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July 28, 2018

Wild Fable at Target Review

Target's been on a roll lately with the introduction of several exclusive new brands, and this season there are big changes in store in the clothing departments - namely, the introduction of Wild Fable for Juniors and Original Use for young men. Being a frequent Target guest, I happily stumbled upon the early launch of Wild Fable this weekend. In my store, it appeared to replace the Xhilaration line, as I didn't see any Xhilaration products left in the department (it was all on the sale racks). Although the advertised launch date of Wild Fable is August 3, I'll be sharing my thoughts on fit, value, and quality in this early shopping review so that you know what to expect when shopping online or in stores, especially as the back-to-school season begins.

My first impression of the collection was an abundance of '90s inspiration, trendy basics, plaid prints, stripes, crop tops, sportsleisure, and distressed denim. Think Cher Horowitz, Saved by the Bell, or Spice Girls and you get the idea. Fabrics are mainly lightweight polyester and rayon, while sizing is similar to Xhilaration and Mossimo Supply Co. (It runs small, so when in doubt, go up a size.) If I had to compare Wild Fable to another brand, it reminded me of H and M's Divided line or even Urban Outfitters. Good news for your wallet - everything is under $40. The collection includes plus sizes up to 26, but my store did not carry them. 

wild fable target launch

So. Much. Plaid.

wild fable target clothing launch

Here are my top picks:



Below, a look at my store's selection. The yellow plaid matched set (cropped top, $18 and skort, $20) screams Clueless

wild fable target clothing review

The visuals remind me of shopping at Topshop in terms of graphics, mannequin styling, and cross merchandising.

wild fable target clothing

wild fable target review

Denim Sizing Notes

These $20 high rise skinny jeans run big. I'm usually a size 0 or 2 in denim at Target and the 2 was slightly big, with some stretch. These $22 high rise mom jeans (above on the right) run small in the waist, so I got a size 4. Both styles are selling out quickly in the two stores I visited.

Shop these looks:

 wild fable target review

wild fable target mini skirts

Shop mini skirts and casual tops:

wild fable target clothing review

In terms of value, the low-priced line is aimed at budget-conscious teens and twenty-somethings, and heavily features synthetic fabrics. To make the sheer polyester and lightweight rayon pieces last longer, I'd wash them on the gentle cycle and tumble dry low or lay flat to dry. At first glance, quality appears similar to Mossimo Supply Co. or Xhilaration, and a step below Who What Wear.

wild fable target clothing review

Distressed trucker jackets, micro tops, and black-and-white prints are de rigueur in the Wild Fable collection. There are endless opportunities for layering, especially when sweater weather arrives. if you're a fan of short skirts and dresses, then rejoice, this line is for you. Not a midi length in sight!

wild fable target clothing review

Shop jackets and tops:


wild fable target clothing review

Shop a wide selection of Wild Fable accessories:

If you're like me and you lived through the '90s, then you may be less enthusiastic about revisiting some of these trends. I may make an exception for some of the destructed mom jeans, cropped tees, and sportswear. 

This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if purchases are made by clicking links.

Watch this space for more shopping updates and photos in the coming weeks and keep up with me on social @thekeytochic.

Shop more pieces by Wild Fable:




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June 4, 2018

Who What Wear Collection at Target Summer Looks

Browsing the Who What Wear collection at Target is one of the things I look forward to on each Target run. I know that I can count on the brand for chic takes on seasonal trends, quality fabrics, and even pieces that are outside of my comfort zone. The Who What Wear collections seem to get better each season. Every trend is represented for summer 2018 right here: ruffles, off-the-shoulder, saturated florals, tropical prints, neutral hues, embellished mules, stripes, paper bag waists, bold brights, you name it. There's something for everyone.

