You know what rhymes with Gap? Nap. That’s what their clothes often inspire me to do. Of course, this is coming from someone who recently thrifted a silk blouse printed with realistic-looking lemons. Still. We all need love, respect, and great denim. A normal person can look to Gap for one of those needs.
What makes their denim worth being at a mall? The cuts are flattering, it feels and looks more expensive than it is, and I don’t mind slipping with ease into what they call a size 0.
Have I overlooked a case of ringworm? My favorite pair of jeans as a bony 13-year-old (Mudd flared hiphuggers, as I recall, heavily whiskered with bleach) were a size 0. I’m kind of small for an American woman, but very few people who are old enough to buy beer and who don’t have a carb phobia are zeros.
American Eagle also has vanity sizing. I know this from a trusty pair of jeans my sister stole out of a lost-and-found box for me.
Are these companies raking in more money by catering to women’s insecurities? Shopping phenomena are out there: I will like a dress at its clearance price more than I would have liked it at full price; I won’t feel as attractive in a skirt if I have to inexplicably go up 2 sizes for it to look right. It’s not logical, but it’s powerful.
I don’t even know how to feel about it. It’s like your boyfriend telling you he thinks you’re hotter than Megan Fox. So sweet! So dubious!
And it’s getting out of hand. During that trip to Gap, I tried on a skirt. The waistband was full of, uh, gaps. I felt pretty embarrassed (fraudulent, even) when the sales associate yelled across the store that she checked inventory for me, but there were no double 0’s left in that style. I imagined all the other Memorial weekend shoppers stopping to A) passively hate me, then B) laugh at me trying to fit my ass into that size, and finally C) look down at their own purchases with those ego-boosting numbers stitched into the labels.
I have a hunch this is mostly an American thing. Weight norms have shifted here. While technical measurements in inches can’t change, sizes have a history of doing so. Ask anyone who buys vintage. She’ll know that a size 8 garment from at least the 1950s or earlier will fit more like a modern 4. There goes that over-repeated fun fact about Marilyn Monroe being a size 10. Is the fashion industry going to keep slowly shifting the numbers until we’re all buying pants in size negative 2?
Musings aside, if you’re looking for a pair of pretend-you’re-very skinny jeans, I’d recommend Gap. Besides, they’re having a sale through June 6 in which you get 40% off your whole in-store purchase (excluding full price jeans).
Cropped Legging Jeans in Faded Indigo Wash, $44.99 online, $21.99 in store, I paid $13.19
I’d buy these even if they were labeled as maternity jeans. That’s how perfect the wash and fit of these are. Comfy, versatile, and by cropped they mean perfect for shorties who don’t want cuffing or ankle bunching.
My other pick:
1969 Apron Skirt, regularly $49.95, $29.97 with discount
What’s more summery or harder to make chic than a jean miniskirt? This one’s lovely. The denim is lightweight enough to swing and drape- like chambray, but softer. Add a high waist, cute pockets, and look: sophistication where you least expected it.
I also spotted shorts with pocket lining made of crocheted lace peeking out the leg openings. And, obviously, simple basics abound. Hit it up. You’ll get to size down.
In conclusion, dear Gap, it’s okay if you confuse my hip circumference with that of a little girl whose coach faked her birth certificate so she could be on the Chinese Olympic gymnastic team.
Heck, I confuse myself with a stripper every time I almost buy a pair of sparkly gold platform heels.