Monday, September 16, 2013

Phillip Lim for Target (review)

My favorite piece: this fun 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target Boom! sweatshirt.

Call me a die-hard fashionista. I was one of those style fans who forsook my cozy bed on a sleepy Sunday morning to get an up-close look at the latest highly-anticipated Target + designer marriage. 

Unlike my New York and Los Angelean counterparts, here in Cleveland there was no hysteria and no lines to check out the 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target collection. I giddily breezed in around 8:45 (Target opens at 8 on Sunday) and was surprised to find just a gaggle of shoppers. But everyone was on a mission: snap up Lim.

One guy had his shopping cart filled with every style and color of Lim's line of handbags. "This is gonna be great on eBay," he gloated to his wife. A few women were on their phones, describing goods and taking orders (by 9 a.m., many items had already sold out online). Another fashionista made her poor mother follow her around the store as she piled blouses, dresses, trench coats and purses into her cart.

I surveyed the collection, touched the clothing, ran my fingers over the beading, looked closely at the stitching in the handbags.

In three words: a bit underwhelming. 

Now, I'm a big admirer of Lim's work. He is an undeniably talented designer and his main collection is gorgeous, imaginative and has vision. 

Maybe it feels different if I actually try it on. I had to at least wear Lim before I made a final decision. First was the navy/kelly green pullover ($34.99) paired with the silky animal print skirt ($29.99). Then my favorite, the Boom sweater dress with attached flared skirt ($44.99). Followed by a black and white drop-waist dress ($44.99). 

I think all the looks here had great potential. But I couldn't get over the quality.
Though my favorite was the Boom sweater dress with attached flared skirt, the
sweater was too boxy (p.s. please forgive the beat-up Converse sneakers,
which obviously don't go with any of these outfits). 

I couldn't get over what was lacking in quality. Everything made in China (no surprise) with cheap materials (rayon, nylon, polyester). And the cut. Boxy, no shape, unflattering. Of course, if you're 5"10 and rail-thin like the models in the lookbook, then boxy looks drapey. But on my 5'1" frame, boxy = frumpy. Perhaps I am not the target market. What do you think?    

As you can see here, I wasn't wearing the trench,
it was wearing me. And this was a size small!

You would think a simple trench coat would be a no brainer. Classic, elegant, a wardrobe staple. Unfortunately, this one ($79.99) felt like a paper bag. Horribly stiff. I'd rather save up and get the real deal.  

I was super excited about this sweatshirt. Then I tried it on and felt dumpy.

I was the most excited about the Boom French Terry sweatshirt ($29.99). I love the old-school comic book-inspired graphic emblazoned across the front. Very super hero.  

I won't go into length about the handbags, which is the hot item everyone wants to get their paws on. They are close cousins of Lim's Pashli line of satchels and at $34.99-$54.99 it sure beats the $895 price tag of the real thing. 

Exhibit A (left): Target tote with gusset ($54.99). Exhibit B (right): the Pashli ($895).

It's haute couture available to the masses. High fashion for the everyday person. Thanks to these designer-megastore collaborations, what was once aspirational is now available.

As I close in on my 40s, I'm no longer interested in the cheap fashion thrills I welcomed in my post-college and 30-something years. I want style with substance. Pieces that will stand the test of time. I'd rather have a smaller repertoire filled with quality fabrics, hand-stitching and greater attention to detail.

In the end, I walked away from Target yesterday with liquid Drano and laundry detergent. 

As for Limsanity? I'm saving up for 3.1.