I recently mentioned on Twitter that I could probably go an entire year wearing only clothes from Target. (Someone suggested I do it and I definitely would, but I know I’d end up doing more shopping than saving.)
Anyway, here is the thing about Target: their website sucks, this we know. Some of their stuff is hit or miss (like any discount retailer). The quality can be iffy, depending on what you get. So how do you know what to buy and what to leave behind?
Here are a few tips based on purchases I’ve made (or not made!) at Target:
- Casual staples, like sweaters or cardigans (like the $25 mustard cardigan above), can be had for a fraction of the price at other retailers. The fit is generally good and the quality comparable to higher priced options elsewhere.
- Look for trendy pieces, like this $20 animal print blouse. The quality is better than similar items in other trend-driven discount stores (like Forever 21) and these items are usually the first to head to the in-store clearance racks after a week or two.
- Target’s Mossimo Supply Co. and Xhilaration lines feature their lower-priced juniors items. To make things confusing, Target’s women’s line is also called Mossimo. To save money, try and find similar items to the Mossimo pieces in the juniors lines. For example, you can get women’s Mossimo skinny jeans for about $28-$30, but Mossimo Supply Co. skinny jeans usually cost about $22. (And frequently on sale for less than that.)
- Shoes are a crapshoot. I have two pairs of boots from Target that I love, but also have a few pairs of flats that have basically shredded my feet each time I’ve worn them. Any boot (ankle or tall) or any shoe with a wedge heel (sandals, boots, pumps) is a good buy. The ankle boots above are $35. During the summer, they have a great selection of sandals for about $10-$15 that I like. Stay away from flats, with the exception of their loafer flats, which I’ve found moderately comfortable. They’re not exactly like pillows of pure comfort for my feet, but for less than $25, I don’t expect that. I have narrow feet, but I’ve been told by friends that Target shoes (and especially their flats) run quite narrow, so keep that in mind.
- Accessories like hats and scarves are cheap and wearable.
- Their trendy jewelry is slightly more expensive than jewelry from other discount retailers like Forever 21 and H&M, but I think it’s slightly better quality too. (The bracelet above is $17.)
- I’ve had good luck with a few Target handbags over the years and they’ve expanded their online inventory to include options from affordable handbag designers like Melie Bianco (see above). With any handbag from a discount retailer, buy a neutral color (gray, brown, black or taupe) for a more expensive look.
- After seeing the last few designer collaborations at Target, I feel comfortable saying that at this point you should absolutely stay away from them until they hit clearance racks. There is no reason for you to spend anything beyond Target’s regular price range for something made to Target quality. (Ahem.) Besides the price point/quality issue, the last few collaborations have been underwhelming and poorly designed. (AHEM.)
- The Target Tissue Tees are offered with various sleeve lengths and necklines, but I like the long-sleeved crewnecks best. They’re less than $15 each and are great on their own or layered.
- Target has a decent selection of work-friendly pieces, but the strongest of these items are the dresses. Their trousers, pencil skirts and suits tend to look a little cheap, but that’s only because of the fit and the less expensive fabric. Ann Taylor, Banana Republic or Gap sale racks are a better bet for work attire, and if you can find an outlet version of these stores, all the better! When it comes to your work wardrobe at Target, look for dresses (the work-appropriate ones will be mostly by Target’s Merona line), blouses and cardigans.
- Target has a fantastic selection of inexpensive maternity clothes, but they’re usually hidden in the back of the store near the fitting rooms and can be off-putting on the hanger. They look even worse on Target’s website, but don’t give up! The prices are better than some overpriced maternity lines at other stores and you can get some great staples that will last you all 9 months. Look for work-appropriate dresses and casual tops/sweaters. Stay away from their maternity pants or jeans. For those items, head to H&M, Old Navy or Gap.
Good luck and happy shopping!