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Disenchantment (Consumer)

Call me crazy, but I actually like jeans from the Gap. Or I used to... which is what this post is about.

A number of years ago, the Gap came out with these stretch bootcut jeans that were GREAT. I immediately bought a selection of them. I liked the length (on me, tended to be slightly long, even in regular; but also came in tall). I liked where the waist fell. I had decided that I love bootcut and that all my pants henceforth must be bootcut. (I have always, always loathed tapered-ankle pants. Loathe. The 80s weren't good to me.) And the stretch fabric was fabulous -- reasonably heavy and sturdy-feeling, but with just a little bit of stretchiness for comfort.

A year or so later when I decided that I needed a new pair of sandblast jeans in a slightly-larger size, all this was still true.

A couple of years after that, I branched out, and bought some more jeans from Gap that were more flare than bootcut, a little; that were a bit lower-rise, maybe. In my head I considered those "fashion" jeans, though, not "staple" jeans. So I was willing to put up with the fact that the stretch denim used in them was... a bit thinner, a bit less sturdy-feeling than in my previously-purchased basic, original, bootcuts.

This week, my favorite pair of basic, sandblast Gap bootcut jeans succumbed to an odd split down the seat, largely along the edge of the inner seam of the back pocket. (Odd, because that wasn't where I would have expected them to split.) What's also odd is that -- this was the larger pair I'd gone to get a few years ago, and lately they'd been kind of loose on me and I was just sort of thinking about maybe going to get a pair one size down... ergo, they didn't split because they were so tremendously overstrained. I don't even recall noticing them splitting. It was odd to take them off and find this gaping hole. Also, the "when did that happen, and for how long was I walking around today with my underwear gapingly visible?" thing.

So... fine. Am bummed, because I've now had those jeans for a sufficient number of years that they are The Perfect Softness. You know the kind I mean. But the split is in such a place that it doesn't look like there's a suave way to fix them and just go on with life. So. Go to the Gap to pick up a new pair. And here is where the subject line of this post comes into play.

Look, Gap. I realize you are all trendy and shit. In a way, I appreciate that. But my point is -- fine, debut all the trendy new jeans you like. Sometimes, I may buy them (see above). But DO NOT get rid of the STAPLES, dammit.

The upshot is that I could not, for love or money, find the GOOD kind of stretch bootcut jeans. Two options seem to be left. One is bootcut jeans, non-stretch. And the other is stretch bootcuts, but in the slightly thinner, less sturdy fabric, PLUS not in your basic jeans-color normal old sandblast any more, only in stuff like "whiskered authentic", whatever the hell that means. And maybe that's nice but it's not BASIC, which is what I want. The only classic-jeans-looking sandblast left are the non-stretch kind, which... fine. Fine. I'll go with that. But it's not the saaaaaaaame.

Is it honestly too much to ask of big, stable clothing companies that they carry some basic items, and just KEEP carrying those, in addition to whatever wacky fashionable mutant versions they want to carry in any given year?

This is, of course, I rant I have always made regarding hair-care and skin-care products. It's the same principle. I want what I want, dammit. I worked hard to find the thing that works for me. I don't want to have to do all the legwork to reinvent the wheel every couple of years. *grump*



( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 7th, 2005 11:44 am (UTC)
Felt that same way when Target got rid of their Cherokee brand stretch jeans. They did something similar with the quality, too - I once tore a hole in the jeans by pulling the sewed-on 'tag' that goes on the outside of the jeans off. Ripped about an inch-and-a-half gap in the seat of the jeans. Brand-freakin' new, so of course I took 'em back.

Would still love to have access to them. They used to fit so well.
Oct. 7th, 2005 12:06 pm (UTC)
Yikes! But yeah, that's kind of the way the fabric in the newer stretch jeans from Gap feel to me, too. More stretch than denim, like it might rip somewhat easily.

Oct. 7th, 2005 11:48 am (UTC)
They've stopped making the underwear I like. The new brand is...Okay But Different And Lesser. I sympathize.
Oct. 7th, 2005 12:06 pm (UTC)
Ooooooooh! *squinch eyes* It SUCKS when that happens to underwear.

I have about eight skillion pairs of the exact kind that I prefer from Jockey... and if they ever stop making them, I will be SO IRRITATED.
Oct. 7th, 2005 11:48 am (UTC)
See, that's just irritating as hell. Jeans come in two very different types: staples and fashion/dressy jeans, and NOBODY should have to re-establish what their "staple" jeans are once they've finally found THE pair that fit. Most grumpifying.
Oct. 7th, 2005 12:07 pm (UTC)
My POINT. Grrr.
Oct. 7th, 2005 12:01 pm (UTC)
Try Old Navy!
Oct. 7th, 2005 12:13 pm (UTC)
Two problems with this...

