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The Strategist Guide to Shopping at Target

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Anyone who has shopped at a retailer with few physical storefronts knows it can be hard to figure out where to begin. There are lots of options that all seem as worthy as the next, but the reality is that products from any given brand are not all created equal. When you shop as regularly as we do, you learn that many brands just do some things better than they do other things. Target, with a massive inventory of clothing, beauty products, cleaning supplies, furniture, and home décor from its many in-house labels, is one of those brands. To help you find the best items from Stars Above, A New Day, Universal Thread, Cat & Jack, Threshold, Opalhouse, Project 62, Magnolia, and more, we’ve compiled all the products that our writers and editors — plus the designers, artists, and other cool people they’ve interviewed — have recommended.

Clothing | Shoes | Accessories |Bedding | Kitchen | Furniture | Lighting | Storage | Kids | Décor


As seen in our guide to the best pajamas for women, this set from Stars Above was named our best less expensive option for its supersoft modal fabric that TikTok creator and curve model Remi Bader says feels like you’re wearing nothing at all.

If you’re looking for a classic button-down, Strategist writer Latifah Miles recommends these from A New Day and Universal Thread. “I have a long torso and arms, and they both fit properly and look flattering,” Miles says. “Plus I’ve washed the white one a dozen times, and it still looks great.”

In her guide to gym-rat essentials, Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst recommends this heavyweight cotton shirt by Goodfellow & Co., which she says is well constructed, soft, and pairs nicely with her Everlane leggings. She wears an XXL for a “very ‘casual but I’ve been here before’ look.”

In our roundup of gym shorts for men, these were named our best less expensive unlined pick. Recommended to us by personal trainer Andrew Flores, these shorts, which look similar to Lululeom’s Pace Breaker short, have “great stretch to them, meaning you can perform exercises in all planes of motion without obstruction,” he says. He says they also “go well with a long-sleeved tee for that post-workout run to the store.” Target offers a lined version too.

When we asked our editors and writers about the loungewear they wear at home, Denton-Hurst described these joggers as the softest pants she’s ever worn. “The best part is that they’re super-stretchy, which is nice for moving from bed to couch and back to bed again,” she says.

If you prefer the effortlessness of linen to other fabrics, New York deputy editor Alexis Swerdloff owns not one but two of these tank dresses. She specifically likes the black-and-white floral pattern, which reminds her of Marimekko’s Unikko print. “It’s got a flattering, somewhat high neckline, hits nicely just below the knee, and, most important, has pockets,” she says.

Photo: Retailer

Strategist writer Erin Schwartz calls these joggers from Target’s in-house kid’s line — which they’ve owned since 2016 — an “indispensable basic” that can withstand the wear and tear that comes with messy DIY projects. Although these are technically made for children, sizing goes up to XXL, which the brand recommends for people up to five-foot-seven. And while these have been updated to include a drawstring and a different fabric composition, Schwarz finds the new version to look just as good as the original.

You don’t need to wait for Halloween to dress as your favorite Pokémon. This Pikachu hoodie was featured in our back-to-school roundup, in which 11-year-old Delilah says she plans to wear this bright zip-up as a jacket on cooler days.


Upon the request of her 4- and 5-year-old daughters to find them all matching boots, Strategist contributor Diksha Basu landed on these lug-soles. The’re waterproof with nonslip soles, and the material is durable enough to require just a basic wipe down, Basu says, adding that she’s taken to wearing them with midi dresses, as inspired by her daughters.

The kid’s version of the above boots features side zippers for easy on and off and a faux-leather finish that makes them perfect for matching an array of outfits, Basu says. And at under $20, these are a “reasonable amount to spend on the fleeting desires of a 4- and 5-year-old,” she says.

Swerdloff mentioned these waterproof shoes for kids in our summer shopping guide. They feature two top straps and one at the heel to help keep them secure on little feet. Plus they “have some traction to them, they are waterproof and come in a rainbow of colors,” Swerdloff says. “And if we lose one (which happens more frequently than we’d like), since they are only $10, it’s not the full end of the world.”

These Frozen-inspired shoes were a hit with preschoolers in our back-to-school roundup. “These sneaks light up!” says 5-year-old Cassidy, who notes their “cool shiny glossy style with ice winds and snowflakes.”


