Pro Tips: How to (Really) Shop the Isabel Marant for H&M Collection

Laurel Pinson

how to shop isabel marant for H&M

Isabel Marant’s hotly-anticipated collection for H&M launches Thursday in select stores across the country, and if you’re like us, you’ve been scouring the Web for any tidbits you can find on how to shop the collection and, most importantly, how to wind up with the pieces you want the most (ahem, that jacket). The collaboration has proved so popular that H&M has even launched a micro-site to help shoppers navigate the complex shopping rules around the collection, and where to actually find it. (You can find more information on the shopping rules for the Isabel Marant x H&M collection here.)

Well, we were part of a lucky few invited to wage battle for shop the collection in advance of its official release date, and we’re here to give you all the insider tips and tricks you need to shop the collaboration—including some incredibly important information on sizing. We made it out of the VIP sale with our lives—barely—so listen up.

1. Gird Your Loins, and Prepare for a Wait

If last night’s sh*show event is any indication, this collection may attract even longer lines than what we saw at the Lanvin for H&M launch back in 2010. If you’re really serious about hitting the store to snag what you want, we would strongly urge you to line up early. Like, really early. (Stores open at 8 a.m., and there will definitely be folks camping out overnight in New York.)

The first 420 people in line with get a color-coded wrist band to indicate when you’ll be able to shop (15 minutes for each color group), and if you’re so far back in the line that you don’t get a wrist band, we’d strongly suggest getting yourself a nice hot chocolate and saving yourself the trouble—you won’t be able to get anything you really want. If you plan to shop the collection online, make sure you have unfettered access to a computer with spotless wifi at 12 p.m. EST—and expect the website to have some hiccups when the traffic surge hits.

2. What’s Likely to Sell Out First

The embellished jacket may be a big ticket item at $399, but it’s definitely the most popular piece in the collection. If your goal is to snag that jacket, you better line up with the fanatics at dawn or throw the dice and shop online. The knitwear and tees also proved popular, as well as the waxed biker jeans, the studded pumps, and the boots.

A lot of the lightweight metallic separates—tanks, tees, pants—proved less appealing to the shoppers at the event, so it’s likely that there will still be some pieces from that family left even after the initial waves of shoppers recede. Our advice: Pick your top pieces, as well as some back-ups that will likely prove less popular—that way, if you’re determined to go home with some Marant, you’ll at least go home happy.

3. The Sizing Runs Very Small

Whether you’re shopping online or in a store, one thing is certain—you’lll have little time to dawdle, so knowing what you want and what size you wear is of critical importance. While the sizing on the tags may read “U.S.,” take our word for it and grab a size bigger (or two) than what you normally wear. Most of the editors at the pre-sale ended up with skinny pants in a size 8, and the consensus in the fitting rooms was that the sizing was decidedly small. (Ed note: I did, in fact, snag the embellished jacket at the sale—in a size 12. I’m usually a size 4 or 6 on top.)

4. Choose Wisely — You Only Get One of Each Thing

H&M’s shopping rules for the collection forbid shoppers from stockpiling multiples of the same piece, so don’t bet on taking home a second pair of pumps for a friend.

5. Mine the Kids’ and Men’s Sections for Surprisingly Chic Finds

Little known fact: The menswear and kid’s wear is just as cute as the womenswear. In fact, those embellished jeans are also available in the men’s department—with a straight-leg fit and a higher waist. (Ed note: I bought two pairs—they’re great! And no line!) The jackets and knits work especially well with a roomier, boxy cut, so take advantage of the smaller crowds in the men’s section and look for great finds there. Same goes for the kid’s section—if you’ve got a smaller frame, snag an embellished shearling jacket in the biggest size they offer, and you’ll be the envy of all your friends. (Plus, it’s cheaper!)

6. Stalk the Fitting Rooms

The smartest shoppers at last night’s shopping melee found a quiet fitting room on the third floor and ransacked the ‘return’ racks for some of the most prized pieces from the collection, along with a variety of discarded sizes. Grab what you can on the shopping floor, but make time to linger around the fitting rooms to see what shoppers discard on their way out. Same goes for the register—we spotted tons of killer pieces there that folks had abandoned as they decided on their final purchases.

7. Returns and Exchanges

H&M’s standard return policy may be 30 days, but the policy for returns and exchanges on Marant goods is only one week. So if you decide you don’t want something, bring it back right away or plan on giving it to a friend as a holiday present. (Lucky friend!)

8. Check Back Within the Next Week

Considering the return policy is seven days, it’s a very safe bet that hordes of shoppers who bought tons of Marant goods in the fever of opening day will regret their purchases and return them within that seven day window. If you live near an H&M store, keep checking back—it’s likely you’ll fine the piece or size you want just a few days later.