One: I am not, at this point, sufficiently knowledge about Old Navy as a retailer, to have enough faith in them to rely on them for an ongoing staple item. I have on occasion gone to them for fashion items. But I don't know them nor do I have a long enough relationship with them to have FAITH that, if they do have the exact perfect jeans that I want right now (in the breadth of selection that I want, too), that they will still be carrying those 5 years from now or 10 years from now when I need them again. That was a faith that I *had* in the Gap... and the point upon which they are betraying me.

Two: I should perhaps have made clearer that yeah, I'm aware that my primary option right now (besides bitching) is going around and figuring out what new retailer becomes the one that I think capable of supplying me with what I want right now and of continuing to meet my needs in the future... and that process just irritates the HELL out of me. Maybe it's Old Navy. Maybe it's LL Bean. Maybe it's Eddie Bauer. Maybe it's... I dunno, but the mere fact that, having figured this out once, I have to go through the process of figuring it out again, and then I have to take a complete chance on the new vendor... grrr. That's a big part of my grumpiness.
Oct. 7th, 2005 12:15 pm (UTC)
Another option: check The Garment District huge selection of jeans for those favorites to replace the now deceased pair. I've gotten some great standards there.
Oct. 7th, 2005 12:37 pm (UTC)
Well... I have a replacement pair, now. I defaulted to the non-stretch bootcut (in the right finish).

The additional problem is -- the Garment District gives me hives. Too much selection, too many variables. The opposite of my ideal shopping experience.

I guess it would behoove me to explain that this is my idiosyncracies as a shopper intersecting with retail experiences. What I *WANT*: exactly the thing that I have (after much research) determined I want/need, reliably, without too much fuss. There are infrequently times when I will put up with a peripathetic shopping experience... but that's almost never related to my desire for basic, staple items.

What I'm bitching about in part here is the way the Gap failing to continue to carry the thing that I already know works and that I want forces me into doing more work than I want to do, to find the next-best alternative. It strains my time and patience, to have to grab 8 pairs off the shelf and go try on the various combinations to find the adequate alternative.

The Garment District, and Oonas, and experiences like those, are thus even more deadly to my patience level, when it comes to wanting One Particular Thing.

I also really value being able to know the map of a retailer and going in and navigating to exactly what I want -- because of the experience and knowledge I've accumulated with them in the past, the relationship I've built. Conversely, having to "hack" a new retailer makes me anxious and irritated. And retailers like GD, which are at the chaotic end of the spectrum, make me more nuts still.

I have to be in a particular mood to hit Garment District. And with regard to my staple jeans, I don't have that mood. I just have enormous irritation that I know EXACTLY what I want but it's being denied to me, and that tends to make me a hostile consumer anyway. I'm not saying they might not indeed have precisely what I want. But I'd have a hard time finding it, because I have such a narrow definition of what I want, and I walk in there and it's Too Many Choices, and I get grumpy REAL fast.

I never said I wasn't a weird, pain in the ass consumer.
Oct. 7th, 2005 12:40 pm (UTC)
A lot of people are this way and I am, too, about some things. There's a scent at Bath and Body works that I love, I know it works for me, I know where it is on the wall... I just found out it's being discontinued. My life is now that much harder in that particular department..

But I'm also adventurous and rummaging through racks full of bizarre 70's throw-backs is my idea of a good time in most cases, so I'm weird in that part of things!
Oct. 7th, 2005 12:51 pm (UTC)
That's just it -- I have to be in a particular mood to have fun rummaging through racks of 70s throwback stuff. It's not that I'm not in that mood sometimes. But it's seldom related to the "I have to replace this basic, staple piece of my wardrobe" need.

I usually go into Garment District or Oonas for one of two reasons. One, because I'm not looking for anything in particular, it's just for fun browsing. Two, because I'm looking for a particular offbeat thing and I'm taking the chance on them, and I know that going in. Neither is related to the "I want something very very particular, and to know whether I have found it or not, I would have to try on every pair of size 14 and size 16 jean that they have" -- that's what sends me screaming into the night.

Oh man, I hear you on the B&BW scent thing. I went through a similar thing recently, where my sense of smell drastically changed for a 2-year period, and I could no longer actually discern the scene of the shower gel that has been my favorite for about 15 years. I'm sighing with relief because I have mostly gotten back the ability to smell it again, which means I can use it again. (I couldn't use it before, because while I coudln't smell the perfume, I *could* smell the underlying chemics and they smelled *horrible* to me.)

I swear to god, If Crabtree & Evelyn ever discontinues their Spring Rain shower gel, I will descend upon their corporate headquarters with a mob armed with torches and pitchforks and the little rakey things.

