Lilly Pulitzer For Target, An Exercise in Madness

So unless you’ve been in a coma for the last few weeks you’ve probably heard Target’s latest designer collaboration was with Lilly Pulitzer. And you’re probably also aware of the madness that followed. The line went live online at 3am and was sold out within minutes. Target themselves purposely slowed parts of the site for some visitors and totally shut down the site for a time. They really didn’t respond to the customers who contacted them on Facebook. The only update coming in the early morning hours basically saying “Good news, we fixed the site and you’re free to shop!” And that would have been great, if they hadn’t known full well that every last item was out of stock. Cue the rage posts. Women around the country (myself included, I was first in line at my local store) lined up well before dawn knowing that they might not get anything if they didn’t go to the stores. After waiting for hours many of us were met with empty racks because people did things like this.

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This my friends is one of the most hated women in America. I’m willing to bet she’s grateful her face isn’t showing. Despite her top, it’s fair to say she’s likely a re-seller. Because amongst the loyal fans of the brand, there were people who showed up with one goal. And that was to clear the racks and list the goods on eBay for triple the regular retail price. Even before the stores opened, those lucky few who got online seem to not have been Lilly fans, but “e(vil)Bayers”. Tens of thousands of items were listed on eBay while the stores were empty. It ended up not being a collection for Target, but a flash sale and a collection for eBay. The outrage is still alive and well but people have mostly calmed down (not that this means this hasn’t hurt Target). Women have formed buy/sell/trade groups, helping other women to get things near cost. I myself sent out six packages this week to women all over the country.

Despite being first in line I ended up with almost nothing. I foolishly thought we’d all act like ladies. I went to get a shopping cart and walked at a reasonable pace- while the women around me who were working in teams pushed, shoved, and ran towards the racks. They were mostly empty seconds later and I made it in time to pick up a few things that were too big, while girls walked past me with their arms full to the brim. It was ridiculous. I got lucky with returns though. Finding two shifts people decided to return (there was a two week window). These are them.

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I bought one in the Upstream print, but they pretty much only had really big sizes left. Everything under a 12 was gone. I was able to sell mine on Facebook and purchase the right size from someone else in the same group.

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I found this one this week in that same group.

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These aren’t all the shift patterns, there are three others but I’ve totally given up on those. It would seem as though Target didn’t make anywhere near as many of those three patterns as they did of these ones shown above. So, some of you might be thinking what’s the big deal about these? Well, a Lilly shift generally runs about $200, but these cost around $40. Yep. Real Lilly Pulitzer shifts, in exclusive prints, designed especially for this collection for just $40. The quality isn’t 100% the same, but it’s almost there. And for the price difference you probably won’t care. This is why so many women lost their minds, and the evil people who prey on these women went out of their way to take these dresses from them. And it wasn’t just these dresses, there were home goods (something Lilly pretty much never does), and other accessories. The embroidered clutches were a hot ticket item and honestly very few ever saw them in stores. Many stores had virtually nothing in stock, while some claimed no stock. With the employees buying everything and the customers never having a shot. There’s one store locally that supposedly has 4 clutches in stock, but a horrifyingly rude sales clerk has insisted they aren’t in store. Despite Brick Seek saying they have them, other employees in the store saying they’re in the system, and other stores confirming this as well. This woman was downright hostile to me (despite the fact I was nothing but polite) and would barely let me finish asking about them when I called and was shouting at me when I showed up at the store anyways. What’s to say, everyone but her says they should be in the store. Clearly she has them. This is what it’s come down to. Employees who apparently don’t care about their jobs. That are hiding things in the stores, waiting for markdowns, so they can purchase and flip these items. It’s out of control. I’m really lucky I was able to buy anything at all.

I was fortunate enough to find some cosmetic and toiletries bags on the first day. I think most people forgot about them and I was first to that display at my local Target so I got to take my pick. I picked up the headbands, turbans, bobby pins, and some nail files. I was also lucky enough to find one of the more rare items. A Weekender in Nosie Posey.

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The Weekender is really big, and the name pretty much says it all. It’ll fit enough for a weekend even if you’re an over-packer. Some people were disappointed in the size. Thinking this could be a carry-on that would replace a backpack or diaper bag. But this is just not going to fit under the seat in front of you on an airplane. It’s overhead compartment only! It’s perfect for me though. My husband recently switched jobs and it could mean that we’ll be forced to do some short term semi-local travel. This bag will hold enough for my son and I during those trips. I was able to score the toiletry and cosmetic bag that match this one, and it’s such a cute set. I still can’t believe I got so lucky.

There were also scarves, flip flops, hats, beach towels and more. I got really lucky with those too. Lilly Pulitzer isn’t as big a deal out here on the West Coast, so returns are still happening in my local stores, especially for these items. I really got into wearing scarves over the past two years so of course I picked up a number of these.

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They even had cases for the iPhone 6 Plus! I have been so disappointed with the lack of case options for this phone. Hardly anything’s been made for it. Even my favorite brand, Casemate, didn’t bother. Releasing a full line for the 6 and all but ignoring the 6 Plus- but not Lilly! They remembered. ūüôā I was able to snag two for regular retail. The Sea Urchin For You print is my favorite.

