Thursday, March 15, 2007

Great Commercial, Crappy Khakis

I have a theory that there is an entire category of clothes that can only be worn by girls that are not only skinny and stunningly beautiful, but give off that effortlessly cool vibe that allows them to wear, for instance, dresses resembling trash bags, and still look good. This is why you can flip through the pages of Vogue, Elle and Lucky and think about how great the models look, but when you see the outfit in real life you realize that you could never, ever wear it.

I've come to accept this as a fact of life; skinny, gorgeous, cool girls are able to get away with things that the rest of us never will. And it's not like I even have the option of buying the clothes shown in Vogue, so I don't lose sleep over it. But "what does bother me is when I see something that's affordable and very cute, but that I realize 98% of women couldn't wear without looking ridiculous.

I'm willing to bet that a lot of people will disagree with me on this, but I think that Gap's new Boyfriend Trouser Khakis definitely fall into this category. I love their new commercial with Claire Danes (which you can watch here). I like the original take on the "battle of the sexes" theme and I find Claire and Patrick Wilson very appealing. They're attractive but still look like the best looking couple you know (as in, they're not Posh and Becks, "we don't exist in real life" good looking). And let's be honest, I'm a sucker for dance-offs.

But alas, not all of us look so lovable and pretty in baggy, fitless pants. I think you have to not only be Claire Danes to look good in them, but you have to have done that little dance first, wear them with your boyfriend's untucked dress shirt and do that hand on hip pose that she does so well. Don't believe me? Check out the print advertisements, in which skinny, gorgeous, cool girls can't even pull off the look:

Gap came up with a nice concept "wear your boyfriend's khakis!" and a likable ad, but for the umpteenth time, the clothes fall flat. It makes you wonder if they'll ever get their act together and bring The Gap back to it's former glory.

But one final note: this "boyfriend article of clothing" is nothing new, various brands market all kinds of shirts, sweaters and pants as "boyfriend" style, but the end result is that it's just a baggy, unfitted sweater that looks sloppy. I don't see any appeal in wanting to dress like your boyfriend. Do these imaginary women that clothing companies advertise to have boyfriends with such fabulous wardrobes that they're dying to steal a pair of khakis? They certainly aren't talking about any guy I've ever dated.

What do you guys think? Am I too harsh on the khakis?


QM said...

I don't see the appeal of khakis at all. They are bland and unflattering on everyone (even Claire Danes looks dull in them). The whole 'steal your boyfriends clothes' idea is a silly marketing ploy to make women feel smaller than they actually are - because our boyfriends are bigger, we'll feel smaller when their clothes swamp us - um, yeah we'll all fall for that one. Women look best in properly tailored trousers - khaki's should be reserved for doing the gardening in.

Julia said...

I think the actual pants in those pictures (of the models) are way too big for them! I'm wondering if they purposely exaggerated the effect and put them in a size or two too big. Because they look comfortable and slightly baggy on Ms. Danes, but not like she's swimming in them.

That said, I am not a khaki girl at all but I think the look could be really cute, with the loose pants and a slim top tank in the summer. I have some white linen pants that I always work this look with, the pants are tailored but slightly loose (only in the leg, not in the waist), which I think is the key and also makes you look skinnier!

ricanprincess said...

hey...this look sucks, i do not want to wear my boyfriends clothes and he is very very fashionable ( in a man man kind of way 'cause he is dominican). if i did wear his clothes he would not approve at all...please lets get real, this sucks it is one thing to have loose fitting tailored pants quite another to have glad bags taped up and strapped to your bottom half and call it pants. sorry about the rant, it is a sore issue with me!;)love the blog though.

Laura said...

Whenever I hear the "boyfriend" thing, I think, "oh! Maybe THIS time they've actually put in working pockets!"

Alas, that is never the tip they have taken from menswear. Instead, they have taken a shape that doesn't suit most women and added some baggy, to boot.


And by "GOOD TIMES" I mean "jeez, what a waste of time". Sorry, Gap -- I guess I'm getting my Not Too Expensive Office Pants from Dockers, instead.

