Tag Archives: bargain shopping

Fast Fashion Mothership, aka H&M, arrives in Hawaii

Yes it happened and the best of Honolulu showed up to embrace H&M’s arrival in the paradise state. Just in time for our craving of Spring fashions.

I popped in after work Thursday on its opening day for a peak that ended up lasting nearly 2 hours. There’s only so many lines I’m willing to wait in, and the dressing room wasn’t one of them. I showed up in a solid black body con dress so I could thrown on anything I really wanted to try on with ease. I recommend doing the same if you attempt a visit anytime this week.

I was most anxious to see what their higher end line included. I am already well stocked in fresh tanks & great cottons I rely on H&M for, but what I really wanted are their select trendy better-made pieces. With this they did not disappoint. I scored a sweet off the shoulder navy tencel dress for under $60. My other favorites were a voluminous skirt in blush ($60), a chiffon green print maxi a la Rachel Zoe ($70), a silky halter bodysuit ($10), and fabulous strapless black & cream printed dress ($70) reminiscent of something Balenciaga or Oscar de la Renta might have sent down the runway.

By the time I arrived late last night, the collections were dramatically picked over. Some of it was just the sheer number of things being taken to the fitting room, not necessarily sold. No $5 pineapple tank top, the items from Miranda Kerr’s collection that were sold out online were already scooped, and the opening offers aren’t worth mentioning except for the $4 linen-like shorts.

H&M is a well oiled machine, and there were no shortage of helpers eager to tidy up as the chaos swept in. There were even cleaners sweeping the floor, polishing mirrors, dusting etc. while people selected items from the adjacent rack. I expect the store to be massively replenished daily, so plan to check frequently for fresh finds. Turnover and fresh items are the key-stone to fast fashion. One note, many of the spring styles I had eyed online were no where to be found, hopefully those will make their way here soon.

Parking was a cinch, and FREE for the first 3 hours with validation, a huge plus! A quick ride in the elevator and I was on the ground floor around the corner from the main entrance.

I’ve been anxious for H&M to arrive in my home state ever since discovering the retailer in Paris in 2000. Can’t say I was expecting more, just happy it’s finally here.

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One dress 3 ways: Style Exchange preview

Simple layering with a few key basics is the starting blocks to a great wardrobe. I took a basic A-line H&M patterned dress as an example to illustrate how you can take one item and create 3 very different looks with it. All items are for sale and available at our next Style Exchange happening tomorrow at R/D in Kakaako, 2-5pm. How you can join us!

Add a sweater and a brass necklace. Joie gray linen sweater $24. Brass beaded necklace $10.

Robert Rodriguez aqua open-weave sweater $22. Blue beaded necklace $22.

Add a jacket. Rachel by Rachel Roy tie waist jacket with pockets $28.

Style. Shop. Exchange.

Thank you to all of you who came out to shop my first Style Exchange at R/D. We had a blast and hope you did too. More importantly, I hope you picked up some helpful styling tricks, and also new favorites for your closet. You missed it? Not to fret, we’re doing it again next weekend!

Our next pop-up shop is Saturday December 14th, 2-5 p.m. at R/D once again. Everything will be 50 bucks or less, and I’ve got my hands on lots of new to you gently worn fabulous fashion finds. Is there something you’re looking for in particular? Let me know and I’ll make sure to bring it along and put it aside for you!

Shop Pualana’s Style Exchange: Saturday December 14th 2-5 p.m. R/D 691 Auahi St in Kaka’ako. Free to attend.

 Personal Stylist Pualana Lemelle brings you a carefully curated selection of clothes, shoes, and accessories for a fun afternoon soiree at R/D.

 Light refreshments. Cash and cards accepted.

How to shop the new Nordstrom Rack in Honolulu

It’s no secret that some of my best finds happen at Nordstrom’s the Rack, specifically the Rack on Oahu. Great designer and bridge merchandise at a deal coupled with Nordstrom’s great customer service, it’s been a win win for me over the years. But for many the Rack is a huge warehouse chock full of overwhelming choices. And just because you found it at the Rack doesn’t always make it a bargain. Here’s how to make sure you strike it right when shopping at the new Honolulu Rack at Ward.

