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Issue Date: October 2005 Issue

Shop Talk

Colleen Mytnick

Some 600 people waited in line for the late-summer opening of the first H&M store in Ohio, at Crocker Park. We wanted to find out why. So, after visiting (and shopping in) the Westlake store, we called company spokeswoman Jennifer Uglialoro for a chat.

— Colleen Mytnick

How Uglialoro explains H&M’s success: “High fashion and quality at the best price.” We sort of agree: It’s definitely great fashion at great prices. The quality falls somewhere between Old Navy and Ann Taylor.

The H&M story: The first store opened in Sweden in 1947. It now has more than 1,200 stores in 22 countries, including 79 in the United States.

Good prices, indeed: You can buy an entire outfit for less than $100 (and often for only $50) and, because they rotate stock so quickly, chances are your friends and neighbors won’t be wearing the same thing.

What we bought while we were supposed to be interviewing people: An olive green peasant skirt for $19.90, a Greek-inspired sleeveless dusty pink top for $7.90, a dark brown corduroy skirt for $24.90 (brown is the new black!) and a leather belt with a studded oval buckle for $16.90.

Understanding the store: High-fashion apparel is right when you walk in — the “young trend” department. Don’t let the name fool you. “I’m 30 and I shop there,” says Uglialoro. We also spotted Plain Dealer fashion editor Kim Crow poking around. The second floor features slightly more conservative, but still fashionable clothes.

If you could only buy three things for fall, they should be: Anything that is military-inspired, a romantic blouse and a shrunken jacket, says Uglialoro.

We are hip: “I just got back from Crocker Park,” says Uglialoro, who is based in New York City. “And I could not believe the fashion that I saw there.” And she means on the people, not just in the stores.

H&M’s Three Fall Trends

1. The Rustic Look: Company spokeswoman Jennifer Uglialoro describes it as a “folklore-, Eastern European-, nature-influenced trend.” It features lots of embroidery, heavy knits and a handcrafted feel and finish. Dominant fabrics are leather and suede. The colors you’ll see are wine, olive and rust.

2. The Minimalist Trend: “It’s a lot more clean and simple, futuristic,” says Uglialoro. You’ll see oversized sleeves, shrunken jackets, skinny cigarette pants and wide-legged trousers. Fabrics are fine knits, satin and unwashed denim. Colors are neutral.

3. Baroque Rococo: A combination of two fashion periods, this look is simultaneously romantic and military inspired. It features lots of lace and satin, pastel colors and bangles as a jewelry highlight. But, “romantic blouses are the main focus for this trend,” Uglialoro notes.

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