Thursday, September 11, 2008

Into the Gap

If someone had told me last year that I'd be writing this post I would have said you're high on drugs, honey. Really, I say that. It's one of my over-used phrases that's been in high-rotation since the '80s.

Which, btw, was the last time The Gap did something interesting, IMO.

OK, not fair or true. I know. But I've had a real blah-on for this conglomerate (who'd call it fashion house?) for quite some time.

Brief history of K at the Gap:

c. 1980: I remember checking out a boutique version at some big department store (I think it was Bloomingdale's) while visiting family in NY. It was Ts and sweatshirts all the way. With the old time logo. I thought it was the bomb but my mother said it was sloppy so we didn't buy.

c.1990: It opened on Bloor Street in TO. They did some great boyfriend jeans.

c. 1997: I remember going to Gap during many lunch hours with my great friend Jennifer (who, btw, has just moved into a new, gorgeous house and whom I've been thinking of for weeks. Jen, I'm going to call you...). I think J would agree that it was the place then. I remember buying some very good high-waisted grey wool pants (v. Hepburn) I wore into the ground. They did some super blazers and jackets. The white blouse, of course, is ubiquitous still now.

c. 2002: The cannibal days when Banana and Old Navy cut into the market every which way. Let me clarify, I do like Banana Republic - when on sale, mostly - but I loathe Old Navy. Gap does everything at the same price (esp. when on sale) and the kids stuff at ON sucks. I don't really understand the point of all three of them. Don't suppose anyone does - esp. not the market pundits. Does the term "refocus" mean anything??

c.2008: I read that Mr. Patrick Robinson joined as VP Design and I thought "If anything can save this ailing behemoth in the era of H&M, TopShop, Zara and La Redoute, it's Mr. American Sportswear with an Edge himself." I really thought those exact words.

So I walked in there last week and, to my pleasure and surprise can report they've got some great basics at some great prices. And they are basics with a bit of modernity (but, which still retain the American chic on which the brand has prided itself (rightly or wrongly) these many years).

While it's not, perhaps, so smart to show the ad followed by a mediocre photo of oneself, you know how I like to live on the edge... Here are some pro-shot, tall-heeled trouser jeans I just bought at the Gap:

And here' they are on a, ahem, short, real girl wearing flats:


  1. Love the new jeans on you...the last time I was in the gap I was buying day dresses for my '96! I agree with you re: Old Navy. It's cheap crap for school girls who go through their stuff like such used tissues.

  2. I agree also about Old Navy. Utter crap. I hate Old Navy in a big way. But Gap... they're definitely getting better lately. I've bought some basics in the last month, and been well impressed. They are getting more street cred.

  3. We don't have Gap or Old Navy or Banana Republic in SA...neither do we have H&M, Forever 21, Target and Top Shop....I'd at least like to see them for myself, especially H&M, oh and Ikea would really be nice too. We are sooooo deprived *sigh*

  4. K., did you know that Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy, and Piperlime are all owned by the same parent company?

    You gotta love their stranglehold over all shopping demographics, from low to high. You gotta hate that all the stuff winds up looking the same.

    What do you think about that?

  5. Oops, I forgot to say how cute you look in the pants. I could never pull that off.

  6. Very nice! The cut is really nice. I'd love to check out their denim collection.

  7. We don't really have any of those brands here, my recollection of them from the states is that they were insanely boring. Maybe Gap has turned the corner though. Those jeans look really good on you!

  8. I like Old Navy. Over the last few years, I've preferred ON over Gap.

    Are those the jeans I tried on? They look a million times better on you.

  9. Gap is definitely looking better. I made two recent purchases there. Usually, I'll find one thing to buy once in a blue moon.

    But I have to restrict myself to their tops. Their bottoms are too big (hello, vanity sizing). Unless they've revamped that as well.

  10. The jeans look great on you. I agree Patrick Robinson has improved Gap's inventory. I ventured in for the first time in years recently and was (mostly) pleasantly surprised.
    For the price, I still prefer Zara or Topshop any day though.

  11. Tessa: Thanks! You've gotta check them out at least once a decade :-)

    Tea Lady: Glad to know I'm not alone in my opinions!

    Bronwyn: No IKEA?! That is rough. Can you order online at least? I like to think of SA as a beautiful place, uncorrupted by big box crap.

    Enc: Thanks. I did know they were related - just found out a while ago. It seems like such a bad idea as they all start eating into each other's market. But, if the Gap resurfaces with Patrick R, maybe that will change?

    Jill: The denim is very good right now. And very affordable. Did I mention I got these jeans on sale for $50?

    Skye: Gap was insanely boring. And crappy. But maybe it's on the upswing.

    Y: They are the same jeans. Thanks for your compliment. I think you couldn't find them in a small enough size to suit your petite frame.

    Thanks Wendy and Vanessa!

    Raven: Vanity sizing is still in effect. But they do have a zero. Maybe that would work? (I should have that problem!)

    IHeart: I agree that Zara is better. And I imagine so is TopShop but I've never had any access (though that might be about to change with the advent of TopShop in US.) Still, they are less basic - at least less "American chic" basic.

  12. What an analysis! As a consistent Gap shopper, I somehow lost all of this ebb and flow to familiarity. Or inattentiveness. Glad the shop is back in your good graces. With Zara taking over the top spot, they'll be grateful for your bizzzz.

  13. Sal: You know what a fashion intellectual I am :-) I HOPE they're grateful for my bizzz. K

  14. Maybe Gap will overtake BR; it'll be edgier than BR with PR at the helm, certainly. I'd love to see Gap step it up. Alas, it won't matter to me, as I can't fit into their stuff anyway. :(

  15. I wonder if that's going to happen E. They do have an edgier design VP now. Why doesn't the Gap fit. Are you too slim for the vanity sizing?? I'm starting to feel like the only woman in the world who isn't :-)

  16. you're reminding me again.. I was going to get a pair like that (feeling that they are going to be huge this season in OZ) but I couldn't find a right fit for me. You look fab in that..

    As for what enc said.. yep they probably are from the same factories as well. :)

  17. Just keep looking, Songy. It's a popular style and I'm sure the perfect version for you will come your way...