Gwen >> My Relationship Resume said...

I bought a "boyfriend sweater" from Victoria's secret... worst purchase ever. Did it ever fit funny.

You've suggested something that really struck a chord with me - of women wanting to have manly men who dress so well you want to raid their closets. Even if he did, it really doesn't work in practice!

Annie said...

Yes! You are so right!
I talked about this a while ago in my own post about Gap advertising, and this is just another example. It's really sad that a company whose adverts used to set the standard for "cool marketing" can't back themselves up with equally desirable product. Yet another nail into the Gap coffin...

If anyone would like to read my post from January, you can find it here:

Anonymous said...

Khakis can look drab and sloppy if they're not tailored right. Sometimes GAP clothing line edges on the trendy side and compromises on versatility and flattering fit.

Angie said...

I've been bored to death by the Gap for a few years now, and I am NOT an adventurous dresser. I just find all of their stuff incredibly bland, including these khakis AND their marketing.

LSC said...

Totally agree with you, the khakis and their print ads fall flat. That sepia toned thing in their ads is strange too. GAP should take note of how well their experiment with designer Roland Mouret went, and go in that direction!

Meg said...

qm- Your point about the boyfriend's clothes marketing ploy as a way to make women feel smaller is an interesting idea. I think they also want women to buy into the idea that it's romantic to be close enough to a man to be able to wear his clothes... either way, it's really dumb.

julia- Yeah, I haven't tried these on in person so I'm not sure how big they are. I don't know if they could work as well as baggy linen pants though, just because khaki is such a heavy material, it doesn't look light and airy and pretty the way linen does. But I totally agree- wide leg definitely makes you look slimmer!

ricanprincess- you're lucky to have a boyfriend who dresses so well, but come on, even Victoria Beckham doesn't wear David's clothes out.

laura- I totally feel you on the working pockets thing.. very annoying.

gwen- I have no idea at all how retailers even come up with the sizes and shapes of these "boyfriend sweaters"... do they just take a regular women's sweater and make it 3 sizes bigger? Do they use a men's cut? It's all a mystery to me.

annie- I loved your post on Gap... if only the company would take some of your suggestions, they might not be in such a slump.

windwhisperer- I've definitely noticed that Gap has sacrificed fit and quality in a lot of their recent lines. You're right, fit is super important with khakis (which is why I don't own a pair, I can't seem to find anything that fits well).

angie- Yeah, Gap's marketing has been lame for a long time. It's disappointing, because the stuff they were doing in the 90's was really neat. I used to get a lot of things from them but I only rarely stop by their stores now.

lsc- The Roland Mouret thing was a fantastic idea and I don't know why they haven't pursued more relationships with designers. I'm still annoyed that I wasn't able to get my hands on one of those limited edition dresses... lucky Brits.

daddylikeyblog said...

Amen. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

The trick is separating the moving image & music on your tv from a pair of pants.
I like the ad, clean, quirky old song, seemingly hip dance moves, boy catches girl...
But when you think about it, it doesn't have anything at all to do with khakis (think khommuter from the burbs).

Barbi said...

I actually tried them on. They are ridiculous. no shape.

but I do love the ad.

Shen said...

I've actually tried the boyfriend jeans and they are so comfy! But I agree that they (and the khakis) look unflattering on anyone except for uber-skinny girls. Plus, you'd think if they sacrificed the ability to be flattering, there'd at least be gigantic pockets.

Phalene said...

If I wanted a 'boyfriend' cut, I'd steal t-shirt of his for a nighty. :P

No sense in buying something fake. If you want the baggy comfort of men's clothing -buy- men's clothing.

Queendreams said...

While I've never tried on a pair of Gap boyfriend trousers, first of all I definitely disagree that the models look bad in the print ads, and second of all I think boyfriend trousers are comfortable, practicle, and can be pulled off if you contrast them with a tight tank top or cami on the top. I'm not saying they're the hottest pants ever, but they are so easy to throw on a chill in and if you're going for a tomboy look they certainly do work. And finally, Carmen Kass can pull of anything (the model in the second print ad you posted).