Friday, October 15, 2010

Budget-Friendly Fashion (H&M Fitting Room Reviews)

Hi, everyone!  Happy Friday!  It's been a crazy week for me - I had a 3-day long headache (which as bad as it was, never blossomed fully into a migraine, phew!), have been designing and buying plants for our new front yard (haha, hope my foray into being a landscape designer ends well - we're giving up on grass - SO annoying to try and maintain/keep alive in San Diego - and putting in a drought tolerant garden with mulch instead), working, and also had a mid-week half-day trip to OC this week, for an "infant baptism class" in preparation for Kate's baptism this weekend.  I'll be so relieved when I can put this week behind me.  All I really want is to be able to go out and hunt down a Molded and Melded tee (in the same color Jan is wearing here) in an XS, please, before they're all sold out (maybe they already are? Sigh...).  

Oh! By the way, I have the Forever 21 faux leather jacket, NWT in a large size, that Rosa's wearing here and Roxy blogged about here, if anyone wants it.  I picked it up for Roxy, but she already got one (and this is totally fine - I can easily and happily exchange it for something else) so before I return it, did anyone want it? If you do, shoot me an email (carol.prettythings[at] and I'll send you the details (cost, shipping, etc).   For reference, I have the same jacket in a size small, which pretty much fits me like a glove.
**EDIT** Thanks, everyone for your interest.  Someone's already claimed the jacket.  -Carol

Lately, I've been trying to be more conscientious about my spending habits (can we say, "bought waaaay too much over the summer?") and so, I've been mindful of price-points when considering a purchase.  I was feeling the itch to go out and "look" so I decided to scratch it by looking at more budget-friendly clothing. I started at Target, where I tried on a Tucker dress and blouse in the small size.  Generally speaking, I usually wear a size small, in most of Target's designer collaborations, so I was pretty shocked to see that I was swimming in that Tucker dress. This turned out to be okay, because if it had fit properly, I would probably have bought it and kept it, and had I done that, I never would have ended up in H&M, where I found a couple things I really, really loved.  That being said, it kind of stinks that they don't have an online retail presence for the US, so I can't share the links with you, and the merchandise in these stores turn over on what seems a daily basis.  But for what it's worth, these items were all in the North County H&M as of earlier this week.

First up is a little bow-trimmed cardi that I spied.  It's a taupey-grayish-brown color with black trim and buttons, and 3/4 sleeves.  I'm wearing a size small.  The small fit well everywhere, but the buttons pulled in the most inexplicable fashion.  It wasn't terrible, but even at $35, I don't want  buttons to pull.  It was really cute, and I briefly considered trying on a medium, but decided against it, as I know full well that the medium will be too big for me in the shoulders.  Too bad, as I was sort of wanting a sweater that was this sort of color, and the bows on the non-functional pockets are super cute.

This is a pale pink version of the sweater above.  Again, I'm wearing the small.  Again, the same problem with the buttons pulling.  Booo!

For me, this dress was the find of the day.  At $34.95, it was a steal! The print was super cute, with little birds (sorry, Kathryn!) sitting on flowering branches amidst tiny scattered polka dots on a black background.  It has functioning buttons that run the length of the dress, a self-tie belt, a v-neck that is cut flatteringly low, but not so much as to be immodest, and nicely ruched, puffed sleeves.  It hit right above my knee, and I love, love, loved it!  I find the sizing in H&M to be somewhat inconsistent, so while I'm wearing a size 4 in the photos above, I ended up buying it in a 6 (which fit me fine) because when I breathed in too deeply, the top two buttons on the size 4 popped open - seriously.  So, this dress runs pretty small, which means that for once, the very petite women are not sized out, as they often can be at Anthro. No surprise, it totally came home with me.

This dress initially attracted me with its pretty ruffles and cute puffed sleeves, but once I got it on, it made me think of a nighty from the '60s and '70s, if you know what I mean.  The short length, shapeless waist, and sheer overlay really evoked night-wear from that era (didn't Samantha from "Bewitched" wear stuff like this?) With a belt, it might not be so bad, but that would certainly make it shorter, and it's already hitting 2-3 inches above my knee as it is (and don't forget, I am only 5'2" to start with).  I'm wearing a size 4 in these photos.  Taller women may definitely find the length challenging.

Close-up of the ruffled bodice.

More ruffles, anyone?  I think this is the same dress Rosa bought back in February for just $10 (it's now priced at $34.95).  I remember liking it on her, so I decided to try it on, despite its 250% markup in price.  I'm wearing a size 4 here too, and it fit me well.  I did, feel though, that I had been eaten by the Ruffle Monster.  I preferred this silhouette (cinched elastic waist and slightly longer skirt, with functional buttons to help get in and out of the dress) to that of the dress above, so if you're a fan of ruffles, then I recommend this one.  I like ruffles, but I don't know if I love ruffles, so this dress was a pass for me.  

Close-up of the Ruffle-Monster, er...very pretty ruffled dress.