My Favorite buys at the Rack:

  1. Designer lingerie by brands Chantelle, Natori, Wacoal, Hanky Panky, and commando.
  2. Designer jeans by brands J Brand, Hudson, Paige, Habitual, Mother, and Current Elliot.
  3. Jersey blazers by Gibson.
  4. Layering basics including tees from James Perse, Vince, and Soprano.
  5. Shoes of all kinds including Haviana slippers.

The Layout: First things first, the new Rack is now 2 huge floors in the new building across from T.J.Maxx. Main floor is Men’s, top floor is for Women. When entering from the parking garage, the first thing you’ll see is the huge accessories department, lingerie, sunglasses, and home to your left. Then you’ll be bombarded with plenty of rounds of juniors, ladies and then women’s wear with a nice little pad of designer. I was a bit disappointed with their selection of designer, as the gals were really pumping up my expectations before the new store opened. Beyond the dressing rooms, and another large pad of accessories including handbags and body, you’ll find yourself immersed in shoes. It feels a bit more claustrophobic than before, with the aisles longer and taller, and at an angle. Designer shoes are separated like before, but now boots are also sectioned off which is nice.

The tag is your clue: The Rack has buyers that select merchandise directly from suppliers much like the main line Nordstrom does. Sometimes it’s from the same collection, but perhaps a different style. Things that come directly to the Rack can be much of the same that you’d find in their main line stores, but at 30-50% off retail. The real savings come from pieces that were originally meant for the main line stores and either got reduced and didn’t sell, or were customer returns after the merchandise already left the floors. These tags are marked differently, and usually have a red sticker, and usually go directly to the clearance racks.

Amazing savings. Look for tags like these, meaning they came from the full line store first, with further reductions.

Amazing savings. Look for tags like these, meaning they came from the full line store first, with further reductions.

New Designer Pad: The day I stopped in to the Rack the designer pad had racks of Helmut Lang, Rag & Bone, Trina Turk, Vince, Nanette Lepore, Kate Spade, Burberry London, Eileen Fisher, Element, Diane Von Furstenburg (DVF), Tory Burch and I’m more. These racks had some basics, but mostly wild prints or strange cuts that you can understand why they were leftovers. The main exception to this rule is Vince. Though this last visit the rack was loaded with sweaters that unless you were hopping a plane to snow, you couldn’t imagine wearing in the tropics.

Start with Clearance: Always a sucker for the best bargain, I start my search at the clearance racks. They are fairly organized, sorted by size and sometimes by section from the main store. My favorite finds are usually in the Indy, t.b.d., savvy rounders. On my recent haunt I found a Tibi silk top that normally runs $225 for $36, Coach platforms for a mere $34 (normally also $225), and a pair of current elliot cutoff denim shorts for $22, normally $156. I also found a perfect cropped 3/4 vince tee for $39 and a knit Rag & Bone blazer for $159, they run at $495. Now unless you need these things, it’s not really a bargain. But these are all great deals, and ones I plan on getting a lot of use from.

Some things to remember when shopping at the Rack:

  1. Shopping early in the day the racks are tidier, and often less busy before lunch time.
  2. Always check for quality. Sometimes seams don’t line up straight, you don’t want a crooked seam on your butt, so double check.
  3. There’s a 15 item limit when trying on, so be strategic with what you chose to try on with what. Dana is often working when I shop, and she helps make the process smoothly for me and my clients.
  4. Some shoes are re-soled if they were previously worn by a customer. These are often the best deals and often up to 85% off retail. I’ve spotted Prada, Jimmy Choo, and Feragamo. And they will be in the regular shoe section, not designer, so take a second look.
  5. Alterations can be done on the spot at the rack, and their seamstresses are just as good as their full line counterparts. Salva and I are on a first name basis.
  6. If you don’t feel like waiting to check out in line, look for any team member in the green shirt, and they can check you out if paying with credit or debit card.
  7. You have 30 days to return unworn merchandise. Though I find even if you pass the 30 days, they graciously take back your items for a full refund with proof of payment.

Nordstrom Rack 1170 Auahi St, Honolulu, Hawaii 96814; 808.589.2060