The Gap; where 29 inches might just be 33

Let me start by saying it kind of pains me to single out The Gap for this exposé/rant on the sizing of women’s clothing since I like clothes from The Gap and I’m sure they are not alone in this.

Second, I’m not a rabid clothes shopper.  The reason I went to The Gap today was that I have exactly two pairs of shorts, both of which are almost 4 years old.  My t-shirts are looking frayed and I’m sure people are starting to wonder about the 2 Athleta skirts I wear over and over.   So, with the kids occupied and some free time on my hands, I headed to The Gap with the intent of finding some new shorts and maybe a shirt or two.

Hope springs eternal, you know.

This not being my first time around the shopping block, I grabbed not only a pair of women’s jean shorts in a size 29, but also a men’s.  Sometimes the women’s stuff is proportioned a bit weird, and the men’s is a better fit.  A BIT is, in this case, a radical understatement but I didn’t know that at the time.   I also picked up a t-shirt in a gorgeous blue.  Normally I wear a medium, but when I held it up, the body of the medium looked huge, so I chose a small instead.

Off to the dressing room.

Before I go any further, I must also say that I don’t often photograph myself in dressing rooms.  In fact, before today it had never even crossed my mind.  But I was so stunned that I really needed evidence and I had my camera, so…    (This is not me being an exhibitionist either.  That is so not my style.)

This is me wearing the size 29 MENS jeans:

Not bad, though a little tighter in the leg than I like.

This is me in the size 29 womens jeans (which by the way had exactly the same inseam as the mens):

Notice that enormous gap at the waist?  Yeah, I did too.  The rest of the jeans fit perfectly and the material was to die for soft.   But, ummm, since when is THAT a 29?  (I measured them.  They were 33 inches around, and yes I do carry a measuring tape in my purse in case you were wondering).

Hey people who design clothes at The Gap:  29 inches is not a negotiable number!   If I am sewing and something says the length to cut is 29 inches, I cannot just add 4 inches at random and expect it to turn out ok.   If a Math problem asks me to add 29 and I decide to add 33, I’m going to get the WRONG answer!

29 and 33 are not the same.  They are not interchangeable.  They’re not even both prime numbers.

Then there was the T-shirt.  I tried it on and the arms felt like compression socks.  The rest of it was fine, though it bagged a little in the shoulders:

Seriously?  T-SHIRTS?  Can’t we even have some sort of normal proportions in t-shirts?

After leaving The Gap today (and getting a sympathetic clucking of the tongue from the guy at the check out, who told me I am not the first to have this complaint, so at least there’s that) I drew my own version of the woman for whom The Gap is now designing clothes.  Her body shape looks like this:


I’m not putting down people who do have that body shape, but why is The Gap trying to pass off a 33 inch waist as a 29?   If I buy a 25, which is what I would need to do if the waist was going to fit, I wouldn’t be able to get the jeans past my knee, because the thigh measurement on a 25 is about the size of my upper arm!   This makes me want to drink a lot and bang my head against the wall.

Instead, I’ll just watch The Tonys.

About Amy

Amy Milstein was born and raised on a farm in Indiana, but after 20+ years considers herself a full-fledged New Yorker. She is married with two kids, who do not go to school but are instead life learners. This means they learn by living in the world (real life ) instead of hearing about it and simulating it in a classroom. With her family, Amy loves to travel, read, watch movies, write, sew, knit - the list is endless.
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One Response to The Gap; where 29 inches might just be 33

  1. Aravinda says:

    Sincere congratulations on having a flat stomach :-) The GAP clearly is looking out for folks like me for whom 29 is indeed a negotiable waistline. Am I sitting down or standing up, for starters? Pants with 29 inches on the label but grace to accommodate 33 sound just right for me.