When it comes to clothes, I am not a fashion-ni-sta… I’m a fashion-no-sta. I subscribe to the following criteria when it comes to what I wear: Cheap, comfortable, convenient, and clean…eh, tbh, close enough to clean.

I apply these rules to where I shop too. I can’t afford to shop at the full-price, name-brand places. I also can’t afford the time (this is privileged, white girl speak for “I’m too lazy”) to plow through the thousands of things at the outlet, thrift, or discount shops in order to find that holy grail of finds: the ONE name-brand item that is still in one piece, isn’t decorated with pit stains, lipstick, cigarette burns, or questionable substances, and is actually in my size.

So yes, I get my clothes at Target. It’s … well, close to clean. It’s definitely cheap. Until recently, they basically sold three types of clothes: fits fine, fits loosey-goosey, and fits super baggy, so they got a check plus for comfort. And it’s definitely convenient that I can pick up a pair of jeans and frozen green beans all in the same place.

Until recently.

Flashback to Flash Dance?

Almost overnight, Target changed. Target got weird.   

At first I thought it was me, not Target. Maybe I had changed. Maybe I had gotten old and frumpy and out of touch during the pandemic. The last dozen times I’ve been to Target, my mouth has dropped open behind my mandatory mask and I couldn’t help but wonder: “Is THIS what the kids are wearing these days?” (Take caution, by saying this phrase out loud, you have automatically signed yourself up for a bottle of Metamucil, dinner at 4, and an episode of Matlock before bed).

Do you all remember that Target had a throw-back thing going for a while? It started with the brand Knox Rose, who had a 60’s shabby-chic bohemian thing going. I actually liked a bit of their stuff. But with the popularity of that retro-style, Target seemed to decide to go full frontal across the decades and focus on the worst possible trends for each one.

The 1970s’, complete in all its gold lamé glory was the first time I ever left Target empty handed. Nary even a pair of knee-high ringed socks appealed to me. This is where I began to question my relationship with Target and wondered if Target still understood me, cared about my needs, even knew who I was anymore. I suspected Target was seeing other people. 

Then came the 1980’s with off-the-shoulder sweatshirts, legwarmers, and literal leotards you were supposed to wear as clothes.

You’d think we’d have made it to the styles of the 1990s at this point, but…  

We interrupt this very important rant to bring you a second, more pressing, very important rant: 


Target instead decided to venture into fabulous fashions that donned the runways of the wild west in the 1700s, because, of course they did.  

Pioneer Woman is a Cooking Show not a Fashion Icon.

Whenever I question something I see a mannequin or model wearing, I always turn to my friend who IS a fashionista for an explanation. She’s quite on top of things and can point out which celebrity influencer or style icon started this trend, why it works, what makes it flattering (or intentionally unflattering) and schools me in why it’s a “thing.”  

This was an actual, real text conversation between us during my trip to Target in January of this year:

Me:  WTAF is going on here? Have we been in quarantine so long that “Little House On the Prairie” is back in style??

Her: Sadly, yes. We will all die from dysentery.

Me: I’d rather die of dysentery than live in a world where this is fashion.

Her: That ain’t fashion, girl. That’s Target.

Enough said. And now back to our regularly scheduled rant:

What’s Old Doesn’t HAVE to be New Again.

And we’ve finally hit the 1990s. Yet, Target seems hyper-focused on only the hyper-horrible styles that came out of the 1990s. I mean the 90s were not THAT long ago. That was the one decade I gave a fig leaf about fashion because it was right up my alley. Flannel shirts, band t-shirts, ripped and baggy jeans, and minidresses with combat boots. That was my 1990s. So, why is Target featuring high-waisted jeans, patchwork denim jackets, and fanny packs? 

I’ll be honest. There are times I just swallow my Metamucil and accept the fact that I am old, and I won’t always understand fashion. For example, I was never a fan of maxi-dresses because you couldn’t convince me they were not just a pretty shower curtain. And I despised the trend of one-piece shorts sets that were big among millennials for about a year. I couldn’t help but see them as toddler rompers for grown-ups.

But to me, the worst is the one-piece jumpsuits. It’s a maxi-dress, with legs. Are we digressing so much that it’s too much work to put on separate pants and shirts? I get that folks are spending all day in their pajamas now, but I can’t help but wonder if these “pants suits” are designed with buttons under the crotch because they’re basically oversized onesies.

I would also like an explanation for the excessive amounts of shirts, hoodies, and sweaters Target has on display which seem to be missing their bottom halves. And JSYK? You cannot fix all fashion flaws simply by adding ruffles.

Again, maybe I’m just too old to understand fashion. Or maybe understanding fashion doesn’t matter as much as just having eyes.

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About Lily Winters

A full-time copywriter, Lilly Winters lives outside Washington, D.C. in a house full of animals—which include her husband and teenager. Under a different name, she’s written a book of short stories, a Young Adult novel, and was most recently published in Gravity Dancers. Lilly Winters isn’t posting her real picture because it’s possible she is currently wanted by the Mexican drug cartel. It’s also possible she watches too much Ozark.

View all posts by Lily Winters

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