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If You're Planning to Shop Balmain x H&M, Definitely Order Up a Size

This stuff runs really small.
Bella Hadid in Balmain for H&M. Photo: H&M

Bella Hadid in Balmain for H&M. Photo: H&M

The hype leading up to Thursday's Balmain for H&M collaboration launch has reached a fever pitch — just ask the men and women who have been lined up outside of the retailer's stores since early Wednesday morning in hopes of getting their hands on a piece of Olivier Rousteing's accessibly priced range. I'm not a fan of camping, but the folks at H&M were kind enough to send a piece of the collection over to Fashionista HQ so I could try it on and get a sneak peek before the full line hit shelves. 

I chose the above look — a black velvet dress with chunky, braided rope detailing worn on the runway by Bella Hadid — and I was impressed with the quality, even compared to past H&M designer collaborations. That said, the dress also ran much smaller than I expected. I normally wear a 4, and my size 8 Balmain for H&M dress fits like a (very snug) glove, especially around the bust. According to the retailer's site, most pieces from the collection go up to a size 12, but this range goes by Balmain's sizing guidelines — which may mean those on the higher end of the sizing spectrum won't be able to find something that fits.

In order to see if this piece was particularly body-con, I called up H&M customer service, and the representative was advised to tell customers to go up one full size — although I did go up two. (In addition, an anonymous menswear shopper emailed us regarding his own correspondence with an H&M customer service rep, who claimed that the range does indeed run small, adding that "since this is a designer collection, it's normal for sizing to not be available to everyone.") Finally, I reached out to H&M's reps for their sizing suggestions, but did not immediately receive a response.

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It's no secret that a couple of the Swedish retailer's past designer collaborations have run super-small (Versace comes to mind first), but consider my experience a PSA for your Balmain for H&M shopping adventures on Thursday. Good luck!