Oh Target. Your pristine aisles of well-designed housewares, reasonably-priced necessities and chic designs instantly mesmerize the minute one breaches that popcorn-perfumed entryway. No one can resist your wiles. No one.
This magnetism goes double for Target's women's clothing section. GO International is Target's genius approach to stocking its shelves with affordable, well-established international designer togs and possibly hosting Consumerism's Next Stampeding Disaster. Every season, a new designer (greats like Alexander McQueen, Alice Temperley, and Libertine) takes charge of one season so fashion dabblers everywhere are drooling on their Louboutins to get their piece for an unheard of $34.99.
This is all well and good, but one thing we know about Target is that there is one in practically every city with a population above Target's Board of Directors. Everyone shops there. So any true stylophile should be wary of looking like they just walked out of a Target fitting room. It's almost like wearing the latest dress from GO International is akin to owning the cheapest couch from Ikea - instantly recognizable as such. So as tempting as Target's cheap designer pricing is, being patient, avoiding the stampede and following my advice will keep you from looking like you joined the Hipster Union and save you some money.
How to Shop at Target Without Dressing Like You Shop at Target
- Skip the Stampede. Unless there's some GO International featured designer that you've been craving since your days reading Seventeen, skipping the front displays and rooting your way through the clearance section at Target is always worth it. I've seen actual Target merchandise with tags still attached priced at thrift stores for more than their clearance tag indicates. I got my favorite cropped vest there for $3.99.
- Ever heard of an empire waist? Flattering, easy-to-pull-off, prevalent? Ever heard of Isaac Mizrahi? Well, the Maternity section is full of both: cute, timeless, designer, and often on sale.
- Suburban and small town Targets hide the best scores. If you're lucky/unlucky enough to live in a city that's not famous for its fashion scene, all the best (read: unboring) apparel will be marked down to almost nothing.
If not, make a point of stopping at Target in the tiniest towns when you're on a road trip. Although small town Targets won't be stocked with the latest and trendiest line by GO, some of their cute staple clothing might be marked way down and you can gloat about it to all your friends who paid full price.
- While the shoe section often leaves something to be desired, Target has the most mind-boggling selection of on-trend tights, socks of all lengths, statement bags, jewelry, sunglasses and watches. Go nuts. You have my permission. Resistance, after all, is futile.
While Target will always hold a warm space in the cockles of my soul, the last thing I want is for my personal style to be mass-produced and predictable. So, for the love of fashion, make your style your own... with just a little bit of help from Target, our beloved peddlers of good taste to the masses.