Home: Bedding, bath accessories, lighting, decor and more – all showcasing H&M’s modern sensibility.
H&M also regularly collaborates with celebrities, designers and brands to create limited edition collections. Past partners have included Versace, Lanvin, Alexander Wang, The Weeknd and more.
H&M Clothing Review: Quality and Fit
H&M’s product quality and fit tends to align with its accessible price points. Here’s an overview of what to expect:
- Fabrics: Apparel mainly uses synthetic fibers and blends like polyester, nylon and rayon. Natural fibers like cotton and linen can be found in basics. Quality is decent but fabrics won’t have the same luxurious drape or feel as higher end brands.
- Construction: Pieces are generally machine-stitched. While details and embellishments may be trendy, garment construction is basic without much structure. Pieces tend to have a shorter lifespan.
- Fit: Sizing runs true to size but leans towards slim and tailored cuts. Stretchy fabrics accommodate different body types. Athleisure and outerwear have more generous/relaxed fits. Short and petite lengths are limited.
- Quality Control: Some variation can be expected even within the same garment. Inconsistencies in things like fabric quality, dyeing and stitching may occur.
- Value: Quality aligns with accessible price points. At regular prices, most shoppers won’t get years of use from H&M clothing. But the low investment makes it relatively disposable, fast fashion.
While not heirloom quality, H&M clothes are wearable and enable shoppers to buy into trends inexpensively. Focus on current season merchandise for the best selection and quality.
Comparing H&M Prices to Average Fashion Retail
H&M positioned itself as an affordable fast fashion retailer right from the start. Here’s a pricing comparison across key categories versus traditional apparel brands and stores:
| Category | H&M Range | Traditional Retailer Range* | |-|-|-| | T-Shirts | $7-$35 | $15-$60 | | Dresses | $15-$70 | $50-$200 | | Jeans | $20-$60 | $50-$150 | | Blazers | $30-$100 | $80-$400 | | Outerwear | $40-$200 | $100-$1,000 |
*Traditional retailer pricing based on mall brands like J.Crew, Gap, Banana Republic
H&M’s everyday prices are 20-60% less than typical retail pricing. While quality is not comparable to leading apparel brands, the low prices let shoppers affordably buy into runway and celebrity looks.
Where H&M Wins: Trend-Driven Styles and Collabs
H&M built its identity around quickly translating catwalk and celebrity styles into affordable fast fashions. Here are some of its key strengths:
- On-Trend: H&M stays on top of trends with daily new arrivals. Styles capture the most recent looks in colors, prints, silhouettes and details. Great for trendy shoppers.
- Celeb Style for Less: Pieces are inspired by celebrity looks and runway trends rather than original designs. Let’s shoppers affordably sport the latest fashion.
- Collabs: Limited edition designer collaborations generate buzz and sell out quickly. Partners have included Versace, Lanvin, Balmain, and Alexander Wang.
- Accessories: Fashion jewelry, handbags, sunglasses, hats, belts and other accessories to complete the look for less.
- Business and Evening Wear: Affordable options for work and dressy occasions like job interviews, dates, parties and events.
For shoppers who care about wearing the latest trends, H&M makes runway and celebrity-inspired fashion affordable and accessible. The retailer drops new collections daily to stay ahead.
Where H&M Falls Short: Sustainability and Quality
While on-trend and affordable, H&M does have some drawbacks regarding sustainability and long-lasting quality:
- Unsustainable: Fast production and low prices have social and environmental costs. H&M has initiatives to improve but still lags sustainable brands.
- Quality Issues: Clothes tend to pill, shrink, stain, rip or lose shape relatively quickly due to low-cost fabrics and construction.
- Lack of Investment Pieces: Quality won’t compare to brands focused on heritage, craftsmanship and creating investment pieces.
- Limited Plus Size Options: Plus size clothing selection is lacking compared to the main line. Usually, a limited color/style selection.
- Synthetic Fabrics: Reliance on polyester and nylon vs natural fibers. Can look cheap, wear quicker, or irritate sensitive skin.
- Ethical Sourcing: Supply chain practices have been questioned despite supplier codes of conduct and monitoring efforts.
For long-lasting, high-quality basics and investment pieces, other retailers are a better choice. H&M fills the niche of accessible fast fashion.
H&M Sizing and Fit Notes
H&M offers an extensive size range but some tips on getting the right fit:
- Standard sizing: Runs true to size but skews towards slimmer, tailored fits. Stretch fabrics accommodate various body types.
- Juniors sizing: Divided and teen sections use standard junior sizes that run smaller. Size up for the perfect fit.
- Short and petite: Limited short and petite sizes available. Settle for ankle length pants and crops.
- Babies and kids: Baby, boys and girls clothing runs true to size with lots of stretch. Plenty of numeric sizing options.
- Men’s big and tall: Big sizes marked 46-54 but limited selection beyond XL. Tall sizes harder to find.
- Lingerie: Wide range of sizes including 30A-44G bras and XS-XXL underwear. Stick to basics as some prints and lace are lower quality.
- Swimwear: Mix of numeric, junior and bra sizes available. Fits are made for slimmer figures. Order a size up for the best coverage.
- Maternity: Standard maternity sizing from XS-XL. Leggings, nursing bras and underwear are stretchy and accommodating.
The best tip: Treat sizing charts as guidelines. Try items on in store since stretchy fabrics can vary. Size up if between sizes or looking for a looser fit.
H&M Return Policy and Warranty
H&M aims to make returns hassle-free with a customer-friendly policy:
- Returns accepted: Unworn items may be returned with tags attached for a full refund. No time limit. Original receipt needed.
- Worn items: Refund depends on condition. Typically can exchange for a gift card. No cash or credit back.