If you follow me on Instagram (@thekeytochic), you may see my favorite finds popping up in my stories. There are so many must-haves in this collection that I thought they deserved their own blog feature so I'm sharing some of the new summer 2018 items that have caught my eye, along with styling ideas. 

who what wear collection tropical stripe wrap dress

The mini wrap dress ($32.99) has flirty ruffle details, a waist tie, and is made of casual, lightweight rayon. There's also a black and white polka dot print. It's ideal for wearing with mules or slide sandals such as these

who what wear collection summer 2018

These wide leg crop trousers were featured in Aimee Song's "Aimee on a Budget" video, and they look much more expensive than their $32.99 price tag. They run true to size and are well tailored. They also come in olive green and would look amazing with this eyelet blouse and these polka dot heels from the collection. 

who what wear collection summer 2018

I've recently become obsessed with paper bag waists, so this belted paper bag skirt ($27.99) came home with me in black. It's perfect for tucking your favorite top into, and the crisp cotton fabric is flattering. The only downside is a lack of pockets. 

who what wear collection summer 2018

There are an array of dresses in the summer collection, and what I like about many of them is that they're made of cotton, making them look more expensive, but more importantly, they are breathable and comfortable in hot weather. 

who what wear collection summer 2018

The tiered maxi dress ($39.99) is made of cotton and also comes in bright blue. I'd wear it with a colorful woven belt and espadrille wedges. The flutter sleeve midi wrap dress on the right ($32.99) is a top pick. The cut is flattering on many body types, and it's easy to dress up or down depending on your footwear and accessories. It also comes in green and is made of a satin-y polyester. I bought it in floral and I plan to style it with black strappy sandals, white sneakers, or even studded ankle boots. 

who what wear collection crochet fringe bag

The Thread crossbody bag ($27.99) is a nice neutral that goes with almost everything. The summery fabrication makes it a cute pick for casual weekends.

who what wear collection summer 2018

The striped asymmetrical midi skirt ($29.99) is trend-forward and office appropriate, and has a matching tie-front top ($27.99). Wear it with these bow accent heels ($37.99) from the collection for maximum impact. 

who what wear collection summer 2018

The belted Bardot mini dress pictured above and below ($32.99) runs slightly big. I'm wearing a small and it was loose around the shoulders. I adore the waist tie and fun ruffle hemline. It is made of crisp cotton with spandex and also comes in two floral prints. It's a nice option for a casual summer wedding or dinner date.

who what wear collection blue ruffle dress

Shopping tip: some of these pieces may be on sale at your local Target. Selection and discounts vary by store. In search of sale scores, I always reserve some time to scour the sale racks and check the Target app for Cartwheel discounts. 

This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if purchases are made by clicking links.

Keep up with my shopping finds on social media @thekeytochic. 

August 6, 2018 update - Shop the latest arrivals for fall 2018:



Shop the Who What Wear collection:

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May 28, 2018

Uniworld Remarkable Rhine River Cruise Review

Earlier this month, I traveled from Basel to Amsterdam on a Uniworld river cruise called Remarkable Rhine. It was my third time traveling with Uniworld, so I knew the views would be incredible, the excursions would be well planned, and the food would be in abundance. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you may recall my Uniworld Delightful Danube review or my Venice and Po River cruise review

Rather than review the day-by-day itinerary, I'll share some highlights and lessons learned, starting with how to pack and the weather. In my experience, the weather can vary widely in Europe during early May, so I brought a rain jacket, a puffer, and lots of light layers that were wrinkle resistant. On the trip, I experienced warm and sunny days in Germany, a cold and rainy day in Basel, chilly weather sailing through the Upper Middle Rhine Valley while on the deck of the River Empress, as well as cold temperatures (by my California standards) Amsterdam. The ironing board on the ship left much to be desired, so I was happy to leave my cotton and linen tops at home. 

Basel Switzerland metal butterflies

The journey began in Basel and worked its way north, ending in Amsterdam, where I extended my trip for two days without Uniworld. I stayed at the Doubletree by Hilton Centraal Station, which had an incredible breakfast buffet with dim sum, granola, fresh fruit, yogurt, lots of bread, scrambled eggs, salsa, nut butters, and almost anything else you could imagine. I'd stay there again because it was quiet, comfortable, and had a convenient location. The room was small but modern and minimal in design, with the only downside being a small armoire instead of a real closet. Now on to the other parts of the trip.

