What should I buy at Kohl's and Land's End?
December 27, 2011 7:17 AM   Subscribe

I have about $150 to spend at Kohl's and $100 at Land's End. What kinds of women's clothing items (or possibly housewares) should I buy? What brands are good quality at Kohl's and which are cheap crap? Are shoes worth buying at either store?

  • I need some basic casual items like t-shirts, sweatshirts, socks, and underwear
  • I also need some basic layering items for a business casual environment, especially shirts that will go under cardigans
  • I'm not a girly-girl and I like dark colors
  • I prioritize soft and comfortable over fashionable
  • I'll fit in the normal range of sizes; I'm probably 4 or 6, XS or S
  • I don't need bath towels but I would consider bedsheets if they're amazing
  • I can order online or go to the store
posted by desjardins to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (45 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I like Land's End's Canvas line. The fits are a bit irregular, but their basic t-shirts are pretty decent.

As far as Kohl's, I'm of the opinion that there is very little of quality there.
posted by k8t at 7:18 AM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do you live somewhere that snows or rains? You need duck boots if you don't already have them. I've had mine for 15 or 20 years, they are still going strong.

Go to the store at Kohl's. They have plenty of name-brand stuff but you'll need to browse to find it and test the fit.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:20 AM on December 27, 2011

Any housewares are OK at Kohl's, but I would absolutely avoid their clothing and shoes. Look for "Made in USA" . You will not find "amazing" anything at Kohl's; it's just not that kind of store.

Your bullet points are Land's End personified. Lucky you, with a gift card! Too bad your amounts at each store aren't reversed!
posted by BostonTerrier at 7:23 AM on December 27, 2011

Stock up on undies and bedding at Kohl's.

I also found a leather handbag (Kohl's store brand, I think) for $40 or so a few weeks ago. I'm happy with it.
posted by Currer Belfry at 7:25 AM on December 27, 2011

The Lands End 6 oz. flannel sheets are pretty amazing.
posted by neroli at 7:26 AM on December 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

I just got this shell in the mail last week and it's really nice. I've had good luck with their scoopneck elbow-length t's for work but if you're about a 4-6, be sure to get the XS (in regular Land's End, I heard Canvas runs different). I'm about the same size and sometimes I'm swimming in an XS.
posted by jabes at 7:29 AM on December 27, 2011

Everything (clothes) at Kohl's is low quality. I still occasionally buy clothes there. I bought this cardigan and these earrings and wore them on Christmas day. They have some decent sneakers (New Balance, Keds, Converse) and some quality clothes like Levi jeans. If you are in the market for housewares I think they have a line of plain white dishes and serving pieces. Kohl's also have cute pajamas. Think about what you need as far as household items go. They have spatulas and appliances like toasters. They have decent bras and underwear if you need to stock up.

At Land's End I would buy something useful like a new windbreaker or some classic turtlenecks or v-neck sweaters in neutral colors.
posted by Fairchild at 7:30 AM on December 27, 2011

Land's End bathrobe!
posted by amber_dale at 7:32 AM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

N'thing do not buy any clothes at Kohls. Maybe you could get everyone you know socks for life. (The thought of having to spend $150 there is almost funny, in a cruel joke kind of way.)

At Lands End, tote bags. They last forever and are so useful. (And fabulously ironically preppy, if you're not preppy yourself.)
posted by DestinationUnknown at 7:38 AM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

The problem I have with Kohl's solid t-shirts for layering under cardigans is that they are all 100 percent cotton or cotton/poly and have no spandex. I like a bit of stretch in my layering t-shirts. They hug the body and do not stretch out or look boxy. Land's End has a lot of t-shirts that have spandex. I love this combination of fibers.
posted by Fairchild at 7:38 AM on December 27, 2011

i bought a whole bunch of vera wang underwear at kohls last time i needed to spend a gift card there. Not fancy but certainly functional. Do they still carry Ralph Lauren chaps? Not high end but you can sometimes find a cute patterned skirt or some decent tshirts in that line.

