Gird your loins, everyone: the Isabel Marant for H&M collection begins in fewer than 24 hours, and if last night's launch party was any indication of what the public sale will be like, then it's time to tighten your boot straps and prepare yourself in order to successfully shop what will be the retailer's most popular — and possibly crazed — collaboration.
When I received the invitation to be "one of the first" to shop the line at their L.A. launch party, I reacted the same way I did when I got my college acceptance letters (because fashion, people. Fashion). Stupidly giddy with excitement, I studied the collection on H&M's website. I took snapshots of items to add to my "Must Have" and "Maybe" list. I even wore an outfit that would maximize the ease of trying on her oversized coats, wool cardigans and biker pants. But no amount of prep work could have prepared me for what actually took place at the shopping party.
MASS. HYSTERIA. Y'ALL.
Because I don't want you to make the same mistakes that I did (read: standing like a deer in headlights among the mass of people savagely ripping through racks), I've compiled a list of tips on how to survive the sale. Here's what you need to do to get your hands on one of her coveted pieces.
You're probably like, "Duh, Sara. I'm obviously going early. I'm not some sale shopping n00b." But whatever crack-of-dawn time you have in your head — it isn't early enough. Go earlier. I'm talking right now if you can. There is absolutely no chance you will get to shop any of the collection, save for the leftovers (according to last night's event, the metallic pants and printed tank tops), if you arrive at a reasonable hour.
Make a decision right now on how much that ______ item means to you, cancel all your plans for the rest of the day and give yourself a mental pep talk. All participating stores will open their doors at 8 AM, with the exception of Times Square, which will be the first store in the world to sell to the public at 1 AM. Plan accordingly.
If my previous tip has squashed your desire to go in to an H&M brick and mortar (sorry!), don't throw your hands in the air and give up: you still have a chance online! I'm even betting that your chances at snagging the brocade jacket and lace-up leather pants you've been dreaming of for the past couple of months will be even greater on the website than in real life.
The collection will be released online at 12 p.m. ET. Have the window open at least 15 minutes before the online sales open to assure that you are successfully on the site. Even if the site crashes, you'll be able to just click refresh instead of frantically typing in the URL. Study the page and know exactly what you want and where that is on the site. It should not have to be said, but I'll say it anyways: quick hands, people. There's no room for lazy index fingers here.
CHECK OUT THE TEEN SECTION
Do not doubt your size. Even if you wear a large in women's, you should totally consider trying on a boys or girls 12-14 YR sweatshirt or coat. Everyone was doing it at the party (even grown men!). One gal was wearing this Smile sweatshirt piece as a cropped sweater and it looked super cute. Shoppers may not think to raid this area of the collection first, but we suggest you do. A lot of the items' styles are similar to those in the regular adult collection — and what's more, they cost less. Outsmart the others. Make your way to the kids' section early.
If you know exactly what you want and where it is located in the store, don't stray too far from there. There's a chance that an employee will restock an item (if you're lucky to get there early enough). Also, as you know, shoppers are very grabby. They will take as much as they can in their hands upon entering, but after their rational thought sets in, they begin to dump items they realize probably won't fit or that they don't really want. That's your queue to sift through what they've discarded! Another tip: Take a trip into the fitting rooms to see what shoppers have left behind.
BEFRIEND A H&M EMPLOYEE
First of all, shoutout to all the H&M employees for their courage to take on such a frightening endeavor. Smile and thank them for their hard work. And then after you do that, befriend them because they are your greatest asset in this sale. Not only do they have access to backstock, they also know exactly where things are and will constantly be carrying go-backs. If there is something specific you are looking for, do not hesitate to ask your new friend. They may be willing to help you out if you've been so nice to them!
COME BACK ON THE SEVENTH DAY
Shoppers will only have a week to return any items from the collection, which means you should strategically fit in a trip to an H&M store on November 20 or 21. You may find things you didn't even seen on the first day.
All this being said, shoppers: god speed. Shop smart and stay safe. If I can survive with a smile on my face (see below — that's me with Emily Schuman), then I have every faith that you can, too. And when all is said and done, there's always eBay.