The charming architecture, lush parks, and adorable food shops (sausage, cheese, and sweets) in Strasbourg, France captured my heart. I hope to visit again someday. I bought a few tiny chocolate treats from the shop below, as well as some beauty products from the French pharmacies. Fashion note - I also shopped at my favorite French stores: Galeries Lafayette, Promod, and Monoprix. Strasbourg is a busy but bike-friendly city, which also makes it more endearing to me.

Strasbourg France chocolate shop

Some of the beauty products I got:



The Romanesque cathedral in Speyer, Germany was gorgeous, and after a brief walking tour, I had a chance to bike around the town, browse the busy local flea market, and enjoy the warm weather. Speyer is a walkable town with friendly locals and stunning architecture.

Speyer Germany cathedral

Speyer Germany tour

Shop my style:



My favorite part about waking up on a Uniworld cruise is the breakfast buffet, and most of all, the Swiss Bircher muesli. I don't know exactly what they put in there, but breakfast is my favorite meal, and the muesli is addictive. It's rich, slightly sweet, and very satisfying. Breakfast began at 7:30 each day, and since I woke up at 5 or 6 due to jet lag, I hit the gym for a pre-breakfast workout almost every morning.

Uniworld muesli breakfast buffet

Morning strolls on the deck were another way to enjoy the views and get some fresh air before touring each city.

Uniworld River Empress deck

castles along the Rhine River

The best part about being on the Remarkable Rhine cruise was seeing the many castles along the Rhine. I've seen this part of Germany before, but I didn't miss the chance to brave cold temperatures on the deck for another shot of this romantic, surreal scenery. It's so picturesque and charming. Everywhere you look there are vineyards, crumbling castles, and adorable villages worthy of a fairy tale. Uniworld tip - enjoy a hot cup of tea or coffee on the deck for this stretch of the trip. 

castles along the Rhine River views

Many thanks to the kitchen staff on the River Empress for graciously fulfilling my healthy eating requests, including this tasty fruit plate that I had before dinner. Meal note - dinners usually began at 7 or 7:30, so there are long gaps between meals (6-8 hours), which I'm not used to. I prefer to eat small, healthy meals every 4-5 hours, so by the time dinner came around, I was ravenous. The figs were quite delicious.

Uniworld Fruit Plate

A memorable hike to the Castle Stahlek in Bacharach, Germany offered breathtaking views in addition to being great exercise. Our hiking guide was actually an expat from Indiana who married a Scottish woman and bought a country house in which to raise his family. A walk through the small town of Bacharach was fun, and I capped off the enjoyable day by buying some Birkenstocks (when in Germany, right?) as well an a tiny pistachio ice cream cone for €1 . 

Bacharach Germany

How pretty are these gardens in Bacharach? Any vacation that combines exercise with great views and a guided tour is my favorite way to travel. The main downside to a river cruise is having to back on board the ship at a set time in order to depart for the next destination. The upside is that you have at least two tours to choose from each day, and you're never bored. If you like having tours and excursions planned in advance, river cruising is the way to go. 

Bacharach Germany houses

I enjoyed an early morning walk around Cologne, Germany with its historic architecture, empty restaurants, and warm weather. Since I am a fashion blogger, it would be irresponsible of me not to mention how good the shopping is in Cologne. They have a pedestrian shopping district (Hohe Strasse and Schildergasse) with cute eateries, department stores, and many of my high street favorites such as Mango, Zara, Bershka, Primark, and the like. This is a fashion city and it's where I spent most of my euros. Food note - large, tasty sandwiches and fruit cups are easy to procure in Cologne. They are also inexpensive and a healthy way to eat when you're on the go. 

