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Saturday, September 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 66.0° F  Fair
The Paper
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Runway fashions, bargain prices

52 West Towne Mall
10 am-9 pm Mon.-Sat., 11 am-6 pm Sun.

Did you make the $100 mistake of buying skinny jeans last season that really made you feel not-so-skinny? What about the $250 you shelled out for the fleece-lined, embroidered mukluk boots that are so last year? Fashion errors can be costly, 'tis true, but the new H&M store at West Towne Mall is to your rescue.

Hennes & Mauritz, the Swedish fashion powerhouse that's known for a rousing combination of cutting-edge trends and affordable prices, has made its way to Madison. "We set the trends, to some extent," says Lisa Sandberg, a representative of H&M. "If you see something hot on the runways, you're going to see it in our store right away."

On a Tuesday morning, the 15,000-square-foot store was a hotbed of activity, with shoppers perusing the various departments that appeal to career-oriented women, junior hipsters and even babies and children. (Sorry, men: No clothes for you at this outlet.)

What sets H&M apart? "People correlate low price with low quality," explains Sandberg. "That's not true with H&M. We indulge a person's passion for quality and fashion without breaking the bank."

Whew. Now you can test the trend waters without fear of missing your rent payment after overindulging in this season's nod to grunge. Rock out in a black, raw-edge tunic ($12.90) paired with red-and-black-striped trousers ($24.90) Ã la Blondie. Outfit your super-hip toddler in dark-rinse jeans ($24.90), and his edgy older sister in a military-inspired full-length wool coat ($59.90). Need a gift for the babysitter? Try a set of three plastic bangles in earth tones ($5.90), and you're the coolest mom yet.

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