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I also snagged both flounce dresses. Initially I had the Sea Urchin print in a Large but it was just too big, I got lucky and found returns in a Medium in stores so bought those and it’s a perfect fit. I really love the orange and pink print as well since it features giraffes, I love giraffes. ‚̧

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It might be hard to see them, but my giraffes are there! I just wish I could find the scarf and cell phone case in this print…

Prior to this I had a love hate relationship with this brand. Their dresses are short, and I’m really tall. Add to that they’re such bright colors. Being a Bostonian the inclusion of color in my wardrobe is somewhat foreign. Oh sure some women back East wear these dresses, but for me grey or navy has been about as crazy as I ever got. Only after I moved away did I get more into wearing color. I think had I never lived in Hawaii I might not have branched out. Over there you don’t see a lot of black. The one day I wore all black (I had a cousin¬†die) I felt odd and out of place. But still, I hadn’t bought more than the occasional accessory from the brand, despite perusing their website on occasion. I did visit their boutique on Newbury Street when I went home to shop for a wedding dress a few years back. But oddly they had virtually nothing in stock, so I left empty handed. It’s just as well. I’m glad this was my first real foray into the brand. I’ve met a lot of really nice ladies online and discovered a lot of pieces I really like from the brand (though sadly many of the items are now discontinued). I even went as far to buy a “real” Lilly from their website after being so impressed by the Target collection.

I decided on a “safe” print/color combo that looked longer. After looking at the entire website and every print I likes “In The Vias” the best. I wanted something really casual that I could wear anytime, so I bought the Palmetto V-Neck T-Shirt Dress.

IMG_1730They also had this print in a maxi dress (and I LOVE maxi dresses) but I wasn’t too sure about the metal rings on the straps. This seemed safest for now. It arrived the other day and honestly, I’m in love. It comes to mid thigh on me but I’m used to things being short on my ridiculously long legs. I really see this working well for at least three out of four seasons. It’s probably a bit too bright for winter, but in a different print or solid (they used to have this in Navy) it could totally work year round. It’s 100% cotton, and so soft. It’s kind of slinky actually and has virtually no stretch which is a bit odd. But I guess that’s just because I’m used to how most brands tend to sneak 1-2% spandex in with their cotton. I wore this yesterday and it’s so comfortable. I see myself wearing this as shown during the summer and come fall, I’ll be pairing it with boots, maybe even tights or leggings. I could easily wear an undershirt under this (I wear an undershirt with most things) and a chunky sweater or jacket over it. I saw a girl on another blog wearing a near identical dress (it was a Lilly but a slightly different style) and she had on ballet flats and a fitted puffer vest from J Crew. It looked fabulous, and it’s totally a look I’ll be sporting this fall. As many of you know I believe the wearing of yoga pants as everyday clothes to be a hostile act. But this is just as comfortable,¬†and it’s socially acceptable. So if you’re looking to break out of a lounge wear rut, I recommend this dress.

I was also able to score a few other things. A maxi dress, other scarves, towels, plates, blows, and some other little things. I realize I’m far more lucky than most women, especially¬†since I bought most of these things at cost only paying above retail for two things. I’m also lucky enough that I could just shop the “real” Lilly site only. And honestly, that’s what I plan to do in the future. This is not the first time Target has pulled a stunt like this, and I know it won’t be the last. I’m just not getting sucked in like this again. I think unless they paired with Kate Spade, I won’t be bothering with any future collection. I’ll just visit the designers website and buy direct from them, the way I’ve always done. It’s not worth the stress these collections cause. I’m honestly glad I missed out on the collections they did in the past (living in HI without a Target I was relegated to the online store and since that never works during these sales I never got anything) they really aren’t worth the hysteria. I did love virtually everything in this collaboration and I’m happy with what I bought. But never again.

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2 thoughts on “Lilly Pulitzer For Target, An Exercise in Madness

  1. Having worked at a Target there are two things I can only surmise.

    That associate probably had thirty other people ask for those clutches within the last hour. They may be “in the system” but if no one can find them it’s highly probable they found their way out without being purchased.

    Target doesn’t do presales to employees. We have to shop like the rest of the world. Stock is based on store traffic and locations to similar stores. This also affects prices of certain items.

    • Well I’ll agree this employee has probably had to deal with a lot of people asking for these items. It really doesn’t justify her screaming at me on the phone, and then shouting at me when I come into the store. Her behavior was absolutely bizarre. To the point that I sort of have to assume, if they walked out the door she was involved. I’ve ben watching inventory in that particular store (as have some of my online acquaintances) and there’s something off about their inventory. I actually told the manager about it yesterday. Because either they’re having a serious outside theft problem, or they’re having an employee problem.

      I know that Target doesn’t do presales to their employees. But too many Target employees have stated outright that they simply didn’t put anything on the floor and simply bought the items themselves. When I went in to return some things the employee who did the transaction told me flat out she was stashing some of those things behind the register so she could buy them later (even though the items are supposedly supposed to o back onto the floor first). I guess it would be one thing if the employees weren’t being so open about this happening but I was told flat out at one of my local stores the employees set aside what they wanted to buy before the sale and that stuff never even saw the sales floor.

      I just wish that Target didn’t do things the way they did. They should have produced enough stock. They shouldn’t have hyped the event of social media as much as they did if they knew they weren’t going to have enough to meet demand. And they should have cut a deal with eBay to restrict listings of the items for 30 days (eBay has worked with other vendors to do stuff like this before). They hyped an event and couldn’t meet demand. Given their recent bad press this is just not going to help them long term.

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