ColognGermany

Our guide brought us to a visit to the Jewish cemetery in Frankfurt, where Mayer Rothschild is buried. It was a quiet Sunday morning in Frankfurt, so unfortunately, everything was closed except for a cafe or two. On the upside, there was no traffic in the city. The weather was mild, and I'm so glad it didn't rain. Uniworld travel tip - they offer special Jewish heritage tours, which I highly recommend. They are different from Uniworld's "do as the locals do" tours and offer special insight into Jewish history and culture which is a memorable way to learn things and experience a new place. This cemetery was a travel highlight on this trip and offered peaceful moments of reflection.

Frankfurt Jewish cemetary

The head chef on the River Empress prepared salmon and steamed vegetables specifically for me every night in my effort to avoid fried, buttery food. I owe him a huge thank you for his hard work. On Uniworld, they spend a lot of effort to make their travelers happy, especially with the food. Breakfast and lunch are over-the-top buffets, but dinner is a five course, 2-3 hour sit-down affair each night. Expect lots of fried food and butter. Sticking to my healthy eating habits, I had a salad for lunch each day. I even managed to drop a few pounds on this trip, so my skinny jeans are not feeling so tight. 

Uniworld River Empress salmon dinner

Towards the end of the trip, the pastry chef bakes an itinerary cake, and they also have a chocolate fountain at the lunch buffet. I've found that it's harder to resist temptation at the end of the trip. I definitely sampled the fountain by dipping some strawberries into the chocolate for a somewhat healthy treat. 

Uniworld Remarkable Rhine itinerarycake

Below, a visit to the Houseboat Museum in Amsterdam. I highly recommend getting the I Amsterdam city card if you plan to visit the city for more than two days. It gives you access to many museums and public transportation, which makes it easy to get around and do more. The weather in Amsterdam was in the low 50's, making my puffer jacket an obvious answer to what to wear. Travel tip  - beware the thousands of cyclists as you make your way around the city. They have the right of way so look both ways before you cross a street, bike lane, tram tracks, or canal. They will slow down if they see you, but it's better to cross when it's clear. 

Street style notes - I like watching people and tracking trends when I visit a new city. In Amsterdam, the outfit of choice for young women often included high-waisted skinny or straight jeans, moto jackets, and heritage sneaker brands such as Puma, Fila, or Vans. Almost nobody wears a bicycle helmet. I noticed that the women wear their hair natural, and Gucci seemed to be the designer of choice for handbags and on-trend belt bags. What surprised me was the ease with which they ride their bikes (even with babies perched on handlebars or in baskets), while texting on their phones, listening to music, and pedaling with intention on their way to work or school in the chilly weather. 

Amsterdam Houseboat Museum

Food notes - as popular as French fries with mayonnaise are in Amsterdam, it's still easy to eat healthy. There are an abundance of healthy grocery stores, juice shops, and trendy eateries with organic or vegan options. I found the Albert Heijn markets to be convenient, with good produce selections, fresh salads, and an intriguing assortment of healthy, non-sugary cereals and granola bars. Next time, I'm leaving room in my suitcase for boxed grocery items that can't be found in the United States. 

The most memorable place to see in Amsterdam for me was the Anne Frank House. Tip: buy tickets online ahead of time and tuck your cameras away because they're strict about not taking photos or videos inside. It's a very well-designed museum with state-of-the-art audio commentary in each room. The stairs are quite steep inside, and once you're in the various rooms, it's a moving, surreal experience to be in the same room where Anne Frank shared her hopes and thoughts. 

Anne Frank house Amsterdam

This post is not sponsored. This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated from purchases made by clicking links.

Travel Notes

I flew KLM to and from Amsterdam on this trip, and I have to mention how impressed I am with their customer service, the politeness of the airline attendants, and how frequently they passed out beverages and hot towels. On my flight home, the attendant addressed me by my last name, offered me more water than I could drink, and went out of his way to make it a comfortable, pleasant journey. I'd fly KLM again in a heartbeat.