No it's not designer stuff that will last you a lifetime, but you can find some basic pieces that arent' bad to mix in with your better items if you are open minded and creative or possibly something so trendy that you won't want to wear it for more than a year or 2 anyway.
posted by domino at 7:41 AM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

+1 socks at Kohl's. They carry Gold Toe and the major athletic brands. The clothes there are dismal.
posted by CheeseLouise at 7:41 AM on December 27, 2011

Or maybe you could do a gift card swap for somewhere you'd prefer? Evidently plasticjungle.com pays 82% for Kohl's gift cards.
posted by CheeseLouise at 7:45 AM on December 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

I got a pair of Sketchers at Kohl's that I love, they are my weekend shoes. But DO NOT BUY PUMPS there, they are plastic for heaven's sake. Kohl's has very good sweaters, but you should go in person.
posted by slmorri at 7:46 AM on December 27, 2011

As far as housewares, you will probably not regret having a good cast iron skillet, or dutch oven.
posted by timsteil at 7:47 AM on December 27, 2011

I've had really good luck with the cardigans at Lands End, as far as business casual goes. They've lasted longer than the colors have been in style, frankly. I'd hold off on those though until their spring line comes in, I was hoping to point to particular styles on their website and it appears to be slim pickings until they restock post-holiday sales. Their cashmere isn't worth it, imo, and their wools can be of varying thicknesses, but their cotton blends are good. I picked up a cotton blend cable cardigan that is so soft, I've taken to sleeping in it when I'm sick.

I'd use the Kohl's money on housewares, perhaps something large. We've got a carpet shampooer (Bissel) that we picked up there on sale a few years ago that works great. I believe they also carry Fiestaware if you're in need of some brightly colored dishes.
posted by librarianamy at 7:52 AM on December 27, 2011

Kohl's carries Keurigs. If you watch their sales carefully, you can do fairly well. If you get Kohl's bucks from the purchase, you can go back the following week and score a great deal on K-cups.

Most shoes kill my feet. But I live in these (waterproof!) Lands End mocs.
posted by gnomeloaf at 7:58 AM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Never buy anything for full price at Kohl's. They seem to run sales every week or so, which is the only way things come down to a reasonable price. (Seriously - I think their regular prices are about double what they should be.) You should also check retailmenot.com for a printable coupon. I think I got a "50% off anything" one a few days ago.

We have some Lands End flannel sheets which have lasted forever and stayed soft.
posted by belladonna at 7:59 AM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nthing Land's End for clothes. I've never been to a Kohl's, but housewares and underwear sound like a good idea.

I do not recommend shoes from Land's End! Maybe boots or foul-weather shoes.

And I find their cashmere to be scratchy. As far as other clothes, go for it.
posted by jgirl at 8:42 AM on December 27, 2011

Kohl's is fine for fun clothes, like Old Navy, so if you want trendy and don't want to pay a lot for it it's fine. I like their Champs brand jeans. They also carry Levi's. Certainly, you can't buy a Burberry coat, but you can find a cute, trendy sweater or top, a decent little throw-on jacket. Things last longer if you wash on gentle and hang to dry.

Housewares stuff is fine. They carry Vera Wang sheets (800 thread count) and cookware.
posted by shoesietart at 8:43 AM on December 27, 2011

Kohl's carries Fiestaware, if that's your thing. They also carry many mainstream fragrances, and unlike most other perfume outlets, will apply their coupons & discounts to them.
posted by apparently at 8:52 AM on December 27, 2011

Disclaimer: I used to work at Kohl's.

Kohl's stuff can be pretty abysmal as far as clothing goes. I had to toss quite a few items in my 4 years of working there, but then again, I'd usually purchase when the discounts were the best, so I got a lot of cheap stuff. Go for some nice housewares-- they carry the OXO line, which is really nice. The Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray stuff is pretty, but overpriced (in my opinion). Don't buy the store brand sheets (i.e. Sonoma, The Big One), they don't wear very well, and I get softer, cheaper sheets from Wal-Mart via their Canopy brand. The pillows have worked out well for me; I got 2 down surround pillows from there, and they fluff up nicely a year later. Towels are ok, hubby and I are still using them. I kind of wish I could have gotten some bath sheets.

Picture frames can be nice, so can the wall art they carry, but I'm artsy and tend to just make my own, so YMMV.

I did get some cheap luggage there that's held up pretty well, but no idea on the brand.

Also, unless you get the 30% off coupon, or can find it for the web at retailmenot.com, don't bother shopping during the "scratch-off" sales. They jack up the prices to compensate for the deep discounts.

As for Land's End, hubby and I recently got fantastic winter jackets to keep us warm in the lovely winters we have here in the Northeast, and based on mine and Momma Verdandi's experiences with Land's End, their stuff lasts FOREVER. Definitely get a nice jacket, maybe some slippers or cardigans too. You won't regret it. Keep an eye out for sales, they recently had a $40 off of $100 sale, which got us the jackets for a steal.
posted by Verdandi at 8:55 AM on December 27, 2011 [3 favorites]

Land's End is known for high quality, relatively inexpensive cashmere. That's where I'd put my money -- one excellent cashmere sweater.
posted by thinkpiece at 9:06 AM on December 27, 2011

I got a down winter coat from Land's End that bundles up small enough to fit into its own inside pocket and is still warm enough for bitter NYC winters. I also got a bunch of slipper-y socks from them that are fucking awesome.
posted by elizardbits at 9:07 AM on December 27, 2011

Kohl's has very good sweaters.

This has not been my experience. Every sweater I got there got stretched to hell after a few washes.

If you don't see anything you like there, you could always ask the local women's shelter if they'd like your card (or would give you a list of things they need) and then you could blow it all on undies, bras, etc. for people who really need it. That would be a pretty fun way to spend it.

Everything I have from Lands End refuses to die or wear out. Get something you love because you're going to have it for a loong time.
posted by emjaybee at 9:14 AM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't care for LE cashmere - it pills very easily, IME. It's certainly better than a lot of other inexpensive cashmere (and frankly, anything under about $250 for a cashmere sweater new is inexpensive...that's not to say that I buy a lot of new cashmere, I just have some nice used sweaters from Ebay.) Their woven cotton shirts are very good quality, most of the time - watch out for fancy fabrics and voiles, since those tend to be cheaper. I like their slim-leg pants but the fit is idiosyncratic. Honestly, if I had to spend money at Land's End, I'd get some cotton sweaters, the more basic the better - maybe just men's ones, since you can usually get away with those at work. Even there, the quality has crashed in recent years, which is pretty sad.
posted by Frowner at 9:29 AM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, LE's heavy sailor-striped shirts are really nice, though. If you like sailor stripes at all, go for those.
posted by Frowner at 9:31 AM on December 27, 2011

I like LE t-shirts, they have some that are sorta fancy tees. Nice fabric, nice construction.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 9:58 AM on December 27, 2011

I just bought a bunch if the Land's End tote bags and they are GREAT. Super sturdy and well-made and in lots of colors and sizes. I also buy a lot of LE for my 3-yr old but that may not be applicable to you.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:05 AM on December 27, 2011

Lands End is sold at Sears. I wonder if you can use your gift cert there. I buy lots of Lands end stuff there at about 75% off on sale.

Also even half off at is Kohls is more than I pay at Costco for the same items. Look for their big sales.
posted by beccaj at 10:39 AM on December 27, 2011

Kohl's has a very good selection of bras. It's my go to store for those. They also have a good selection of brand name appliances.
posted by SLC Mom at 11:10 AM on December 27, 2011

I don't care for LE cashmere - it pills very easily, IME. Ooh, sorry to hear that, wonder if it's a recent development? I have 2 mens v-necks, 3 years old and they're both holding up well.
posted by thinkpiece at 11:15 AM on December 27, 2011

I've bought several items of the Chaps brand at Kohl's and been pretty happy with them, especially the jeans and jean-cut cords. I also bought a leather purse there several years ago, on sale for $40, down from $80. I'm not a "purse switcher" so I carry it almost every day. It seems to be of good quality and is holding up well.
posted by Dolley at 11:15 AM on December 27, 2011

