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August 31, 2014

12 Tips for How To Shop Altuzarra for Target

With the Altuzarra for Target collaboration right around the corner, my anticipation and excitement are building. After many years of shopping Target's designer collaborations, I've learned by trial and error how to score all of my must-haves. No need to worry about pushy shoppers, cancelled online orders, and empty racks characteristic of the Missoni launch in 2011. 

I consider shopping these Target collections a sport, and it's almost game time, so I'm going to be sharing my tips for helping you score all of your favorites. Whether you're shopping in store, online, or both, I've got your covered. Let's start with some tips for shopping online.

Target store

1. Learn the lookbook. It sounds basic, but it's often overlooked by some shoppers. Study the lookbook and be prepared. Pick out your favorites, and get familiar with the prints, prices, and colorways. Know which items are online only (so you can shop those first), which will be sold by net-a-porter, and which will be sold in Target stores. For example: the ankle strap heels are a target.com exclusive, the black jacquard trench coat and faux fur crop jacket are available on net-a-porter.com, and the python print blazer and military trench coat are exclusive to both target.com and net-a-porter.com.

2Play favorites. Make a list or collage of your top picks. I like to create a collage in Photoshop (with prices and sizes) as a visual cue of my must-haves. It helps me stick to my budget (more on that in #3) and save time when deciding what to buy. Have a peek at my top picks.

3. Better stick to your budget. It's easy to get caught up in the frenzy of these collections and go overboard. While Target has a generous return policy, it's easier to avoid overspending and just buy the pieces you absolutely love and that fill a gap in your wardrobe. 

4. Know when and how to shop. Since Target's collections debut on Saturday night or early Sunday morning, be prepared to stay up late or get up early (depending on your time zone) in order to shop online. Previous collections have been released by Target before or near midnight PST in my experience. If you're on the East Coast, I feel for you! Follow me on Twitter and use the #AltuzarraforTarget hashtag for shopping updates and up-to-the-minute information (see #6). Be extra prepared by using more than one web browser, mobile device, etc. It doesn't hurt to shop on your tablet as well as your desktop or laptop simultaneously. On my desktop, I use Chrome and Safari simultaneously, and I have had more luck with Chrome. Be sure to refresh often and have patience. Items tend to pop up and then disappear during the initial launch. Persistence is key! Interestingly enough, with the Peter Pilotto for Target collection, some items were available on Target's mobile site first. Also be aware of purchasing limits on merchandise. For example, you might only be able to buy two of each item.

5. Save your info. As the time to shop online approaches, be logged into the Target or net-a-porter website and have your checkout and payment details saved ahead of time. This makes for faster checkout process and reduces the chances of having your cart emptied before you can click the "complete order" button. Target RedCard users enjoy free shipping, an extra 30 days to return certain merchandise, and a 5% discount on purchases, while net-a-porter ships internationally and has a 28-day return policy. 

6. Click quickly. When shopping the Phillip Lim for Target collection, I placed separate orders for each item as they became available because I wanted to make sure the items wouldn't disappear from my cart. Fortunately, my RedCard allowed me to have free shipping on each order, or I wouldn't have done this. 

7. Stay social. Use social media channels such as Twitter for @TargetStyle #AltuzarraforTarget shopping updates, product info, and to connect with other Altuzarra shoppers. Sign up for Target and net-a-porter's email updates. Join me on Twitter on Saturday night and Sunday morning for more shopping tips and helpful updates. 

Target doors

Shopping in store? Here's what you need to know:

1. Know where to go. Find out which stores in your area will stock the collection. You can check which stores will carry it on Target's site. Better yet, call your local store to double check. Since I have about 6 Target stores near me, I shop the two stores which tend to have the largest selection based upon previous designer collections. Once the collection has launched online, use Target's "find item in store" function to search for specific items in stock in your area. It's not always accurate, but it can be helpful to help you plan your shopping.

2. Be bright and early. My Target stores opens at 8 am on Sunday, and I've found in the past that if I arrive by 7:30, then I'm able to get what I want, since there aren't crowds in my area. For people who live in large cities, I'd recommend going at least 1-2 hours before the store opens. For shoppers in more suburban or rural areas, the competition and crowds are reduced, but the selection of goods may be as well. In my experience, stock varies widely from store to store. Sometimes metropolitan area stores carry a better merchandise assortment than suburban ones.

3. 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. The Jason Wu for Target cat tote would not be mine if not for a dedicated boyfriend. I may or may not have bribed him to shop with me in exchange for Sunday brunch! 

4. Check for go-backs. If your favorite pieces disappear from the racks in a flash, check the fitting room go-back rack, as many items end up there during the morning rush to try things on. Be couteous, be patient, and don't be afraid to chat with other shoppers and trade to get what you want! 

5. Persistence pays off. Target usually doesn't restock these collections, but you can still score your favorites. If you don't find what you want, check back for returns in the coming days and weeks, as many shoppers take items back to the store. Don't forget to check the customer service desk for fresh returns as well. Target has a 90-day return policy for purchases, and a generous 120-day return policy for RedCard users, so familiarize yourself with the complete return policy details by checking your invoice or receipt. The best part about returns? Online exclusive items get heavily discounted when returned to stores, leaving the door open for other shoppers to get really lucky. After a few weeks, the collection will be discounted to 30% off, so frequent visits to Target after the launch could really pay off.

Keep up with me on Twitter while I live blog the online #AltuzarraforTarget release and my Sunday morning in-store shopping/fitting room experience. I'll also be sharing photos on my Instagram of my favorite pieces, with tips on fit, and overall impressions. Naturally, I'll write a comprehensive Altuzarra for Target review with additional fitting room photos and opinions on September 14. 

Happy shopping!

*Update - Read my Altuzarra for Target review with fitting room photos and tips on sizing, and see what's still available at Target and net-a-porter.

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