I saw this little ivory chiffon and lace top, and I had to try it on.  I love it! The details are so delicate and feminine, and guess what? It's machine washable! Whoooo! (Hang dry, but that's no biggie.)  It's totally sheer, so you have to wear something underneath it (I've got on a white cotton cami underneath, but think of how you can layer all kinds of colors underneath this to change up its feel!).  There are three little buttons that fasten the top closed in the back, and elastic around the cuffs of the sleeves.  Very cute, and priced right at $24.95, it came home with me!

Thanks for reading!


  1. omg that leather jacket!! I DIE!

    and you So cute!!! I have that bird dress too, isn't it darling??
    here it is on me just cuz i love it so much!

    And what darling sweaters, thanks for the reviews Carol!

  2. Oh thank you for bringing us reviews from H&M. I haven't been there in awhile and might stop there this weekend because of what I see on you. I want to try on the ruffled bodice dress. And that last top is amazing on you! Great picks!

  3. oh... the bird dress! i'm so sad that i couldn't find a size that fit properly. i'm glad it worked for you!

  4. I really like the bird dress! I have to go to h&m to find it!

  5. Oh Carol! I didn't realize you had already picked it up. THANK YOU. If you don't find a buyer by Sunday let me know.

  6. @Amber - I LOVE the bird dress - and you look great in it. =D

    @Cindi - thanks! Let us know what you find. ^_-

    @Debbie Deb - aww, I'm sad it didn't work for you! It's such a cute one, but yeah, the sizings were weird, weren't they?

    @Tien - good luck! I hope you find it, because I know you'd style it wonderfully (and I'll be able to copy...haha)

    @Roxy - oh, it's not a problem. I just didn't want to lose it, in case you wanted it, and I knew I could exchange it for something if you didn't. =) No worries.

  7. H&M always has such cute things, I just need time/babysitters to be able to fully poke around the store and try things on. You found such treasures, I love, love and more love that last blouse and while you are hunting down the wind Molded & Melded tee, I will be at the mall in search of that blouse - soooo pretty!!!

  8. Love the H&M reviews! Hope to see more! I sent you an email about the leather jacket =) Thanks!

  9. Oh my gosh, that bird dress! I'm in love! I need to get myself to an H&M pronto :)

  10. I love that lace tee! I wish H&M would get a website for the U.S. already!

  11. That cardigan is really adorable! Bummer about the pulling, though (welcome to my world!). Thanks, or no thanks, to your post I think I'm going to have to have a trawl through my two H&Ms. They're like Starbucks over here! They've finally opened their online store, so it should only be a matter of time for you guys!

  12. Carol, thanks for the budget friendly reviews. I know what you mean about spending so much this summer. Unfortunately, I'm probably going to have to add the fall season already into the spent to much category as well.

    Cute H&M finds! I tried on that bird dress in a 6 since it was the only size. I usually wear a 2 since they run so small, so I hoped it would fit, but it was big. I love that last top as well.

    They actually had a popback of the red Molded & Melded in an xs. I wish I would have know you wanted it. Would have snagged it for you. I couldn't bring myself to get it since I bought it in green and sky.

  13. i have the chiffon shirt in olive green and i adoreeeee it

  14. this is my dream blog! i don't have an anthropologie near me and it's great to see both of you in the clothes and since i'm the same size as carol it's great for ordering stuff. I LOVE this BLOG!
    i hope to see you try the new Poppy options cowlneck top if you get the chance, i like the neutral but can't decide if the top is too busy. and what would u wear it with?
    thanks from canada :)

  15. LOVE the chiffon/lace top in your last picture and want it! Boo - no H&M stores in my city.

  16. Wish I would have looked at this post earlier since someone else snagged the faux leather jacket :( . But I LOVE the lace top from H&M. I thinks that I will have to seach for it in Chicago this weekend.

  17. Hi carol!
    Whenever i go overseas, I HAVE to visit H&M. It's the best for cheap cardis and accessories (not so great for dresses IMO - the fit is abit off for my figure).
    I bought the bow pocket cardi in the light pink. I think it was very cute, and i didn't notice the buttons pulling...errm, maybe i was just stoked about the $30 price tag!

  18. aww the black ruffle dress i bought for $15 :) it is sooo nice and perfect when belted. i'll have an outfit post up soon hehe ^__^ the rest look nice on you

    <3 angie

  19. Thanks for trying on those cardis! I saw them the last time I was at H&M, but didn't end up bringing them to the dressing room with me. But I was very curious!


  20. I love that last lace top. It's so pretty and feminine. I spent way too much this summer, too, so it's nice to see some great pieces at a lower pricepoints. whew!

  21. omg!! i just bought that pale pink cardigan last week! It is so cute... but there *is* that little button pulling thing. I didn't notice it until you pointed it out..but it's so darling that i don't want to take it back!

  22. Hi there, i'm sorry this question is completely OT (i found your blog by searching 'size' and 'tucker for target').

    I'm in Australia and buying a Tucker for Target dress via ebay. I'm just wondering - I'm an Australian 12 (approx US 8), would you recommend a Medium or Large in the Tucker line?!

  23. Hi, do they still have the brown cardigcan you're earing with bows?

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