If you haven't done a river cruise, but you're interested, know that there's no sea sickness like on a big ocean cruise. You almost can't tell that the ship is moving, and there are far fewer passengers than on a large cruise ship. The River Empress holds about 130 passengers, 41 staff, and has 65 cabins. If you're like me and you're younger than the target market for river cruises, Uniworld recently launched U by Uniworld, with cool excursions and itineraries aimed at travelers ages 21 to 45. 

Style Notes

I packed my most comfortable pieces for this trip, as well as things that were easy to layer and required little ironing. I'm wearing Old Navy Rockstar skinny jeans, Tucker for Target black floral blouse (sold out), Adidas Gazelle sneakers, Gucci belt, Monoprix white eyelet blouse (similar top for $45), Kate Spade Cobble Hill bag (current season version) and Birkenstock Arizona sandals.

To book the Doubletree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station, check out the rates on Expedia.

Shop my vacation style and travel favorites:









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April 23, 2018

How to Shop Moschino for H&M #HMoschino

Not to be outdone by the recent buzz surrounding the Hunter for Target launch (or debacle), fast fashion giant H&M has announced it's next big designer collaboration, this time with Moschino, whose Creative Director is Jeremy Scott. Expect to see signature Jeremy Scott touches including pop culture references, cartoons, and bold use of color. He describes it as "humor meets haute couture meets the street."

Get inspired by Moschino spring/summer 2018:






As the big day nears, you're going to want to have your shopping game plan ready. Having shopped many designer collections over the years, I've learned a few lessons. I'm sharing my shopping tips for how to shop the Moschino for HM collection both online and in stores.  

Mark your calendars and set your reminders for Thursday, November 8. 

Here's a preview of the #HMoschino collection worn by Jeremy Scott and Gigi Hadid at Coachella.

HMoschino Gigi Hadid, H&M Moschino preview

The Online Strategy

1. Learn the lookbook. Once the lookbook is released, study it carefully to select your favorites, get outfit inspiration, research the sizing, choose colorways, and check the prices. 

2. Play favorites. Make a Pinterest board, list, or collage of your favorites to help you stick to your budget and prioritize your potential purchases.

3. Know when and how to shop. In the U.S., these collections launch online in the morning at a designated time. In the U.S., they usually launch online at 8AM EST. Unfortunately, the website has crashed in the past. Be extra prepared by using more than one web browser, mobile device, etc. Refresh your browser often and have patience. Expect some glitches and be persistent. Remember that patience is key. (If I was forced to choose between shopping online and in store, I'd shop in store. This allows you to try things on, see the sizing, and not have to deal with website glitches.) 

4. Save your info. As the time to shop online approaches, log onto hm.com and have your checkout and payment details saved ahead of time. Clear your cart of any old items in order to streamline the checkout process. This reduces the chances of having your cart emptied of any out-of-stock items before you can click the "complete order" button.

5. Click quickly. Shop your top pick(s) first and submit your order right after placing in your cart. Do not shop and fill up your cart. Why? Once an item is in your cart, it's not reserved for you. In order to avoid an item being removed from your cart because it's already sold out, you need to click quickly and complete your order! That's why I create a prioritized wish list and try to buy my top picks first. Online purchases are limited to one item per style per person.

6. Stay social. Check social media channels such as Twitter and Instagram using #HMoschino for up-to-the-moment shopping updates, product info, and to connect with other shoppers. Find me on Snapchat, TwitterFacebook, and Instagram @thekeytochic for shopping photos, sizing info, and more. 



HampM-Store

The In-Store Strategy

1. Know where to go.  Plan your shopping well in advance. I've overheard people calling in sick to work just so they could get in line and shop. As of this writing, there's lot of time to plan before the November 8 launch. Be ready to stand in line on Wednesday night or early Thursday morning (see just how early in #3.) Once it's published, use the store locator to find the stores near you that'll stock the #HMoschino collection.

