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Hitting the Bull's-eye

It's time to take aim at one of the hottest stores in America. Loaded with style and crammed with fun, this is the place where affordable, adorable clothes overflow from every rack. It's also one of the few stores in the Triangle where you can find pleather pants, a Hello Kitty sound system and a Coleman sleeping bag three aisles away from each other.

The place is Target, a once-bankrupt department store that revitalized three years ago. With hundreds of locations, Target has recently grown so cool in urban circles, it's been nicknamed "Tar-zhe." A stroll through the store's front aisles reveals why things are getting so hot--denim jackets under $25 and $15 skate sneakers, for starters.

Target also increased its appeal to clothes-horses this year, scoring an exclusive contract with Italian designer Mossimo. Their Target collection features striking polo shirts, flowing track pants, deeply dyed denim and a few pieces on over-trend (think black pleather bitch pants, beaded wooden flip-flops and sueded beige shirts). Mossimo captures the urban prepster look at prices normally seen only in clearance aisles.

Cherokee jeans, a staple from the '80s, also appear at Target. Their denim lacks the clean lines that Mossimo captures, but other Cherokee items like zip-front cardigans and ribbed turtleneck sweaters are totally sweet. The long sweater coats from Xhileration are beautifully colored and have a nice fit, and at $25 ring up as a real bargain.

Also, don't discount the boys' department--the $10 sleep shirts are tight-fitting and fit like a three-quarter tee on most girls. They're really comfortable and capture the preppy athletic look so popular in suburbs and quads.

Finally, have a quick peek at the plastic-wrapped Underoos, which retail for $8. The package contains a super-hero tee shirt and a pair of boy's undies. Chuck the underwear and squeeze into a soft and snuggly tee shirt. It goes with low-riding jeans by day and sleek skirts by night, and also works well under a cardigan sweater. The package will have sizes like "10 years old," but even girls a decade older can fit.

Target can also restyle your room, with everything from fuzzy pink pillows to board games, televisions and a huge assortment of bedspreads. The Trends favorite is a $60 set that includes sheets, pillowcases and a comforter--all in bright blue tie-dye. Coming in a close second was the "Aloha Bed in a Bag," which features a hideously awesome blanket and sheets in prints usually reserved for tacky Hawaiian shirts.

Trends was also stunned to find a wide array of independent movies available in Target's video/DVD section. From Steven Sodherberg's Traffic to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, there was plenty in the entertainment section for media-savvy shoppers. Also, never underestimate the power of Hello Kitty. She is everywhere in the red-and-white mecca, and whether you're after her alarm clock, CD player, watch, lip gloss or underwear, this store is out to fix your Anime craving. Those of you furnishing new apartments should also consider hitting up Target's home department, which has really nice furniture and really low prices.

Overall, mad props to Target, located 30 minutes south of Duke in Cary. With cool clothes, a huge variety of dorm furnishings and a stocked boy's pajama department, Target hits the bull's-eye.


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