It’s recently been brought to my attention that Target’s fall collection has hit the racks, and I hate how much it leaves to be desired for me. Target doesn’t often fall flat in the fashion department. I’ve purchased several new outfits over the last couple of years that I can’t wait to finally have an occasion to wear out somewhere, including a long-sleeved mustard crop top with a daisy-patterned mini skirt and a pair of tie-dyed mom jeans with a perfectly color-matched solid crop top. A TikToker that frequently appears on my FYP has an adorable floral crop that I passed on one day and went back for the next, only to find they were all gone. Every time she wears it in a video, it reminds me of how Target just seems to nail it each season.
So how could Target get it so unbelievably wrong this fall? How could I walk into Target to see Peter Pan collars every which way I turned? I thought if I stayed offline I would be safe. If I didn’t open TikTok, he could no longer invade my every waking thought, right? If I wasn’t assaulted by a new “Berries and Cream” remix every other video, I could let the little lad fade away like the nightmare that he’s become. But the first mannequin I saw on that fateful trip proved that nothing, nowhere, and nobody is safe from this menace.
To be clear, I think I’m one of the few that happens to be delighted by the remixes in and of themselves. Every time I hear “Berries and Cream” interwoven into a new song, I cackle in delight. My roommate braces herself from the room next door, prepared for an onslaught of sounds she can’t stand as I send her TikTok after TikTok from ten feet away. I don’t know why the trend just gets to me, but it does.
What makes me positively cringe is the little lad himself. Any visual appearance and it’s an internal fight over whether the sound is going to be worth what feels a little bit like getting stalked. I brace myself as I see a the #berriesandcream tag on my FYP, flinching when he appears and relaxing when he’s not involved. It’s like coming home and swearing you didn’t leave that light in the corner on; Is somebody about to jump out of the closet, or are you just losing your mind? Is the little lad about to dance across my screen, uninvited?
And now I have to worry about him invading my life where I would truly least expect it: Target. How could the little lad infiltrate the place I escape to when I am drowning in boredom? The racks I love to mindlessly browse until I have seven new shirts I don’t need? The outfits I’m unfailingly drawn to, muttering, “Oh, that’s so cute!” as I head to what I actually came to Target for?
Now it’s like war flashbacks. I see his face on every blank white head, and half expect them to start dancing. I’d like to call a meeting with Target’s social media managers, designers, purchasers and etcetera, because this can’t be a coincidence. Vogue did not account for Peter Pan collars in their 2021 fall style trend roundup. Neither did Harper’s Bazaar or InStyle. I fully believe in breaking away from the crowd and wearing what you want, but hear me when I say that little lad chic does not count. If you’re going to mine TikTok for content, be smarter about your inspirations – the little lad’s outfit is not what made him a trendsetter. The last thing I want to do is put on my cute little button up and my funky moto jacket, look in the mirror to check my hair, and realize that I’ve inadvertently prepared for a day of berries and cream jokes and my roommate avoiding me at all costs.
Peter Pan collars are not the move in 2021, and there are no questions to be asked about it. Once upon a time this release would have had me feeling very cottagecore – the little ruffles, the fluttery material and the lacy accents all make for a fairytale dream (plus, they’re available in the prettiest autumnal colors, perfect for color-blocking). But I’m not sure I can ever look at a collar like this again and not feel immediately terrorized.
I don’t care about our history, Target. I don’t care about the outfits you’ve helped me build before or the savings you’ve provided me – you threw it all away with this one, and it’s going to take something amazing to win me back.