Tag Archives: Gap

What Makes a Banana Republic?

I’ll be perfectly honest: I wouldn’t have read this Nicholas Kristof Op-Ed if it wasn’t the Most-Emailed story on the Times’ site as of early Monday afternoon and I hadn’t thought, “Boy, what exactly *is* a banana republic?”

According to Wikipedia, it is “a term that refers to a politically unstable country dependent upon limited agriculture (e.g. bananas), and ruled by a small, self-elected, wealthy, and corrupt politico-economic clique.”

Granted, politics are not my territory — that’s T’s turf — but I wonder: Why would a quasi-upscale clothing retailer choose to named itself after this?

The answer lies on the Gap. Inc. (Banana Republic’s parent) website: In 1983, Gap Inc. acquired Banana Republic, “then a two-store safari and traveling company.”

This description makes it sound a lot like the J. Peterman Company, which I did not actually realize was a real thing until right this second.

So I guess “banana” is supposed to equal “travel and adventure” rather than “political instability.” And, heck, I’ve never really thought about it until now, so I can’t get self-righteous about it. I just think it’s interesting.

I also kinda like this Embroidered Velvet Blazer…and the accompanying description instantly makes me think of Elaine Benes:

On the moors.

Hair blowing in the wind.


(Remember, no humidity in dreams.)

You were enrobed in a long, velvet blazer, walking, walking, seemingly lost, but not afraid.

Almost as if you were there for a purpose.

And then… on the horizon, your purpose.

On a silver steed your Lochinvar coming to rescue you.

Turns out you’re beautifully adorned for the Duke of Aston’s holiday party where you’ll dine on venison, plum pudding, mincemeat pie, and fine medieval wine. Embroidered Velvet Blazer (No. 2889) is made from pure cotton velvet. Silver embroidered leafy pattern subtly beckons. Further eye-catchers: peaked lapel, two-button front closure, modified princess seams at front and back. Slightly padded shoulders for shaping. Center back vent. Mid-thigh length. Enough grace to attend any event in any century.

Perfect for looking resplendent while walking Arthur, your Scottish Deer Hound. Or wearing it with leggings and just going to party. Imported.

Women’s sizes: 2 through 18.

Color: Garnet with Silver Embroidery.

Image via *clairity*/Flickr

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The Year of Leggings Lives On…

I should be upfront about this: this is a cheap ploy to beef up my fashion-writing portfolio.

And it’s going to be hard to come up with a food tie so this isn’t *completely* inappropriate and I don’t severely disappoint my loyal readers…, but we’ll try this on for — ahem — size: it’s been a rough couple of months (as noted). And since, you know, I tend to…feed a feeling…I am probably fatter than I have ever been. So…there we go: food.

Now the clothes:

Last year when I was in a similar funk, I declared 2008 the Year of Leggings. But I was nervous I was not the leggings type…as I really had not worn them since I was a skinny Minnie in elementary school…and so I bought a single pair at the Gap to see how I’d do. And then it turned out that I had actually stumbled upon the single greatest pair of leggings in the universe and I totally and completely fell in love with them.

These leggings were SO AMAZING for two reasons: 1) they were the perfect length! They fell sort of just below the knee without any clumping of excess material on the way down. (Women stopped me on the street to ask me where I got them — *that* is how absolutely perfect the length was…) And 2) the material was ideal — 93% cotton, 7% spandex. It was thin enough to breathe…but not transparent. And so…even if the long dress I wore over them was not enough to totally cover my (ever-increasing) behind, I didn’t have to worry about being rude and constantly readjusting myself to prevent the unthinkable. The leggings would protect me!

However — alas! — when I went *back* to the Gap to buy as many pairs as I could scoop up, I could not find them again. (Although I just looked on the Web site and I think I found them…which sort of negates this entire post. Except — WAIT! — the only size in stock is XXL…which means I was right and the post lives!)

And so my one pair got a lot of use. And when I got a hole in one leg, I actually got out a needle and thread and sewed it up. (Me! Sewing!) And then the hole got worse…but luckily I was at home by then and my mother had a sewing machine. But…eventually they were looking pretty sad. And I still wore them…I just had to be more careful with what I wore over them.

Eventually I started looking further afield for a new pair…and I bought one at Express…but they were totally transparent — more like pantyhose…and they quickly developed a run. No good.

Was it finally curtains for me and leggings?

I was beginning to think yes…but then last weekend, I was wandering around the city and saw that Express was having a sale and so I went back inside to see if I could find a pair of non-transparent leggings…and — holy cow — I did! I was a little worried they would be too thick…and they are not *quite* the perfect length — there is definitely some bagging around the knees…but they are super-comfy and you can’t see through them, so I am a happy camper. The Year of Leggings lives on!

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