How to Shop a Target Collaboration Like a Pro

Peter Pilotto x Target launches on Sunday. Are you ready?

Designer Peter Pilotto debuted his Target collection Thursday at New York Fashion Week. It officially lands in stores this weekend. Photograph by Diana Elbasha.

After weeks of waiting for a new product line to launch, there is perhaps no feeling more defeating than arriving at the store to find the blouse you’ve been dreaming about already sold out. Such is often the case with Target’s notorious affordable designer collaborations—and its latest, with print master Peter Pilotto, was met with massive crowds and ultra-competitive customers at a pre-launch in New York this week, leading us to believe the actual release this weekend will be just as chaotic. But don’t give up now—just follow these six tips for getting the most out of what can easily be an overwhelming shopping experience. 

1) Prepare to lose some sleep.

Just as with tickets to a highly anticipated event, you should be ready right when Target’s doors—or website—opens to have the best chance at getting what you really want (the Columbia Heights store opens at 8 AM Sunday). The most in-demand items in past collections have sold out within minutes of launching. The Web launch time hasn’t yet been announced, but based on previous occasions, it’s likely to be between midnight and 5 AM. Be sure to check Target’s twitter account Saturday evening for the announcement. On that note . . .

2) Stay on top of social media. 

Make sure to follow @TargetStyle on Twitter, as this account will spew out details regarding launch times on, and will be your resource for any website-related issues, of which there have been many with previous designer collabs. You’ll see conversations surface between customers on Facebook and Twitter that will give you insight into when people have found sizes available (stock is typically added gradually throughout the morning). And checking out Twitpics beforehand will give you a reliable sense of what products people are coveting most—and therefore what’s likely to fly off the shelves soonest. 

3) Consider the suburbs. 

Central Target stores are, obviously, the first to run out of stock. An easy way to get around this is to take a detour outside of the city. Take a look at the full list of participating Target locations to track down one in the suburbs. We’ve had success at Merrifield and Falls Church in the past. 

4) Make a shopping list. 

With the lookbook available online, there’s no reason to wait until you get to the store to peruse the collection (check out our favorites). Make a list of the items you want, beginning with the most desired, and go straight for that when you get to the store or log in to the Target website. We’re all for leisurely, relaxing shopping experiences, but this simply isn’t the time—early shoppers of these collections are quick and competitive.

5) Don’t think twice. 

Most Target stores employ a 90-day return policy, which should ease your indecisive mind if you’re debating on a piece. Our advice: Get the dress—or blouse, or handbag—now while you’re able to get your hands on it, and if you decide once you get home that you don’t want it, you can always take it back to the store. Just double-check your receipt for the exact return policy on designer items, as they sometimes carry special conditions. 

6) Know that accessories often go quickly.

They’re smaller, don’t require specific sizing, and very easily identifiable: accessories are undoubtedly the easiest to grab. In Pilotto’s collection, this includes beach towels, sneakers, tote bags, and pouches: if you know you want one of these items, head for that first.