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By now, you all have noticed how much I have incorporated products from H&M into my wardrobe. From my every day life, to wearing their pieces at Charleston Fashion Week, H&M has helped push my fashion boundaries. You guys have heard me talk about “fashion boundaries” in previous posts. I did not really define my style until 9th or 10th grade when I became the well dressed preppy boy. Everyone knew no matter where I went I would always be in a collared shirt and there would be lots of pastels involved. The same style continued into my years at college, a private liberal arts college known for the “preppy” sense of style. Once I arrived in Charleston, it was clear to me that there was so many great lines and designers that I was missing out on by putting myself in this bubble.

Now, I know what you all are thinking, “Isn’t Charleston known for their preppy style?” The answer, yes and no. Charleston may have that stereotype about the style here, but there are so many others and stylish people in this city that should have more light shined on them. I also noticed how versatile everyone was with their style here in Charleston. As I met more people and paid more attention to people on the streets, I wanted to push out of the bubble everyone recognized me for and explore new styles. With the help of several bloggers and the encouragement of some friends, I started my journey into expanding my sense of style.

So this left me with the question, “Where to begin?” *Insert smiling sweaty emoji* I did not want to spend an arm and a leg on exploring a style that I was not even sure that I would continue. After some research, I decided I would check out H&M. A retail store known for carrying a variety of different collections for men, women, and children. H&M focuses on design, quality, and sustainability. When it comes to price, H&M wants to always offer inspiring fashion with unbeatable value for money. I knew this would be the perfect place to push my fashion boundaries.

Let me show you how we got to where we are today…

It all started back when I relaunched my blog here in Charleston with my 4th of July photo-shoot. I wanted more tailored clothing without the tailored clothing price. I popped into the H&M store on King Street in the Fashion District of Charleston just days before my shoot. With an open mind, I was surprised to find a great fitting blazer, a great pair of white denim, a button up and the perfect nautical knit.

 Months later, I decided to try H&M again. I had just purchased the perfect pair of slippers and wanted to wear them to the reopening of M. Dumas & Sons. i was a little hesitant for some reason, but decided to stick to my “preppy boy” roots and go with a nautical look. I purchased this ***Shawl collared knit*** and wore it to the opening.  

 Over the next couple of weeks after the Dumas & Sons Opening, I kept my eye on H&M for winter pieces that I could incorporate into my closet. We all remember the H&M Commercial featuring David Beckham and Kevin Hart. The grey sweater with the camel stripes across the chest had to be mine. A couple days after viewing the commercial, I found myself in H&M picking up more than just the sweater. Winter had arrived in Charleston and I was ready to pick up plenty to keep warm and trendy. Anything in the camel color had become my obsession. Along with the sweater, I purchased a camel scarf and found my signature winter top coat. The black coat was an impulse purchase, but it fit me like a glove and most importantly was the perfect length for me. You all will remember this top coat  from me wearing it to Dandy Boutique’s Fall & Winter Fashion Show at Ro Sham Beaux.

 This image is still my most liked photo on Instagram to date. Yes, I am still obsessed with the black sofa.

I also wore the coat and “David Beckham sweater” to Bloggers Night Out at the new Spectator Hotel….along with some light grey pants I picked up at H&M hours before the event, due to a wardrobe malfunction haha. Our Squad pictures for the evening turned out incredible. 

 I can not remember exactly when I picked up my next piece from H&M, but I do know that I wore it to the awesome opening party for Shop Taxidermy. They charcoal suit with black trim around the lapels was a hit that night! I dressed it up with an Hermes Belt and a Dior tie. It looked like a custom made suit I had spent hundreds of dollars on and waited weeks for it to arrive…but really I had just spent a couple hours trying on suits (and under $150 at H&M) until I found the perfect fit and color.

I later also wore this suit and the outfit I had worn to the Spectator Hotel in my collaboration with Charleston Place and Baker Motor Company.

