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Head-to-Head

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H&M
640 Fifth Ave., at 51st St. 212-489-0390
vs.

Forever 21
4 Union Sq. S., nr. 14th St. 212-228-0598
The Shopping Experience
Long, disorganized lines for the fitting rooms and the checkout. Jamming dance music helps lower the frustration level. A calmer environment. But scarcity of smaller sizes can necessitate stripping a mannequin.
The Prizes
H&M’s prices can reach into the hundreds. New items usually go on sale after about a month. Prices stay comfortably low. Markdowns are less common than at H&M, but when a coat costs $60, who needs sales?
The Style
The current collection favors graphic colors and moddish cuts. H&M can't be beat for its reliable black cocktail dresses. In March, a collaboration with Madonna will draw swarms. Forever 21 also favors cute and colorful designs. Clothes are especially youthful and trendy (H&M has more for cautious dressers). But bags and jewelry don’t conceal their cheapness and should be avoided.
the find
This seventies floral-print cap-sleeve dress, $49.90, has a flattering easy-breezy cut. The lined wool pinafore, a mere $27.80, can be worn casually or dressed up.
Photo: David + Starr


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