Style Files: Find Marc Jacobs at Target

Fashion columnist Claire Boston on big box stores’ best-kept secrets

Lately, CoMo’s rapidly changing weather has had me confused as to whether I’m dressing for summer or fall, but there’s a bright side: the weird weather is a good excuse to stock up my wardrobe.

Although Urban Outfitters and ModCloth usually satiate my online shopping desires, sometimes I’m looking for something a little different. Although I don’t usually frequent Target for clothing, sometimes I make an exception, because designer collaborations with affordable stores are basically the fashion gods’ gift to poor college students. If you’re looking to add some unique pieces to your wardrobe in the next few months, keep an eye out for these collections that won’t zap your savings account.

It’s hard to think of Target as the epitome of style, but the store has mastered the art of the perfect affordable designer collaboration. Under its now (sadly) defunct Go International line, it rolled out stylish collaborations with big names in the business like Proenza Schouler and Rodarte. A more recent partnership with Jason Wu garnered major hype and sold out in record time. Get excited for when Dec. 1 rolls around — in its next collaboration, Target has partnered with Neiman Marcus to release affordable items from 24 major designers.

Marc Jacobs, Tracy Reese and Diane von Furstenberg are just a few of the designers involved in the release, and although the items might be a little pricey for the average Target-goer (think $60 shirts and $100 dresses), they’re still steals compared to the designers’ standard lines. If you miss out this December, Prabal Gurung, another of the 24 designers, will release a full collection for Target in February.

Kohl’s may seem like the kind of chain that’s only good for stocking up on mom jeans, but it’s clearly trying to step up its style by following in Target’s footsteps. Kohl’s recently announced that they would be launching Design Nation, a designer collaboration label along the lines of what Target has been doing for the past five years. First up is Narciso Rodriguez, who reportedly drew inspiration from Istanbul for his line. Despite the fact that no pieces in the collection are over $150 (and most are significantly lower), the looks still show tons of Rodriguez flair — if you’re looking for one of his classic shift dresses or structural color-blocked pieces, be sure to check out the line when it hits stores Nov. 7. If Rodriguez doesn’t suit your style, keep an eye out for the upcoming Derek Lam collaboration, which is set to hit stores in the spring.

Surely one of the greatest tragedies of living in CoMo is that we lack an H&M. But if you’re headed home to a less deprived part of the country over Thanksgiving break, be sure to check out Maison Martin Margiela’s collaboration with the Swedish retailer, which hits stores Nov. 15. You can expect to see lots of Margiela’s signature monochromatic aesthetic and bulky layers in the collection, which might seem a bit avant-garde to the average college student. Still, it’s worth checking out the collection if only for the accessories — the oxblood wedge boots look particularly lust-worthy.

If you’d like to try your luck at snagging some high fashion looks at big box store prices, just be forewarned that collections sell out crazy quickly. For Target collections, the most high-profile of the bunch, you’ll definitely need to get to the store right around the time it opens, and don’t be fazed if there’s already a line. If you’re late but still after that one killer dress, try your luck at being a vulture—you might find what you’re looking for among the items that are coming back from the fitting rooms. And if all this sounds like way too much work, don’t despair. The great thing about designer collaborations is that they turn over fast — wait a few more months, and you’ll be able to find a new collection of looks you love that might just be a little bit easier to get your hands on.

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