The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Controversy: J. Crew or Gap

    Fall is almost here, which invariably means that a new season of clothing is about to emerge from the hands of clothing manufacturers nationwide. So what does our fashion-forward town need to know in order to fit in this semester? Heaven only knows, but I think I have an idea. Forget Prada. Forget Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan and Yves Saint Laurent. Forget the weirdo fashion designers and the thrift stores. Throw down a decent amount of money and get what you paid for. Look to the backbone of fashion and the very heart of the bourgeois and see J. Crew and Gap. These two stores constantly war with each other over the fashion loyalty of their Generation X and beyond buyers. But is one better than the other? Is there even a difference, besides price?
    When I think of J. Crew, I find images of skinny girls in peasant shirts juxtaposed with practical women in finely-cut business suits and interesting overcoats. I think chic, class, urban cowboys and mod-squad hippies.
    Gap, however, evokes different images, and rightly so. Gap is a standard. They have jeans, slacks, sweaters and socks. They also have nifty purses, fun t-shirts, backpacks, satchels and a sister relationship with Old Navy-the bastion of bargain prices and funky flip-flops.
    Not only is Gap girl understated and clean, she’s also put together with a timeless taste that is the very picture of new-age orthodoxy. While Gap-wearer may branch out into the realm of funky stripes or an occasional pair of ultra-low hip-hugging jeans, she knows that what she wears is legit and will meet with enthusiastic acceptance in most any casual setting.
    Plus, the sales at this store are incredible-there are several Gap stores in my hometown, and on any given day at any of the stores, there is bound to be a sale-section containing quality clothing marked down to prices of less and way-less than twenty dollars. It’s quite thrilling to enter the store and spend less than ten dollars on shirts that I know I will wear time and time again. Go, Gap, go.
    Still, J. Crew requires further examination. This store goes a step beyond the orthodox styles of Gap and uses wools, synthetics, gold thread, lower-cut shirts, extra ruffles and many more attention-getting flares in their clothing. They mix the suburban classicism of Gap with a downtown look-at-me edge. This manufacturer doesn’t want your eyes to stop on my face when you see me; they want your eyes to be drawn to my shirt’s interesting cuffs, seams and cut. They want you to notice how the shirt I’m wearing hugs my body and makes me look different and special. They experiment with asymmetry and clashing colors. They go out on the limbs of the status quo to bring forth exciting seasonal clothing, accessories and shoes.
    When I walk into the wooden-floored haven of my hometown J. Crew, I see lights, action and mixes of fabrics and styles. The selection of dresses at J. Crew ranges from simple, around-the-house comfort to first-date-at-a-nice-restaurant cool to graduation-reception stoicism. J. Crew gives a twist to the basics. But the best thing about J. Crew is that even in the most risquZ of its outfits, you’ll still fit in. You’ll still be OK. You’ll just have an extra puff in your sleeve, and that’s what matters.
    So, which is better? Need anyone even ask? J. Crew, in her infinite wisdom and low-slung cotton pique brilliance is ultimately better than the boring old Gap. It’s more expensive. It’s more interesting. For these reasons, clothing from this store work better as status symbols for the other young suburbanites that you may meet at this university.
    Let J. Crew be your comfort and your home. When you’re feeling lost and scared this semester, look to the J. Crew catalogue. Think of that extra hundred dollars that you paid to get a really unique outfit. Find solace in Shetland wool. See how happy the models look on the pages of the catalogue? Emulate their style and you, too, may find just the same happiness.
    Joy Murphy is a senior English major. Send comments to [email protected].

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    Controversy: J. Crew or Gap