Is it Possible to Find Stylish Clothes at Kohl’s?

With $40 Kohl’s Cash in hand, I set out to find the answer.


The marketing worked—Kohl’s Cash got me in the door. | Lauren McGrath.

Not gonna lie: I got about 90 percent of my clothes from Kohl’s in middle school. (The other 10 percent were hand-me-downs.) By the time I hit high school, I found myself too sophisticated to shop the juniors section, but the women’s clothes were far too grown up for 15-year-old me. I clung to the LC Lauren Conrad pastels as long as I could, but it wasn’t enough to fill my shopping void anymore. Until this weekend, I hadn’t stepped foot inside a Kohl’s in about 10 years, but when mom gives you $40 in Kohl’s Cash — that is, free money that’s only spendable at Kohl’s — you give it another shot. Here’s what happened.

Kohls banner

Lauren McGrath.

Walking into the Warminster Kohl’s outpost gave me major flashbacks to shopping for my first school dance outfit in fifth grade — embroidered cami and denim skirt, if you’re wondering. It’s been a minute since I shopped for wardrobe items in a strip mall, so my expectations were low. Hey, I could always put the coupons towards socks and undies, right?

Kohls snakeskin

Lauren McGrath.

Pangs of nostalgia threatened to send me in a lap around the juniors section, but I refrained. As soon as I got to the women’s section, my immediate thought was, “Wow, this store loves snakeskin,”—especially the Jennifer Lopez line. (Yes, JLo has a line for Kohl’s.) Have I stumbled upon the unofficial sassy print of suburban moms?

Kohls cute

Lauren McGrath.

There were a few surprisingly trendy items in the women’s section, a breath of fresh air amid the slacks and office-appropriate tops. I wanted to try that scalloped coral blazer on, but like so many items there, only larges and XLs were available. Other items, like those cute pastel cross-body bags, seemed a little overpriced (around $40) given the quality.

kohls lace up

Lauren McGrath.

Lace-up sandals abounded in the shoe department. If you’re in the mood to really get down and dig through the boxes, you can find some great styles here. However, if you’re a size five like me, save your time and just skip the shoe department altogether.

Kohls sporty

Lauren McGrath.

Sporty vibes were the freshest-feeling trend over in the women’s section (fashion folk call this ‘athleisure’). Vera Wang’s diffusion line offers tons of options, like sweatshirt dresses, cardigans that look like boxing robes (in the best way possible), and boxy ponchos in lightweight cottons. I walked away with that sweatshirt dress on the right — paired with a few elevating accessories, it’s now my favorite work outfit. I cannot say enough about the actual athletics section at Kohl’s: It isn’t just basics by Champion anymore. The Nike selection is totally stacked; there’s really cute yoga gear from Gaiam and cool, funky-colored sportswear from Fila.

Kohls no

Lauren McGrath.

Some items had really good intentions, but missed the mark. I’m on the hunt for statement jacket, but the black lining and odd creme color landed this Elle jacket in the rejects pile. The LC dress was the saddest shade of pink I’ve ever worn and made me look like a child. (I’m aware that the sports bra doesn’t help, but yoga class was my next stop of the day so oh well.) Finally, going off of this spring’s eight biggest trends, I went for a striped shirtdress. Perhaps these were the wrong stripes, or you need to have model-length legs to pull of this silhouette. Regardless, this was a no for me as well.

kohls denim

Lauren McGrath.

The real winners at Kohl’s were light-washed denim. I’m wearing that middle shirt as I type this. When casual comfort also happens to look cute, I buy the damn thing. I also walked away with that chambray tank and a pair of light-washed boyfriend jeans, daydreaming of breezy summer afternoons.

All in all, shopping at Kohl’s was as exhausting as a trip to Marshalls, but well worth it. The Kohl’s Cash brought my total out-of-pocket bill to under $100 for three tops, a dress, and a pair of jeans. I’ll definitely be keeping the old strip mall stalwart in mind when I just don’t have the energy to deal with H&M.