In our Shop Spotlight feature, we'll be focusing on 3 different high-street/mall stores at a time, providing some basic background info on each as well as giving our personal take on their pros and cons.
Background: Originally known as Hennes & Mauritz, this Swedish-based retailer has a massive 2629 stores and counting in over 43 countries.
Where: Canada, US, UK, Ireland, most of mainland Europe, Asia & Middle East
Pros: Cheap, on-trend clothes; fantastic variety; often have designer collaborations; have a complimentary magazine in store.
Cons: Quite a lot of their stuff can be shoddily made (loose buttons, doesn't wash well, etc.), so you do get what you pay for; chances are you'll see several other people wearing the same top/dress/whatever you bought; stores are usually insanely busy.
Great for: Trendy items you don't want to spend too much on; basic tees; often have pretty skirts, sundresses and blouses.
Not so great for: Their cardigans generally do not wear well (although they do have a great variety of colours and patterns); accessories are often cheap-looking and poorly made; outerwear is hit and miss, but usually bland and not made to last.
Background: This Montreal-based retailer was founded in 1977, and currently has over 100 stores primarily in Canada.
Where: Canada, Massachusetts.
Pros: Affordably-priced clothes in classic styles; well laid-out stores; good customer service.
Cons: Some of their stuff is a bit bland & "corporate".
Great for: Workwear (pencil skirts, blouses, cardigans, etc.); classic outerwear; often have great dresses, especially in summer.
Not so great for: This wouldn't be the place to look if you want bang-on-trend styles.
Background: Founded in Somerset, England in 1969; now has over 1000 stores internationally.
Where: UK, Ireland, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Malta, Poland, Singapore & UAE.
Pros: Cheap, trendy & colourful clothes.
Cons: Not fantastically well-made; will see numerous people with the same clothes.
Great for: New trends; summer holiday/festival wear; tights, leggings, socks; also has a great shoe selection.
Not so great for: Cardigans, jumpers and coats tend to be poorly-made - their stuff is better geared towards summer wear.