(But it seems unlikely, as they've been making that line, with few variations of ingredients, for at least 20 years.)
Oct. 7th, 2005 12:29 pm (UTC)
I feel your pain. Fortunately, I get to find staples on both sides of the Atlantic. Eddie Bauer and LL Bean (USA) for tops, Marks and Spencer (UK) for staple jeans and underwear. M&S sell the exact Good stretch bootcut jeans you describe in their "fancy designer" range. If you can get to an M&S, try them. The Capricorn in me, of course, means I'll go and buy 4 pairs of the exact same thing so that I doesn't run out. I'm very boring. ;o)
Oct. 7th, 2005 12:45 pm (UTC)
Er... M&S would appear not to have any United States retail locations. And jeans and shoes are two things that I will no longer buy unless I can try them on first.

Besides -- part of my point is not that I don't think I *can* find a replacement pair (I've gotten a semi-adequate replaecment pair from Gap already, but only semi), or a replacement retailer who offers an adequate product and with whom I can develop a "long-term" relationship...

Part of my bitching is that this is just becoming the story more and more -- that you can't form a long-term relationship with a vendor in regards any particular staple item. Hell, LL Bean has bootcut jeans, now. But I'm even wary about whether they will have the same jeans 5 years from now or 10 years from now. And LL Bean is one of the most stable retailers I can think of.

And the other part of the bitching is -- yeah, I know I *can* find replacements. I'm grumpy because I'm being forced to go to that effort. It's the effort I hate. I already *went* to the effort and *found* the thing I want. I'm annoyed at having to do that every 5 years, or whatever.
Oct. 7th, 2005 12:56 pm (UTC)
In that case, I *DO* I feel your pain. {{{HUGS}}}
Oct. 7th, 2005 02:05 pm (UTC)
I was going to suggest checking gap.com, because I'm pretty sure I wear the same jeans you're talking about, and last time I checked online, they still had them. But. *sigh* The website is down and says they're updating "features," so who knows what will be on the new site once it comes up.

My other suggestion is to check 1) Gap outlet stores, which often have discontinued styles, and 2) eBay. Most eBay sellers give you the Gap size listed on the tag, as well as waist, hip, rise, and inseam measurements (if they're not in the listing, most will give them if you email and ask). I've had really good luck buying jeans on eBay.
Oct. 12th, 2005 09:27 am (UTC)
Huh! That's an idea... my only problem with getting them from eBay is that mostly they're used, which makes me just a *trifle* nervous. Of course, in most cases, they'd be dirt cheap, so it'd be worth it even if their being used means that you don't really know how much more life you'll get out of them.

I had, in fact, been up in Freeport ME the weekend before and searched the Gap outlet there, to no avail. That discouraged me, and at the time I wasn't yet aware that the retail store would fail me. If I'm ambitious I might try the outlet mall to the south, which I think has a slightly larger store.
Oct. 7th, 2005 02:58 pm (UTC)
Ugh, I totally feel your pain. I hate shopping for clothes anyway, so when I find something that fits and doesn't annoy me, I want to keep buying it. But no, it goes "out of fashion" according to some arbitrary rule, and then I have to start trying things on again.

I'm so ignorant- what is "bootcut"?
Oct. 12th, 2005 09:23 am (UTC)
Hey! Hi!

"Bootcut" is where the pants leg flares out a little, starting a little bit below the knee. So it's not really a true 70s flare or bell-bottom, but the ankle opening is a little wider than the rest of the pants leg. Supposed to facilitate the leg fitting over tall boots, hence the name. The fashionable way to wear them, too, is a little bit longer than average.

(Of course, the fashion *this* year is for pants tucked *into* tall boots, which this cut doesn't work so well with. Go figure.)

I personally like this fit because, in the first place, I loathe pants that are tight around my ankles; and, I just think the fit is more flattering on me. It makes my legs seem a little bit longer, and I think it's supposed to be a little slimming for the thighs, or something. maxineofarc remarked, when I first got these jeans, that they're kind of a "Clydesdale" look for women -- but strangely flattering.
Oct. 7th, 2005 09:52 pm (UTC)
I feel your Gap pain! They had my perfect jeans and discontinued them. I think I cried the day my final pair got a hole in them. I've run around for the past two years in Levi's 512's, and I've managed to convince myself that these are my new perfect jeans, but deep in my heart, I know it was the Gap jeans I used to have.
Oct. 12th, 2005 09:25 am (UTC)
*nods* You know, I notice they don't seem to carry button-fly for women any more, either. Alas.

I've been considering whether to try to navigate the Levi's system. They might have something perfectly good. It's just... learning a whole new system, you know?
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )