But in a few cases, I honestly can't tell the rivals apart, at least not very well. For many years that was true for me when I considered J. Crew and the Gap. Their stores kinda looked the same (even smelled the same, if I remember correctly), their products/branding seemed to echo each other, and they both courted the same demographic.
This, of course, was before, Gap's surprising and awkward slide into the apparel abyss roughly a decade ago, when all they seemed to sell was baggy, boring, and more boring. Gap's loss of direction allowed J. Crew to break away from their older cousin and carve out a new, hip, fashion-forward identity. They eagerly gave Gap's adrift customers a port in the storm, a port so welcoming that most of us never looked back and even gave up shopping at the Gap altogether. Almost overnight, J. Crew became the darling of the higher-end mall fashion scene while Gap was left out in the cold, for good reason.
Recently, however, Gap has been clawing its way back into our good graces, revamping its stores and image and, most importantly, producing modern, unique, and covetable pieces. A few posts down I mentioned their silk peony skirt, which I recently saw in a store (it was GORGEOUS)...believe me when I say I'm counting down the minutes until payday. And before that, I wore their metallic tweed skirt (which is sadly no longer on their website) in an OOTD post, which is hands down my favorite skirt of all time. I wore it again yesterday and had about 3 people rave about it and demand to know where I bought it:
|Tuxedo/ruffle placket cardigan (J. Crew), metallic tweed skirt (Gap), dark heather grey tights (Kutsushitaya Japan)|
|Accessories by Tiffany&Co. and mayglobe Japan. This cut-glass necklace is probably my number one favorite...and I have a ton of necklaces.|
|Can you tell that I really love this outfit?|
Lastly, a quick shout-out to my awesome Mom who usually acts as my own personal logistics expert by forwarding any online purchases to me here in Tokyo. This J. Crew cardigan was in the last batch, along with the rust Traversa cardigan (which I'm so excited to wear later this week). I forget the exact name of the cardigan, but I know it's occasionally known as the "tuxedo cardigan." Unfortunately, a number of other J. Crew cardigans also go by that label, so I have no idea how to track down its official name. But whatever it's called, it's amazing. I LOVE J. Crew cardigans; they're super soft and there's no button pulling whatsoever. As you can see in the pictures, I buttoned it up all the way, which I usually don't do because most cardigans make me look boxy or top-heavy (damn you, 34Cs!) if fully buttoned, but not J. Crew. I don't know how they do it, but it works.
J. Crew cardis+Gap skirts= a marriage truly made in fashion heaven.
What do you guys think about J. Crew vs. the Gap? We don't have J. Crew in Japan, so I'd love to hear some better informed opinions!