After spending some time on The Gap website the other day, looking at their denim tuxedos, I’ve figured out The Gap Conundrum.
What is The Gap Conundrum? It’s deceptive in its simplicity. Basically, it boils down to the question: why is The Gap so terrible, when so much of what they sell are basics?
I almost feel bad posting about The Gap. It’s like picking on 9th grade me for wearing a denim tuxedo – it’s just too easy. Their declining sales have been widely publicized for years. They clearly can’t figure out who their market is, or what they want their niche to be. More often than not, their styling choices lean more toward “wrinkled and ill-fitting.” And that is the problem.
This does not look appealing. I do not want to wear this shirt. It does not look like it fits the model right. I don’t care how happy she is while wearing it, there’s no reason that the arm holes should be so low that they create that kind of pulling and folding through the chest.
This is a t-shirt from J.Crew. It’s $6 more, but look at the difference in fit. See how it looks crisp? That is because it fits, and that is what The Gap fails at. None of their womenswear looks like it fits.
This is another shot of their “Favorite Stretch T.” My only thought: If I wanted to buy a shirt that’s not fitted, I’d shop at Eileen Fischer.
I’ve bought perfectly fitting t-shirts from Forever 21 before, and those were $5, so this isn’t a case where price determines accuracy of the fit. No, this is a problem with The Gap.
What’s interesting is, from what I can tell, their fit on men’s clothing appears to be fine. It’s hard to say for sure, because they seem adverse to posting pictures of male models wearing their clothes, but from the few pictures I’ve seen, the clothes seem to fit the men better.
So, where’s the disconnect? Why is J.Crew capable of making a t-shirt that, at least on the model, appears to live up to the title of “perfect T”, while the Gap struggles to make the style work on women who exist solely to look good in clothing?
It’s too bad. I remember the Gap heyday, when people would randomly start swing dancing in the streets while wearing khakis. That was the influence of The Gap.
Now, I can’t remember the last time I bought something from The Gap. Okay, I take that back. I think I bought a belt from them once.
Maybe I’m misguided here. Maybe the problem with The Gap isn’t in their ill-fitting staples and unappealing styling.
But honestly, I don’t know a single person who isn’t always looking for a good basic t-shirt. If they could fill that niche – if they could get back to the clothes that fit right and look sharp – I’d start shopping there again. And given how many t-shirts I have in my drawer, my business would probably help a lot.