I can't speak for most of the clothing at Kohl's, but I found my wife what she considers to be the most awesome Christmas slippers ever there this year. Exceedingly comfortable, apparently.
posted by markkraft at 11:58 AM on December 27, 2011

My husband and I have bathrobes from Kohl's, and we're happy with both of them. His bathrobe is very heavy, absorbent, and warm. Mine is not as fabulous as his, but I do like it. So maybe look at the bathrobe section?
posted by Coatlicue at 12:01 PM on December 27, 2011

Lands End is perfect for long-term basics...polos, button-down shirts, etc. They are well-made, fit relatively generously, and last for years.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:39 PM on December 27, 2011

Lands End has excellent sales, especially right now. I buy all of my layering t-shirts there. They have some nicely fitted, comfortable but not boxy, super soft t-shirts. I also really like their ponte knit line. It's all knits that look nice enough for work, but they're as comfortable as PJ's, machine washable and refuse to wrinkle. Their sweaters are nice, but tend to not look very good straight out of the package. They get much better after washing. They also have great fleece.

They do tend to run large, so you'll probably want to get XS. The nice thing is you can return their stuff at Sears if it doesn't fit!

I don't know if I would buy shoes there, except for snow boots. They do have some nice clogs right now.
posted by apricot at 1:23 PM on December 27, 2011

Kohls is a pretty standard department store. They almost certainly have a mailing list; get on it, and shop when they have sales on stuff you like/want. I wear petite sizes, Kohls has a decent selection.

I'm on the Lands End e-mail list, and get an occasional notice of free shipping and good sales (among the notices for stuff I don't want/need). I've bought bathing suites, tshirts, shoes, jackets, fleece, etc., always on sale. They have a good guarantee, and you can return at Sears with no hassle. You might be able to order Lands end at Sears, and avoid shipping.
posted by theora55 at 1:50 PM on December 27, 2011

When I moved to the frozen northeast, I bought a nice heavy down coat from Lands End. $150 there vs $600 at a lot of other companies, and the Lands End coat is still in great shape (even how it looks) today.
posted by criacow at 2:11 PM on December 27, 2011

Kohl's sometimes has some printed cotton t-shirts that are kind of nice. I like some of the prints, and the cotton seems reasonably stretchy. Mine seem to have held up pretty well. They are "Croft and Barrow" mark.
posted by amtho at 2:22 PM on December 27, 2011

I would vote no on Kohl's bras - I have several, and they are generally garbage.

I do buy some of their clothes, though - it is cheap and cute, but doesn't usually last too long.

They have good deals on kitchen electrics and tools, though.
posted by firei at 3:22 PM on December 27, 2011

I like to get jeans at Kohl's - they carry Levis and Lee, and I like their Sonoma jeans too. I've also gotten some good underwear and socks there.

I'm with those who say to wait until things go on sale (which they do regularly). I've found good things on the clearance rack
posted by SisterHavana at 3:44 PM on December 27, 2011

I've been happy with my Land's End tights and camisoles.
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:26 PM on December 27, 2011

Well, I went through about $125 of my $150 at Kohl's. A couple of the shirts won't last long (Sonoma), but at $6, who cares. That's almost as cheap as Goodwill. I think the best bargains were on Gold Toe socks and Barely There underwear. I know from experience those last awhile. Also snagged a tablecloth for $10 on holiday clearance, but it doesn't look Christmasy so I can use it year-round.

Haven't made it to Land's End yet, but I'm thinking of getting these shoes. I have literally four pairs of winter boots. Also this shirt and perhaps this (will I have to iron it?).
posted by desjardins at 5:37 PM on December 27, 2011

I have several LE no iron dress shirts, two are at least 3 years old ( washed weekly, if not more), and they still look great and never need ironing. I have no idea what technology might be involved to make them (deals with supernatural forces is my best guess) but the lack of ironing and perfect creases right out of the dryer has been wonderful. I've never ironed any of them, not once. YMMV.
posted by southpaw at 7:02 PM on December 27, 2011

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