Secret Police Fitting Room Review: H&M stripe skater dress

Striped skater dress from H&M

The Fashion Police’s undercover officers are infiltrating fashion retailers around the country in order to bring you honest, unbiased reviews of the clothing and footwear they find there. Here’s their first report:

Officer: Chief of Police Forever Amber

Height: 5’4

Item:  H&M stripe skater dress, £12.99 (other colours available)

Sizing:
Ths is my usual “H&M dress size”, which is one size larger than I wear in other high street stores due to H&M’s habit of sizing everything down. It was still pretty snug – I’d have tried the next size up again, but this was the only one they had! The main issue for me, however, was the length: this dress is WAY shorter than I’d be comfortable wearing with bare legs (unless I was on holiday somewhere hot, and headed to the beach!) so it would definitely need thick tights or leggings if I was going to wear it.

Quality: 
Pretty good for the price: this is a stretchy, t-shirt type material, but it’s fairly thick, isn’t see-through, and felt nice to wear.

Officer’s Comments:
 H&M’s sizing is different from most other UK stores: for instance, in most stores, a UK 6 will correspond to a European 34, but in H&M it corresponds to a 32, and so on. So if you’re usually a size 8, you’ll probably be an H&M 10, if you’re usually a 10, you’ll be an H&M 12, etc. (I say “probably”: the sizing in this store can be random, and I normally only have to size up in dresses and trousers – tops are generally true to size for me.)

(Aside: The strange sizing at H&M has always been a bit of a puzzle to me: I honestly don’t care what the label inside my clothes says as long as they fit properly, but for most stores, “vanity sizing” means making the clothes LARGER than the label suggests, so shoppers can feel smug about going down a size: at H&M the opposite rule applies!)

Sizing issues aside, I loved the shape of this dress and I also liked the stripes, which are a favourite of mine. The length was the deal-breaker, however: a real shame, because it’s a great dress for £12.99, and if it was a few inches longer, it would definitely have found its way back to Fashion Police HQ!

Click here if you want to buy this, or take a look at the gallery below to see the other colours available.

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13 Comments

  • November 10, 2011

    Jaynie

    The thing about the sizing surprises me, actually. I’m between an 8-10 at H&M and a 10-12 elsewhere, and I can almost always guess what size I need at H&M based on the item (eg. skirts 10, tops 8). Maybe I’m just remarkably consistent and always choose items that are made by the same people who are therefore using the same sizing? The smaller size # might be a country difference, I guess…but surely not the consistency of sizing?

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  • November 10, 2011

    Madeline

    Same as Jaynie. I am actually really surprised by this review, since the sizing consistency is probably the best thing about H&M in my opinion. First off, it’s the only place i know where I’m safe with always picking the same sizes, without worrying about them not fitting. Dresses, skirts that fit me are always a size 38, pants 40. Second, i also get the feeling H&M actually uses vanity sizes, in the sense that if you wear size 10 elsewhere, you’ll be safe with 8 there. Maybe they have different sizing policies in different countries, depending on the supplier?

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  • November 10, 2011

    Lili @ Relatable Style

    Oh, pretty! Thank you for the review… Seeing the thumbnail, I was pretty sure that dress was going to be mine, but as we are the same height I think the dress will probably have about the same length on me. Things that suit me have to decide what they are – shirt or dress. Otherwise they just look stupid on me 🙁 So, no luck this time.

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    • November 10, 2011

      The Fashion Police

      Yeah, the obsession most retailer seems to have with making things super short is really annoying… I almost ordered this when I saw it on the website, but I’m glad I tried it on first because it’s so much shorter than I’m comfortable with 🙁

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  • November 10, 2011

    Emily

    H&M sizing is truly bizarre. I’m usually around a 14 in most shops, but have a dress from H&M that is a size 8, and a jacket that is a size 20. I usually have to take 3 or 4 different sizes to the changing rooms to make sure.

    You look lovely in that dress! I wish they’d make a slightly longer version because I tried it on, and loved the fit and how comfortable it was, but it barely even covered my, er, modesty :\

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    • November 10, 2011

      The Fashion Police

      I’m glad you said that, I was starting to think it must just me with everyone saying the sizing is spot-on for them! I do find it consistent with tops, but if it’s a dress or trousers I always have to try it on!

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      • November 10, 2011

        Madeline

        Now that i read more opinions, I’m pretty sure sizing varies on country, especially the country that actually makes the clothes. It’s possible that some stores get clothes made in factories from several countries, while others get clothes made in one place. Or it might just be a matter of good luck. It’s sad that what i thought was a major bonus point for H&M is more like a fluke. They should be consistent. Anywhoo, that dress is fabulous, and if you’re 5’4, it should be just the right length for the 5’3 me. Yeey 😀

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  • November 10, 2011

    Arielle

    Very flattering bodice on the dress, so it’s a shame about the skirt being so short (I never go for skirts or dresses that short, either).

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  • November 11, 2011

    Arlene

    Weirdly I am always a size down in H&M. I can order any size 10 from their online store and know it will fit. I wish I could say the same for others (looking at you Topshop!). So clearly you’re just odd Amber 😉
    On the subject of the dress – SO YOU! I hope you reconsider and go back and pick it up! xx

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    • November 11, 2011

      The Fashion Police

      Well, to be honest, I am quite weird, in my own special way 😉

      I did love the dress – if it was summer, I would probably have bought it to wear on holiday, but as it is, it’s just too short, sadly: such a shame!

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  • November 12, 2011

    Caitlin via Facebook

    I bought it today thanks to you! I sized up though (not much of a difference since it’s so stretchy) and it was longer than my normal size, which was pretty short. If you really like it, you could try that. I wouldn’t have thought it’d be that different, but it made a difference in my level of comfort.

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  • November 13, 2011

    Amy

    i’ve loved that dress at first sight but why retailers keep making tiny dresses. It’s the same issue everywhere.New Look, H&M, Topshop… all the skirts are so short! I mean are we supposed to stand all the time? because there is no way you could sit properly in those short dresses. All I want is a proper length.
    Anyway you look good in it!

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  • May 31, 2013

    Ashley R.

    Cool dress! They have this same one now at WetSeal.com
    http://www.wetseal.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=66651&productVariantId=427428&quantity=1′ defer

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