As the new year came, my contributor and I were returning from the Holidays and ready to pick back up. For weeks, I had been eyeing a house on lower King Street that I knew had to be a backdrop for a photo-shoot. I just knew that the outfit I would need for this shoot would have to be completely different than anything I had done before. Up to this point I had played it safe with some of my H&M purchases, it was time to do something I had never done before. It was also time for another H&M shopping trip. I picked up a turtle neck, a pair of pants, and matched them with my top coat to produce my first ever monochromatic black look. This was definitely pushing my fashion boundaries as I did not really own anything black until my top coat, much less an entire outfit. Our images from “The Boys are Back” in collaboration with Taxidermy incorporated several of the H&M pieces that I had purchased over the previous months.  

Fast forward to March and my collaboration with DSW and our promotional shoot for the in-store event. I purchased another full monochromatic look for the shoot. As olive was the color of the season, it was the way to go! Both my button down and pants came from H&M as well as my khaki jogger pants & white denim. I was definitely getting good use out of all the H&M pieces I had accumulated. 

March was a month full of SO MUCH, but most importantly, myself and @misstarabelle were heavily involved and working closely with Charleston Fashion Week to bring our collaboration, “The Belle & The Bow.” Our theme for the promotional images and for fashion week was exactly what I had been focusing on, “Breaking Fashion Boundaries.” We not only wanted to show that fashion week is more than people dressed up and runway looks, but to also challenge myself to wear outfits I had never tried before. Tara was so influential in this process and, obviously, with her sense of style, there was no one better to help.

An important part of my wardrobe is to always be able to use pieces in versatile ways. I did this with my H&M charcoal suit. I first combined the grey trousers from the suit with a tan H&M blazer for the fashion week social media takeover party.

 Tara and I also threw “The Belle & The Bow Bash” at Grand Bohemians restaurant and rooftop Eleve. For the invite and promotional images for the bash, I paired the same suit trousers with one of my first ever H&M purchases, the blue blazer (from my 4th of July shoot).  

When Charleston Fashion Week finally came around, I wore H&M pieces several times. Opening night, I paired the grey suit trousers with my Taxidermy black python cape. Later that week, I had Ike Behar of Charleston dress me and I also wore a pair of H&M light khaki pants. On the night of IBU Movement, I paired H&M black leather pants and button up with a black leather pocket slit and my IBU Shawl. Then, I paired my first pair of light wash denim from H&M with a look by one of the emerging designers, Jessica Fulk. Finally, I paired my H&M Jogger pants with a white H&M short sleeve button up, and an H&M black moto jacket.

 Behind the scenes of all this, I was developing an H&M series of my own. I was constantly getting questions about my outfits and how much my clothes were. It was time to share my little secret…and in the best way possible. The goal of this series was to show how several H&M pieces could be combined to make trendy and interchangeable outfits. The challenge, using only $100 to provide at least 9 looks. These have to be some of my favorite images that I’ve done thus far.

 My most recent venture with H&M was for my 23rd Birthday photo-shoot. I paired my H&M suit trouser pants with a white tuxedo jacket. The clothes was accompanied by 23 bottles of Verve Clicquot Champagne. For my second outfit, I paired my leather pants with a black blazer with leather lapels and the same black button up with the leather pocket. The black monochromatic outfit was all from H&M, minus the bow tie and shoes.

Through this photographed journey, you can definitely see the progression of style and varied trends. H&M will continue to provide pieces that many will covet and collaborate for limited edition lines with designers to offer a chance at luxury items to their customers. I will continue to visit their stores to add more pieces to my closet in order to continue challenging myself and surprising you all with new looks. I am proof that you can switch your style up every once in a while and H&M can help you do it at a great price with quality items. What are you waiting for? Visit them now!

About author / The Bow Tie Gent

The gent behind the bow tie goes by Louis, a 27-year old recent Charleston transplant to Birmingham, AL. In a town with only a handful of male bloggers, Louis brings his refined style with a hint of big city living.  The Bow Tie Gentleman is a digital spot to interact, inspire, and influence.... Welcome to the Bow Tie Gentleman!