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Friday, October 3, 2008

Fitting Room Adventures - Jonathan Saunders For Target - A Review

After anxiously awaiting the arrival of the boldly-patterned Jonathan Saunders collection for GO International, I finally got my hands on some of the goods today. The majority of the collection was freshly arranged on the racks, and very few shoppers in the store made for a quiet and unusually pleasant Target shopping experience. At times like these, I consider myself lucky that I live in an area where most people have never even heard of Jonathan Saunders (sorry, Jonathan, if you ever read this - it isn't meant to insult you). I had my pick of every size and style that my store had just put out on the sales floor, whereas girls in the New York and L.A. areas might not be so lucky.
Jonathan Saunders for Target
Jonathan Saunders for Target
Jonathan Saunders for Target
The first two pieces I tried on were the kaleidoscope T-shirt (from the ads) and the ponte pants in black. Jonathan Saunders, known for his offbeat prints, did a great job making a wearable tee with a fun, edgy print. This tee works well layered with many other pieces in the collection, and it's a great deal at $16.99. The fabric is 60% cotton and 40% modal, making it soft and stretchy. It tends to run small, like most of the GO tees, so I recommend going up a size if you don't want it to be form-fitting. As for the ponte pants, I was pleasantly surprised. I'm not a fan of synthetic blend pants, but these are incredibly constructed to hug every curve and they're very comfortable. They have side panels made of satin-y polyester, giving them a tuxedo-inspired look. Ladies, let me be frank. You're going to want to wear these pants with a thong or perhaps some Spanx-like undergarment, as they show everything! I can imagine wearing them as an alternative to leggings, since they're very tight. The fabric consists of 69% rayon, 27% nylon, and 4% spandex. I bought both the tee and the pants, as they're versatile and will make fantastic layering pieces for winter.

Jonathan Saunders for Target
Since blue is my favorite hue, I couldn't pass up the ombre chiffon top pictured below. I tried on an extra small, and found the black cotton/modal lining to be too tight. While the top is probably too short to wear as a dress, it will work well over leggings, skinny jeans, or tucked into a pencil skirt. The only thing that I didn't like was that the sides of the chiffon layer are open, making it more floaty than I would like. I bought the top because the colors are gorgeous, and think it will be perfect under a tuxedo blazer and skinnies for a night on the town.

Jonathan Saunders for Target
Side view
Jonathan Saunders for Target
I was hoping the Mondrian-esque colorblock tunic would work as a dress, but the fabric was too lightweight and revealing. It runs small, and at $17.99, it's one of the most affordable pieces in the collection. Hmmm, maybe I'll think about it and buy it later. Below, I'm wearing it over the ponte pants, which also come in navy blue.

Jonathan Saunders for Target
Side view

Jonathan Saunders for Target
The black and red tunic sweater is perfectly on-trend with 1990's-inspired body-con dressing. I don't recall seeing this item in the lookbook, but there is a version in teal/olive green. Consisting of 100% cotton, it's amazingly comfortable and fits like a glove. I might add a contrasting belt, a hooded parka, a printed scarf, and some slouchy boots to carry this dress into winter. Based on the versatility, fit, and comfort of this dress, it's one of my favorites in the collection. I give it two thumbs up!

Jonathan Saunders for Target
Admittedly, the marble print in the shirtdress pictured below is a little bold for my taste, but perhaps it will grow on me. I liked the contrasting yellow belt that comes with it, but the fit wasn't the most flattering in the mid-section. I think that the more I see eccentric prints like this, the more I will like them. I'd like to try on the dress from Look 11 in the lookbook, as it has the same marble print, but my store didn't have it.

Jonathan Saunders for Target
Another dress that I wasn't planning on buying but ended up loving is the window-pane dress. In the lookbook, they added a red belt and a red/white colorblock top underneath. I adore the two front pockets, the thick polyester fabric and lining, and the flirty pleated hem. To me, the dress is flapper-meets-graphic artist. I'll wear it with bright tights, a thick belt, high-heeled ankle boots, and maybe a vintage denim jacket.

Jonathan Saunders for Target
Side view
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I was hoping that the ombre chiffon skirt would be able to be worn high waisted for a more flirty appeal. It runs big in the waist, so I sized down, but it still fell lower on the waist than I would have liked. I didn't like the button-front closures, as there is no side zip, and buttons on a skirt can be awkward when getting dressed in a hurry. Just like the ombre chiffon top, the outer layer is sheer, but there is a black lining. The pleats on the waistband add a little volume, so I didn't buy it because I didn't find it to be particularly flattering. The skirt also comes in the black and white dot print and the multi-colored marble print.

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Side view
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While basic pieces normally don't appeal to me, the turtleneck sweater pictured below, which comes in black and heather gray, caught my attention. I recently realized that I lack solid colored sweaters in my wardrobe. Since the weather is beginning to cool down, I'm going to need simple tops to layer under vests and coats this season. This one is made of 100% cotton, making it breathable and lightweight. I'm considering going back for the black one. The thickly ribbed neck, cuffs, and hem lend the sweater a sturdy, wintry feel. I paired the sweater with the colorblock mini skirt, which consist of 97% cotton and 3% spandex. I found it to run large, and since I wanted a body-con fit, I sized down. The skirt has a back zip, lots of seam details, and a polyester lining.

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Overall, I found the prints in the collection to be edgy, considering the average Target customer. With a good selection of basics such as chic mini dresses and button-down tops to balance out the prints, I think the collection has a broad appeal. As I browsed the racks, I observed that almost every item can be worn or layered with other pieces in the collection. Jonathan Saunders succeeded in staying true to his colorblocking and printmaking roots, and I think the playful prints translated well onto the flirty chiffon tunics and sophisticated dresses. My main complaint is that the reds in the collection tended to be more orange-y than I was expecting, and the pieces with olive green didn't appeal to me either. I hope that for many, the fun prints will act as an antidote to the gloomy feeling that's permeated the economy lately, and since fashion is all about having fun, why not buy and wear fun, cheerful garments that have the power to change your mood? Perhaps as an indicator of the sluggish economy, my store still has racks and racks of the previous GO collection, indicating that either people aren't buying, or that Target stocks too much, or both. In the meantime, I'm going to be stalking the reversible belt, the colorblock short sleeved top, and the marble print colorblock dress. I'd love to hear what everyone else bought and what they think of this latest round of GO International.

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