- Online returns: Free return shipping. Print prepaid return label and drop off at UPS. Refund within 2-3 business days.
- Damaged items: Items deemed faulty by H&M can be exchanged for new merchandise.
- No official warranty: Beyond returns and exchanges, there are no warranties on H&M merchandise.
- Final sale items: Swimwear, lingerie, makeup and select items marked final sale cannot be returned.
H&M will work with customers if there are damages or quality issues with items. But there’s no warranty beyond the standard return policy. Treat fast fashion pieces as disposable purchases.
H&M Membership: Is It Worth It?
H&M’s free Member loyalty program provides a few perks and exclusives:
- Points earning: Earn 1 point for every $1 spent. At 500 points, get a $5 reward voucher. Limited to 4 vouchers per year.
- Exclusive access: First access to select new arrivals and designer collaborations before the general public.
- Special offers: Member-only promotions, discounts and events throughout the year.
- Free delivery: Get free standard shipping on online orders with no minimum spend required.
- Birthday surprise: $20 reward voucher during your birthday month.
The free membership is worthwhile for frequent H&M shoppers. You can rack up points toward reward vouchers and take advantage of special deals and perks. Signing up also gives email access to promotions.
Casual shoppers may not find enough value from the basic point system. But there’s no harm in joining for the occasional extra discount.
How to Get the Best Deals at H&M
Here are tips to save money and find hidden gems at H&M:
- Shop end-of-season sales first for the deepest discounts up to 70% off. Selection will be more limited though.
- Check sale sections in-store frequently. Updated items get marked down weekly.
- Be on the lookout for yellow tag or red tag clearance items. These are final markdowns before removal.
- Sign up for emails and texts to get notified about flash sales and special promos.
- Take advantage of member rewards, birthday coupons and discount codes which often stack with existing sales.
- Shop budget-friendly Divided for of-the-moment teen trends at lower price points.
- Look for designer brand collaborations which offer high-end looks for a steal.
- Accessorize outfits affordably with trendy jewelry, handbags, hats, scarves and other extras.
- Stick to basic underwear and lingerie. Trendier prints and lace won’t have the best quality.
Check online and in stores often, taking advantage of sales, clearance and promotions for the best value. Focus on current season and in-demand styles.
H&M Sustainability Efforts: A Work in Progress
While fast fashion inherently creates waste, H&M aims to become more circular and sustainable:
- Conscious collection: Uses at least 50% sustainable materials like organic cotton, recycled polyester and ethically sourced Tencel.
- Recycling: In-store program lets customers recycle old clothing from any brand for reuse and textile production.
- Cleaner materials: Restricted substance list that bans harmful chemicals. Evaluates environmental impact of materials.
- Ethical standards: Supplier code of conduct covers issues like wages, working hours, health and safety. Third-party audits suppliers.
- Transparency: Shares list of suppliers, resources used, sustainability risks and strategy. Acknowledges challenges.
- Climate goals: Signed initiatives to use 100% renewable electricity and reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.
While H&M demonstrates awareness and has initiatives in place, critical feedback remains regarding the true scope of progress. There’s still significant room for improvement in sustainable practices.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is H&M clothing good quality?
A: H&M prioritizes low prices and fast fashion over exceptional quality. Garments tend to be made from inexpensive, synthetic blends suitable for current trends but won’t withstand years of wear. Some issues like shrinking, pilling and seams tearing may occur after a few washes. Overall, the quality matches accessible price points but isn’t meant to be long-lasting. Focus on wearing H&M clothes for one season.
Q: Is H&M ethical?
A: H&M has faced criticism over ethical issues like factory working conditions and environmental practices. However, the brand is working to improve transparency and sustainability. It audits suppliers, restricts harmful chemicals, and partners with stakeholders to reduce environmental impact. While not perfect, H&M is evolving its supply chain to become more ethical and sustainable.
Q: Does H&M run true to size?
A: For the most part, yes. H&M clothing tends to run true to standard US sizes. Sizing does lean towards slimmer, tailored fits though, as is common with European brands. If you are between sizes or prefer a looser silhouette, consider sizing up. Also note that Divided and other juniors sections run smaller, so you may need to size up 1-2 sizes. Check measurements and try items on when possible. Stretchy fabrics provide some room for variance.
Q: Is H&M good for basics?
A: It depends. For simple tees, tanks, camis, leggings and other wardrobe staples, H&M is affordable but the quality is not the best. These inexpensive basics tend to lose their shape, fade, pill and stretch out with regular wear. You’ll get more longevity from brands focused on quality basics and undergarments. But for occasional, seasonal layering, H&M works in a pinch.
Q: Does H&M have sales?
A: Yes, H&M typically does major seasonal sales and offers regular promotions. The best deals can be found during biannual end-of-season sales where items get marked down up to 70% off. New markdowns are added to sale sections weekly. Loyalty members also get exclusive access to select sales and discount codes throughout the year. Sign up for emails and pay attention to the website for current deals.
The Verdict: Fast Fashion for Everyone
H&M succeeded in making fast fashion affordable and accessible for the entire family. The retailer keeps prices low and quickly translates runway and celebrity looks into wearable, wallet-friendly styles. Shoppers can inexpensively try out the latest trends that reflect what’s happening in fashion.
However, the affordable costs come at the expense of exceptional quality and sustainability. H&M clothes likely won’t withstand years of regular wear and laundry. Fabrics and construction tend to be basic, using less expensive materials and methods. Environmentally speaking, fast production also incurs higher impacts.
For fashionable shoppers who value staying on top of trends over keeping closet staples forever, H&M is a go-to. The prices allow you to temporarily incorporate catwalk and celeb-inspired pieces each season. Just avoid paying full price and don’t expect long lifespans from the apparel. Overall, H&M offers an unbeatable mix of accessible costs and fashionable style.