Target is such a great place to browse online and dream about the stylish new pieces for such low prices. There are so many designers now featured at Target and I love to see what they have to offer. I always think, why would anyone buy high-end when you can have these designs for less!
However when I browse through the store I often have a much different feeling. I touch the fabrics and I'm not usually impressed. The items are definitely hit or miss. One of the first designers to team up with Target was Isaac Mizrahi and his quality is usually very poor. The seams often have threads dangling and the sizing cut is sometimes pretty strange. The designs are pretty cute but when I've hauled pieces in the dressing room, I'm pretty sure I've never left with any of his items. Oh, there was a jean straight skirt that I had to leave behind shortly after buying it. I was informed that it was dowdy and must go, but besides that lapse in judgement, I've often been tempted but didn't take the bait.
Despite what it may seem, this is not a post to tell you that it's never good to buy at Target because it isn't. I've found a few cute and enduring items that were closet-worthy and I still have most of them. There is a red raincoat that I've had for probably 7 years and two pairs of wedges for about 5 years. Both of those items are Mossimo and I also have some stretchy, v-neck t's that I adore. The key to finding the gems is being super critical when you are buying. Online, everything looks good, so until you get it home, it's impossible to know what you are getting. If I see something online, I'll try to find it in the store first before purchasing. They have a lot of styles online that they don't have in stores so it doesn't often work, but after I go to the store and remind myself of the questionable quality, I always talk myself out of it.
So even if Target has it right in the design department, should we save money by buying cheaper materials and scrimping on craftsmanship? That is always the question I ask when I shop there. Look at the two shoes below. They are very similar and I'd go for one as well as the other.
Mossimo Veta Cut-out Flat Black Patent Retail $24.99
Cole Haan Aleta Patent Flat Retail $150
In the Gilt Group sale today was $64
Now that the economy is in this situation it got me thinking that shoppers may feel that they have no choice but to go with the best buy, which seems to be the cheaper option since design wise they are fairly similar. I'm not going to analyze the pros and cons of buying this particular shoe but want to talk about the bigger scale scenarios that I use in my life. The answer isn't cut and dry which of these shoes are better for you, but with everything I add to my wardrobe I ask myself a series of questions.
1. Know Quality: Shop in all the stores, not just the ones you can afford. It helps to be able to identify the difference in materials when you touch them. My fingers cringe at bad fabric!
2. Know Prices: You might be surprised the great deals you can find in a high-end store, especially right now. Would you buy the Target shoes when you could have gotten them today for $64 on Gilt.com sale?
3. Analyze the Wear: How well will this item wear with age? It's important to have durability in many items.
4. Price per Wear: How often will you wear it? Workhorses in your wardrobe are worth investing in because you wear them more.
5. Trend Factor: Don't pay a lot for a designer trendy item that will be so last season in the blink of an eye unless for you it can become a classic. For example, charm bracelets or scarves may be a trend to some, but become part of your signature look. That's ok!
6. Quality over Quantity: Need I even mention this? Yes! These shoes are case in point because if you reason that you can have the black shoes, green ones, red ones & yellow ones from Target for the price on one pair of Cole Haans, then really you might not be following this rule. If you like disposable clothes, then maybe this rule isn't for you anyway.
7. Patience: I don't buy so many things that I like because I'm waiting for that special, perfect item. I have a finite budget too and I'd rather be able to scoop up freely and without guilt when I find it.
I hope this post isn't too pedantic. I know many people already have their style and shopping MO finely tuned, but I think about younger girls who need to know how to shop well. I see them in Forever 21* and Charlotte Russe* with armloads of clothes that probably fall apart after one season. They probably don't want to spend their money on boring old basics or too much on one item when they can have more choices in their closet. It's fine when you are a teenager to do this, but when do you learn to shop well? Who teaches you as you get older if Mom's aren't teaching their daughters? I hope that this post helps someone to learn how to shop more wisely. God knows that with people losing their jobs and savings, this is a skill we all need to hone.
*Love these stores for a sparkly party top though.