These semi-opaque dance tights have served her daughters “well for ballet, but also dress-up,” Strategist senior editor Jen Trolio says. She also reports that they seem stronger than the regular Cat & Jack tights.

Trolio also says these “very much get the job done and look cute for the price,” at just 62 cents per headband. She hasn’t had any trouble with them breaking, and there are enough colors to match any outfit.


This shaving cream from Target’s personal-care brand Smartly is a longtime favorite of Strategist junior writer Brenley Goertzen, who says it lathers better than EOS and Gillette Satin.

In our guide to the best at-home alternatives to seeing your dermatologist, this antibacterial acne spot treatment was recommended by our experts for treating deep pimples that might otherwise need a cortisone shot. By combining benzoyl peroxide and hydrocortisone creams with salicylic acid, “you can make a little combination mask treatment for your pimples that you put on overnight,” says Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, a dermatologist and the founder of Entière Dermatology.


As seen in our roundup of the best bedsheets, these from Threshold were named the best (less expensive) sateen sheet option. Recommended to us for being “great quality for a great price” by interior designers Tavia Forbes and Monet Masters of the Atlanta-based studio Forbes+Masters, these 400-thread-count sheets are wrinkle, pill, and shrink resistant for easy upkeep. (For a comprehensive Target sleep experience, pair them with this Remi Bader–approved top-and-shorts set from our guide to the best pajamas for women.)

If you’re buying sheets for a college student, this set was recommended by former Strategist writer Chloe Anello. “For the price, they didn’t pill quite as quickly as one would expect, and they’re easy to maintain — basically, any bargain detergent and outdated washing machines and dryers in your dorm won’t destroy them,” Anello says. Malik Logan, principal designer for the Tailored Interiors, also describes them as “supersoft.”

Deemed the best velvet option in our roundup of the best quilts, this Threshold blanket features channel stitching, which decorator Carrie Carrollo says is stylish but easy to incorporate into any décor. Besides the cream color shown, a few more shades are available, including mint, charcoal, and green.


Photo: Retailer

In our exhaustive guide of the best flatware, Heather Goerzen of the online interior-design service Havenly recommends this gold set for its “simple form, sophisticated finish,” and, of course, the price. The 20-piece, rust-resistant set includes dinner and salad forks, knives, spoons, and teaspoons.

[Editor’s note: This silverware set is currently sold out, but we’ll update this story when it’s back in stock.]

Strategist associate editor Jenna Milliner-Waddell went with this Brightroom bin, our pick for the best slim trash can, to go in her studio apartment’s kitchen. After two years of stomping on the pedal, it hasn’t failed her yet, Milliner-Waddell says. And with a glossy, fingerprint-resistant finish akin to Simplehuman’s, the can comes in at just under $60. “If you want a large, relatively inexpensive stainless-steel trash can, this one won’t give you anything you complain about,” Milliner-Waddell says.

When we asked drag queen Shea Couleé about the things she can’t live without, she said this all-purpose cleaner in the “Citrus & Basil scent is intoxicating,” and cleans floorboards, moldings, countertops until they are “Mom-level spotless.”


Anne Sanger, an artist and the owner of Pinkwater Gallery, recommends this structured beanbag chair from Pillowfort. Named our top pick for little kids, it has two convenient side pockets big enough for picture books, toys, or even a water bottle. Sanger says that for can’t-sit-still toddlers in particular, this chair will keep its shape better and provide more support than other beanbags.

This barstool looks similar to the Shaker-style one on our list of the best dining chairs but taller and a quarter of the price. Swerdloff owns five of these in the (now-discontinued) light-wood finish, but the black shown is just as much of a showstopper and will fit nicely at any counter or kitchen island. Plus, Swerdloff says, “they were extremely easy to put together.”

[Editor’s note: These barstools are currently sold out, but you enter your email on the product page to get notified when they’re back in stock.]

This woven accent table, which is on Trolio’s favorites list, would make a handsome plant stand.


In our roundup of the best floor lamps, we named this the best task light thanks to a recommendation from Alessandra Wood, vice-president of style at online interior-design service Modsy. Because of its classic look, Wood says, it won’t go out of fashion. “This has the perfect blend of vintage and industrial charm, and the aged brass introduces an upscale feeling of warmth to any rustic space,” she says.

