Anyone who knows me knows that I love Target. During the five years that I lived in New York City, my parents would joke every time they picked me up from the bus station, asking if I needed to go to the bullseye-adorned superstore before heading back to their house. And, hey, can you blame me? Target is home to everything anyone really needs or wants: beauty products, electronics, home goods, food, kids toys—you name it. And with the retailer's latest endeavor—The Designer Dress Collection—it even sells some of the high-end brands that I've grown so accustomed to seeing in the city.
The 2021 collection dropped May 16 and, similar to the 2020 debut, is selling out fast. It features more than 70 colorful dresses in women's sizes XXS to 4X from designers Christopher John Rogers, Alexis, and Rixo. While the designers' dresses typically retail from $500 to upwards of $3,000, the prices for the Target collection range from just $40 to $60—ideal for fashion-forward shoppers who want top-dollar styles but who are unwilling to spend hundreds on a frock.
As soon as I saw Target's announcement of the new drop, I knew I needed to get my hands on a few. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait until launch day—Target ever-so-kindly offered me a sneak peek and sent me a dress from each of the three designers.
Christopher John Rogers
Ever since 25-year-old designer Christopher John Rogers started sharing his designs on Instagram—he credits DM requests for kick-starting his career—his voluminous, brightly-colored, boldly-patterned silhouettes have made waves. My favorite dress from the Christopher John Rogers for Target collection has to be the Long Sleeve Two-Tone Shirtdress. With hot pink on one side and blush on the other, the contrasting colors alone make it eye-catching. But add a belted waist, balloon sleeves, and a tiered A-line skirt? Just wow. My favorite feature is the wide belt that makes cinching the otherwise very flowy dress, well, a cinch. As far as sizing goes, the dress is pretty spot on. I’m typically a size 12/14 and found the size 14 to fit well.
One negative, however, is that the dress wrinkles easily because it’s 100% cotton. But I'm more than willing to break out the steamer if it means pulling this beauty into my spring and summer rotation. Note: This particular dress is sold out in most sizes but you may be able to find it in select stores.
Female-owned fashion brand Alexis Barbara Isaias emphasizes romantic silhouettes, sophisticated style, and loads of color in her self-named brand Alexis. Many of her designs are influenced by her love of travel, which shines through in her Alexis for Target collaboration. As a lover of all things green, the kelly and lime Long Sleeve Rope Belt Tiered Dress spoke to me from first glance. While the top of the dress features a high neck, the bottom showcases a short, tiered hem; and while the fabric is silky, the belt has more of a natural rope feel. You can wear it for anything: brunch, lunch, dinner, drinks, you name it. I love that I can dress it down with espadrille sandals or jazz it up with chunky block heels.
Best of all, the dress itself is so dang comfortable. It feels so much more expensive than the polyester it’s made with and I can just picture myself spinning about in this all summer long. It runs a little large—I got it in an XL, but probably could’ve opted for a L, so you may want to size down in other Alexis styles as well. Note: Just like the CJR dress, this specific dress is sold out in most sizes but you may be able to find it in select stores.
Inspired by vintage silhouettes, the Rixo for Target collaboration is all about bright colors, pattern play, lots of florals, and all the ruffles and balloon sleeves you could hope for. Of all the dresses in Target's drop, it was the Rixo dresses that stood out the most to me, so I was over the moon to receive the Leopard Sleeveless Ruffle Slip Dress. It showcases a drapey column silhouette in a silky viscose material, with ruffles at the neckline for some fun flair.
Normally I steer clear of slip dresses at all costs, for they rarely work for my pear-shaped body. Dresses that fit over my hips tend to be far too large in the bust. But for whatever reason, the Rixo dress—which I got in my usual XL—fit all over. While the top could be darted on the sides for a snugger silhouette, it’s not so loose that I couldn’t make it work as-is. Plus, the straps are adjustable which helps make up for it. The best part about this dress, though, is the silky viscose fabric. I cannot emphasize how luxe this dress feels—like it would cost much, much more than $50, that’s for sure.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.