2. Phone it in. Be extra prepared by calling your local store the week before the launch to confirm if they'll carry the collection and ask them exactly where you should line up to shop.

3. Be an early bird. You know what they say about the early bird. Stores open at 8am (instead of 10am) on launch days. I've found in the past that if I arrive by 4am or earlier, then I'm able to get into the first or second shopper group. For example: for Lanvin, I arrived in line around 3am and I was #65 in line. For Marni, I arrived around 2am and was #27 in line (after several friends of shoppers arrived and took cuts in front of me.) For Isabel Marant, I arrived before 4am and lucky for me, I was in the first shopper group. For Margiela and Balmain, I was lucky enough to able to shop the fashion editor preview parties the night before the launch. For Kenzo and Erdem, I shopped online with relative ease.

4. Play the waiting game and respect the line. For people wanting to shop the Women's merchandise, store employees will pass out color-coded wristbands to the first 420 people in line. They do this several hours before the store opens, with each shopper group consisting of 30 people. Each group of 30 shoppers is allowed ten or fifteen minutes in which to shop the collection in a secure and sectioned-off area of the store. They are strict, and with good reason. The time slot goes by really fast, with employees calling out the time at five minute intervals. It's hectic, crazy, and dizzying. This poses a dilemma if you want to shop both Women's and Men's first thing because the Men's area is open to all shoppers at 8am. Note that all people can enter the store at 8am. In between shopper groups, employees rapidly replenish the merchandise in five-minute intervals. Oh, in case you're not awake yet, there's thumping loud music via a live DJ. Expect long lines at the fitting rooms and people hoarding whole racks of clothes in piles on the floor.

5. Preparation is key (but first, coffee). I bring a blanket/pillow, cozy jacket, phone charger, water, and plenty of healthy snacks to stay energized and comfortable while in line. Bring coffee if needed. I have seen people camp out overnight in tents to be first in line for these collabs. Crazy, yes, and dedicated! For people who live in large cities, I'd recommend going several hours before the store opens if you're really motivated to shop. It really depends on your schedule and how much sleep you're willing to sacrifice. In my experience, stock varies widely from store to store, with flagships in metropolitan areas carrying the best selection.

6. Bring a buddy. A family member, friend, or significant other might be able to help you get the pieces you want and help you make purchasing decisions. "Divide and conquer" should be your strategy! Arrange to meet in line at the same time or go to the store together so you're not cutting in line and you can be in the same shopper group for maximum teamwork. The LanvinxHM faux fur coat and embellished tee would not be mine if not for a dedicated shopping partner. The same goes for the Isabel Marant fringe boots, and I feel very grateful.

7. Check for go-backs and barter. If your favorite pieces disappear from the racks in a flash, be courteous, be patient, and don't be afraid to chat with employees and other shoppers (especially near the fitting rooms) to politely trade to get what you want! Just respect the rules and limits that they have in store.

8. Know your limits. There are quantity limits per person on these collections (it's 1 item per style in stores and 1 item per style online) to prevent buying in bulk, and the return policy time frame is shorter (6 days for purchases made in stores). Be aware of these restrictions in order to prevent any buyer's remorse. 

9. Persistence pays off. H&M does not restock these collections, but you can still score your favorites. If you don't find what you want after the launch, check back for returns in the coming days, as many shoppers take items back to the store. Accessories can't be returned for hygiene reasons, so select them carefully. Don't forget to check the customer service desk and clearance racks for returns in mid November. Call your local stores to ask what they have in stock and use #HMoschino on social media to buy/trade with others.

10. Consider main line Moschino instead. With high resale prices on eBay and other platforms after the launch, you can likely buy main line Moschino and Moschino on sale for less than the marked up resale prices. Consider shopping the real deal (especially on sale at the outnet) or the alternatives below if you aren't able to get your #HMoschino wish list items.

This post contains affiliate links and I may be compensated if purchases are made by clicking links.

Watch this space for more updates. 

HMoschino preview

Get inspired by Moschino:




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