Is Tel Aviv’s H&M Worth It?

Author: Roz Sentell

Israeli transplant Roz Sentell knows her stuff when it comes to fashion. She comes to Tel Aviv with experience as a milliner (designing, making and selling hats) and a fashion buyer from America’s fashion capital New York City! Get a load of what she thinks about Israel’s clothing store addition: H&M.

“Whatever they are selling at Azrieli’s H&M, you can get it later, in the States! It’s not worth fighting those lines.” Simona told me when the store first opened. I mean, I visit America pretty often so I figured she was right.

So I changed my mind and decided not to go to the grand opening of the H&M in Israel.

Later that evening on the news, I saw the live video of packs of crazy girls screaming and shoving for entry. I felt certain that I had made the right choice by staying home.

I guess I was really just staying home for the crowds, because weeks following the opening event, I was still so hungry for American type fashion. I just needed to go. And I thought it could be safe now, less hectic, and the stock would be replenished in the mean time.

I forced myself out of bed early this past Friday morning and taxied to the mall just for this store.

I had heard complaints from friends who had gone to the opening or the week after and it wasn’t just about the lines or the crowds. They told me the fashion was not trendy. I had also heard about waiting on line for a half hour just to get in, but that actually wasn’t so bad when I got there.

When I did arrive, I was pleasantly surprised I did not have to wait on any line to get in. Still, the store was definitely full. Later, I wandered though rooms and rooms filled with basics, and true to the rumor, not much style.

My patient theory is the investors didn’t know really what Israeli women would want so they just brought in basics. As you can see by the photo, only basic tees and leggings seemed to be stocked. TONS AND TONS OF BLAZERS. WHY??? What Israeli woman needs endless blazers??

The one thing I saw on the mannequin that looked interesting was something they didn’t even have in stock (the modern khaki trench pictured on right.)

After I entered the store I stared wide-eyed at the main entrance display which promised so much for my new Israeli H&M shopping experience indicated in the picture: A long flowy floral dress made of only recycled material and stretchy taupe gladiator heels that promised me quietly affordable style (later I found out they were the only heels offered in the store.)

I had high hopes for a stylish fun shopping experience.

And then I saw the sequined gold hot pants on the left wall.

Later, I went to the lingerie section. There, I felt let down by the unimpressive quality. The basic bras and panties look like they were made from a synthetic looking polyester silk that would pill or perhaps snag in the washing machine. I know H&M is budget, but come on! I guess I was still expecting something better–the kind of thing I would expect in the United States with H&M’s rep. Still, I chose a push up bra or two to try on.

Typically used to American bras, I couldn’t figure out the size conversion. In America bras are sized very differently. I saw A and B and D but NO Cs at all! So I choose a B 75 even though I am a C thinking I could get an idea and see later if I could find a C with some help of a sales attendant. Following this, I searched for some type of assistance but found no one available in that department. Another letdown.

I went to check out the room for jeans. I have always loved H&M jeans; they fit my figure so well. Saw a pair called boyfriend cut (could it be good for my curvy figure? But I only saw size 32. I figured that I could get a different size later should it not fit. I then saw a sign on the wall for jean styles with pictures and saw one called baggy-with a elasticized cuffs. I couldn’t find this style anywhere on the racks and again no sales attendant! So I wandered into the men’s section–where of course there were plenty of sales people organizing the rack. (Why weren’t they in the women’s department where they are truly needed?!)

I looked around and noticed almost an entire room filled with men’s underwear and boxer briefs! (pictured) What a selection! I saw a saleswoman organizing and asked her if she could find me the jeans I was looking for. She said they don’t carry them.

Next, I went to try on the clothing. I was told only 4 garments at a time. So I left my underwear and bathing suits by the entrance (mind you none of the bikini tops and bottoms matched in stock or had few sizes to choose from.) I had selected bathing suits in the sizes indicated on the hangers.

When I got inside the fitting room, I realized the sizes on the hangers didn’t match the garments! Worse, when I asked the sales attendant for a change of size for the jeans to a 30 or 31, she refused to help.

Before leaving H&M, I figured I’d just grab a pair of boyfriend jeans in a size 31, and if they don’t fit, I’ll come back and exchange it. When I saw the lines to the register (picture indicated) I gave up and ran away.

I glanced over at the accessories table on the way out and let out a shudder. Who would buy cheap silver looking hair pins and butterfly rings?? And a wall just for plastic hair clips? Why so much crap?!

I called Simona later that day to give over my rant.

“I don’t usually like writing negative things on my blog,” Simona said. But I insisted! H&M needs to know! I hope one day H&M will bring in the fashions and selection that we deserve in Israel.


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