If you’re looking for a more affordable floor lamp that’s ideal for pre-bedtime reading, Goertzen owns this one, which has an adjustable arm and a clear glass shade.


Queer Eye’s Bobby Berk likes this desktop organizer by Threshold, which is covered in light-gray fabric that he says looks elegant. “I like how this has a dedicated space for everything; you can fit your notepads, Post-its, pencils,” he says. “I don’t think anyone needs a bigger organizer, because do you really have that much stuff? That’ll just end up being annoying.”

These Pillowfort organizers were recommended to us by professional organizer Britnee Tanner specifically for storing children’s toys. Available in small and large sizes, these can be stacked to avoid taking up floor space, Tanner says. Or you could place several side by side on a shelf, which will help little ones grab their LEGOs, dolls, or books more easily.

Strategist editor Maxine Builder owns several of these baskets to organize her closet, though she says they’re “nice enough to leave out.” You can choose between three colors, all accented with contrasting handles.


Trolio uses these place mats for “Play-Doh, painting, or whatever messy art stuff” her kids have going on. They can also be used during mealtimes — Trolio says that if you’re “going to leave them on the table most of the time and wipe them up there, they clean up great.”

Swerdloff says that even though this bucket holds 273 pieces, it’s “not an overwhelming amount of tiny little bits and bobs to add to an already cluttered apartment.” Containing wooden craft sticks, googly eyes, pom-poms, fuzzy sticks, and felt shapes, the kit “comes with a bunch of very easy-to-make craft projects for particularly uninspired parents,” Swerdloff says.

Mondo Llama’s smaller individual craft kits range from $5 to $15, making them “great birthday gifts when your kids get invited to parties,” Trolio says. She likes this one in particular because you can use it in a play kitchen after it’s been painted and dried.

Like the kit above, the quantity and variety of this set offer great value for the price, Trolio says. Her 7-year-old was excited to make a name bracelet with the letter beads, while her 4-year-old could manage threading together the bigger beads.


When we asked cool people about the best doormats, former Strategist writer Leah Muncy recommended this one as a traditional coir option. Even after four months of three roommates using it constantly, the rug has “yet to show any significant wear,” Muncy says. And it’s “just enough whimsy to my entryway without looking too bohemian.”

Photo: Retailer

Taking the top spot in our roundup of the best curtain rods, this adjustable steel style by Project 62 is “simple and timeless,” says Dani Mulhearn, a senior designer at Havenly. With a sleek and clean silhouette, this rod looks more expensive than it is, which is useful if you’re buying it in multiples. It comes in four finishes, including matte black and brass, with cylindrical finials and matching hanging hardware.

Trolio owns this stand, which she says is useful for bathrooms that don’t have an intuitive spot for a wall-mounted towel-holder.

And these hooks from the same collection can be “hung near the back door, in the kitchen, specifically at a kid-friendly height for backpacks and jackets,” Trolio says.

If your style is more modernist, Milliner-Waddell has three of these hooks in the entryway of her apartment and says they can hold “tons of purses, tote bags, and a couple jackets and hats.”

Rattan is having a moment, and this vase from Target’s recent collaboration with Studio McGee (you might recognize founders Shea and Syd McGee from Netflix’s Dream Home Makeover) offers an affordable take on the trend. In fact, Strategist senior editor Chelsea Peng says she first noticed this vase when it was brought up as a dupe for an urn-and-pedestal combo that’s much-coveted among fashion and design people. Pair this vase with the coordinating Jungalow table above for a similar effect.

“I’ve restricted myself to just one,” says Miles of this smiley six-inch planter that she views as more of a “piece of décor than a functional plant-holder.” Add a a small faux plant and nestle it on a bookshelf.

Target sells some of the best-looking (and affordable) artificial plants we’ve seen, like this striking banana-leaf plant.

If you’re looking for a tabletop greenery option, this plant has silvery-green eucalyptus leaves, comes in a modern white melamine pot, and is somehow just $5.

Strategist writer Dominique Pariso bought these lights with pine-sprig tassels to string up around her apartment for the holidays. While they’re “definitely more decorative than useful,” Pariso says the soft glow is nice to have on winter nights. These are also powered by a battery pack, so you don’t have to worry about outlets when you hang them above your bed or at an entryway.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

The Strategist Guide to Shopping at Target