I trust my initial instincts a lot and I have mostly fared well by going with them. However, sometimes they do come back and bite me back from behind. I THOUGHT I had formulated a fairly conclusive opinion about Collection of Style, H&M's new higher quality, higher priced store which has now opened branches in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands as well as the first store in London. I even visited the store just to confirm my suspicions.
Well, with my first visit marred by a terrible migraine and non-plussed enthusiasm, I again hastily dismissed COS as a missed opportunity (edgier design, ready to wear quality at lower prices blah blah blah). However, my second visit to the COS store yesterday has finally made me wish to retract my original post - and I never usually retract anything I say. I devoted a good two hours combing through the well designed store (the aesthetics and aspirational styling of COS weren't what I had a grudge against but of course it doesn't hurt!). I found that on closer inspection, many of the pieces posessed enough of the design twists/quirks that I always yearn for in high street clothing. On face value, none of the clothes go 'way out there' with the design yet there are really great subtleties that differentiate COS clothes from the usual high street garb. An elasticated waist/hem here. A bit of ruching there. Clever draping and cutting. They don't scream at you but are more apparent when you try it on. Furthermore, it does what it says on the tin and delivers higher quality than say Zara which I find gets it spot on with the design but has flaky quality considering the price. The overall effect of everything is a very fresh kind of subtlety that would work all the time and not just for one season.
As I took the two dresses below, a zig zag printed smock top and a paper-bag waisted skirt to the till, I did feel guilt saying the things I did about it. I guess the statement I made about COS perhaps being very 'safe' with their design is true. But I just didn't foresee the little twists and turns I would find when seeing the clothes in person. More of those twists and turns, and I'll be an 100% satisfied happy bunny indeed.