Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Torn and tormented

For a while now, I haven't been a big fan of Old Navy, Gap, and Banana Republic. I used to think that I didn't like their business ethics--I have relatively reliable information that, at one point, they used sweatshop labor--but I know that now they're part of a coalition that refuses to use sweatshop labor, and they actually donate money to a lot of causes I support, so I guess business ethics can't really rub me the wrong way anymore. There are definitely other reasons that I'm not a fan, though: Old Navy so often looks as cheap as it is (and their commercials are downright irritating), Gap gets dull and redundant, and I think I got Gap out of my system in middle school anyway, and I've always sort of felt that Banana Republic is confused about its role and tries to be something it isn't--I mean, it is supposed to be upscale mellow preppy a la J. Crew (my interpretation--I think they should stick with this), or a mid-priced alternative to couture that uses movies as commercial inspiration and tries to create it-bags for less than $200?

Maybe my aversion to the three is more a snobbery thing than anything else. I mean, I'd like to think that the style I've been cultivating is a little more downtown than suburbia, so I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I've kind of liked some of their pieces lately. Even Old Navy, which I started to think was kind of ridiculous in ninth grade, has been catching my eye a little. I mean, the striped chiffon mini skirt (pictured) is so cute that the website is already out of my size (dammit). Gap still doesn't excite me much (which is too bad, considering its ubiquity), but I really like some of Banana's sort of relaxed safari thing that they've got going on (I reeeeeally want the pictured t-shirt).

The problem is that shopping there just sounds so unexciting. I mean, I love all forms of shopping, save malls, which make me vaguely ill, but this presents a problem with Old Navy or Banana Republic. They don't seem to be found anywhere else, really. And, despite the fact that I believe that fashion can be found anywhere, I still have a hard time trying to convince myself that chain stores are where it's at. Still though, I repeat, I think that some of the stuff is really kind of cute! Dilemma dilemma.

Well, as my acting mentor says, 'the proof is in the pudding.' Whether or not I'll concede to the proof and break down and go shop there remains to be seen.


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