Bien: The Recessionista Reviews Sonia Rykiel Knitwear for H&M

By  | 
Pictured: One of the pieces I loved, the sweater with the knit rosette for $34.99

This Saturday, Feb. 20th, the Queen of Knits (‘Reine du Tricot’) Sonia Rykiel debuted her knitwear collection for women and children at H&M stores around the globe. I so wanted to love this collection. On trips to Paris, I remember window shopping at Sonia Rykiel and wishing I could afford the pieces. The H&M collection has many of the trademarks of the original Sonia designs. Bright colors, seams on the outside of garments and printed words knitted into the pattern of the sweaters. The printed words are in French with sayings like “Mon Pull” which means “My Sweater” and “Mon Sac” or ” My Bag.” Its good to let people know that your clothing belongs to you in an elegant way, en francais right? 🙂

With high hopes of finding the pieces I wanted, I journeyed to two H&M stores and called other stores on the phone. But alas, my yen for Sonia Rykiel knitwear at an affordable piece has only been partially satisfied. (This really a good thing budget-wise, since I bought a little too much H&M Jimmy Choo ) For this review, I visited H&M San Francisco on Powell St. and H&M Beverly Center to shop the collection. Both stores told the same story. From what I saw, the collection came in sizes extra Small, Small and a few Mediums. There were few if any of the sweaters made in size L. According to sales staff, the few that were made sold in the blink of an eye as that was the most popular size. This is because the collection, with a few exceptions like the knit jumpers and pullover tunics, runs small. The sizing is definitely junior-sized in my opinion. And my opinion was shared by shoppers at both stores I visited. Shoppers voiced their opinion on the fit by leaving plenty of Sonia Rykiel on the racks. This was no Jimmy Choo style sell-out on day one in a few hours. Both stores had most of the pieces in sizes extra small to small, with a thimble full of mediums sprinkled about. The garments were left on the racks with plenty of stock. I went to H&M with my friend from Australia who was looking forward to shopping the collection, since there are no H&M stores in the land down under. She was also very disappointed in the fit and passed on the entire collection.

The original Sonia Rykiel store in Paris offers what I would call a form fitting, figure skimming knitwear look. However, from what I recall, the sweaters were the right length and did reach the waist or even skim a little below it for a comfortable fit. The original Sonia Rykiel designs were created when the designer was pregnant and wanted cozy knitwear designed for comfort. Not so the H&M Sonia collection. Most of the pieces seemed short waisted and too short to me. They would ride up on the wearer when in a sitting position. The cute striped sweaters with bow on the bodice or at the sleeves were very short cropped. The pieces that are a much longer are the striped jumpers, and they are actually oversized. In the jumpers, a medium is actually a large. And they are knee length. There is a pink and black striped tunic pullover that is generously sized with little rhinestones sewn onto it. Its very pretty, if you have the occasion to wear a sweater like that. For me, I would’ve liked it better without the stripes. There are lots of horizontal stripes in this collection. Horizontal stripes are not slimming for most wearers. Especially when they are yellow, purple and pink. A vision of John Belushi in his killer bee outfit flashed in my head when I saw the knit jumper with bright stripes. This is not supposed to happen when you look at Sonia Rykiel!!

Pictured: One of the few pieces in the collection with a roomy fit, this striped jumper is $29.99 US. I liked this piece, but I only saw one left in the store and it was too over sized for my taste. I found the last one, but ended up putting it back.

The shorts in the collection are very short, and again would ride up on the wearer when sitting. The skirts are mini skirts and might work best in winter with the knit leggings underneath them. The blazers in bright yellow and raspberry are very pretty, but also seemed miniature sized.
I wanted one of the brooches, but they were apparently the first thing to sell out. All that was left were the over sized chunky plastic bracelets. There were cute little knit handbags that were interesting. One has little rhinestone brooches on it and could be worn as an evening bag. Of the accessories, I loved the berets and the scarves. I did snatch up the raspberry beret and would’ve also bought the black one with rhinestones if I had occasion to wear it. The biggest surprise for me, and the best fit in my opinion, was the black and pink Sonia Rykiel ‘Reine du Tricot’ branded sweater. Although I was once told that it is bad taste to wear the name of your tailor on the outside of your garment, I fell in love with this sweater and could not resist it.

Pictured: Mon favoritie, the piece I did not set out to buy but loved. This sweater is $49.95 USD. I know its not a classic, but its cute.

From what I saw at the San Francisco H&M the children’s clothes were adorable and were selling briskly. The knitwear looked precious on little girls with no adult curves. There was also a darling little knit doll on display wearing the striped dress. The doll was completely sold out. Shame. I wanted that doll for my niece!

Pictured: The Sonia Rykiel H&M doll is a miniature of the designer and retails for $25.00 US.

In sum, the Sonia Rykiel H&M collection is a mixed bag. There are a many cute looking pieces, but overall, I don’t believe this will be as popular as other H&M collections due to the fit. The Sonia Rykiel buyer is not a tween. Most fashionistas who know who Sonia Rykiel is are a bit more mature and I think the collection should’ve been sized for them. There is still plenty of stock at many H&M stores, so you are not to late to try it on and see if it works for you. If it does not, check out individual listings for the high-end Sonia Rykiel line for less on eBay. There are some good deals to be found there.


Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.


  1. Shelley

    February 23, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Love H&M…but will they ever have an online store? When you live in a podunk city…like I do….the closest H&M is forever away.

  2. Petite Princess

    February 23, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Great review.

    A lot of the pieces in this collection are very dependent on your figure with some pieces being body hugging and some being oversized.

    I think this collection had no real target audience hence some people grabbing a broach and scarf then trying on the clothing.

    I’m a UK size 8 and I found the oversized pieces too big but the figure hugging dress perfect and picked up a beret and scarf.

    All in selected pieces from this collectiion are brilliant value esp the scarf however there’s a lot of pieces in the collection which are quite un wearable

    I also think the lookbooks scared a lot of people off in the way the range was represented.