Stores Like Gap

Everybody loves Gap. Getting clothes from Gap is probably a rite of passage for a lot of people- their casual and laid-back style is all-encompassing of the everyday American style and people love it. With its classic and casual looks becoming the USP of the company, GAP quickly grew to become the one-stop destination for anyone looking for everyday classics on a budget. But GAP isn’t the force of nature that it used to be: while it still is the 3rd biggest retailer of fashion in the world behind Inditex and H&M, one half of the public seems to have lost its interest in the once iconic brand, while with the help of the other half, the company still stays afloat. This article will suggest certain stores like Gap!

Stores Like Gap

If you’re part of the customer group which wants to perhaps explore stores beyond your friendly neighbourhood GAP outlet- well then, this article is just for you. There are many stores out there that provide you with a sense of the same style that you go to GAP to get, but with their own twists and remixes and personal touches. These are stores that you would adore for their mass-market, their aesthetics, and how good their clothes are on you!

Stores Like Gap

  • Abercrombie and the Fitch
  • Banana Republic
  • J. Crew
  • Old Navy
  • Uniqlo
  • Aeropostale
  • Madewell

But before going on to these fresh alternatives, here’s a little more info about GAP itself, to get you started.

The Rise and Fall of Gap

A company that was quirkily given its name as a shoutout to the generation gap that was prevalent even back then, Gap opened its first-ever store in 1969, as an outlet that sold only Levi’s products exclusively. In the subsequent decade, Gap had stores in 25 locations and had also begun selling private label merchandise as well. It is following this, that Gap had an amazing brand makeover and began to go along with the upscale brand trend, slowly beginning to embody it in all aspects of their workings- this change was spearheaded by Millard Drexler who was with the company for 19 years until his removal in 2002, because of the very apparent underperformance of the brand- he went on to lead Gap’s competitor, J. Crew.

However, at its peak- Gap was unstoppable. 

There was always a group of people in a crowd that wore Gap merchandise and made it look like the coolest thing ever. And under their ‘influence’, those surrounding them would be pulled in by the allure of wearing the brand that everyone was wearing. And thus, the movement spread and became the biggest household name ever. Their celebrity campaigns were top-notch and got crowds in through the doors in the most effortless way possible. They even went on to open GapBody as a one-stop intimates’ solution and BabyGap too aimed solely at little people.

They also went international, with stores opening in many countries across the globe. However, with Drexler’s over expansion plans being blamed largely for the company’s misfortunes and his sacking, (this coming a little after the opening of Old Navy), Gap saw its first-ever low point and it has struggled to remain relevant since then, with mall-based brands slowly losing their allure amongst the current young generation, who prefer quirky and lesser-known small businesses.

And with that, here are a few of the top picks that are preferred to replace Gap in your wardrobe:

Abercrombie and Fitch 

Abercrombie and Fitch is a casual wear brand launched in 1892, by David Abercrombie- who later joined forces with Ezra Fitch to create this iconic brand. While they focus on casual wear, their target audience is nowhere close to casual- their clothes are priced much higher than most casual wear brands, to attract an elite section of the people to their products. Abercrombie and Fitch were once popular for its marketing campaigns and photographs- aesthetic black and white pictures of semi-naked models- which has since been discontinued, with the company stating that they were evolving along with their customer base’s tastes too.A&F is popularly known for coining the term casual-luxury and justifying it too- their casual wear is made out of the most expensive and thoroughly sourced materials, to ensure the luxurious experience even while wearing everyday clothing.

Banana Republic

Banana Republic was founded in 1978 by Mel and Patricia Ziegler, who aimed to create and sell travel-friendly clothing for their customers, inspired by their own extensive travels across the world. However, owing to their commitments to their respective careers (as a reporter and an illustrator), the couple ended up selling their company to Gap Inc., which the company now competes with! Banana Republic sells a variety of clothing collections such as Heritage, HR Monogram, Sunday Sunday and BR Standard. They also specialise in some capsule collections such as Trina Turk, Mad Men, Issa London and Anna Karenina.

J. Crew

J. Crew is also an easy alternative to Gap in just about everyone’s wardrobe- they cater to women, men, kids and also sell swimwear, jewellery and much more to suit the tastes of the American soul. Having been developed by Millard Drexler (the man that Gap sacked, blamed for their downfall by the founding family) into a big force, J Crew at one point was preferred by a big section of the market. However, it was one of the many businesses to lose income during the COVID-19 pandemic: they filed for bankruptcy then, but have now successfully come back into the business and are now poised for long term growth. Do step in to replenish your wardrobe and keep this iconic brand alive too!

Old Navy

Old Navy might be owned by Gap Inc., but they certainly are doing better than their namesake star store. Having been launched under Drexler’s leadership as a cheaper alternative to Gap’s collections, Old Navy is known for its quirky and bestselling seasonal merchandise which is suited for all people of all age groups. Their 4th of July t-shirts are a much talked about fixture in the country every year they are released! And even without them throughout the year, Old Navy has good sales with its easy and comfortable clothing line.

Uniqlo

If you’re a tennis fanatic, you know from where you know this iconic brand from- Roger Federer. As Federer still takes the tennis world by storm with his charm and amazing tennis ability and he goes about doing it all in style, wearing Uniqlo merchandise and endorsing them to his huge throngs of fans. Uniqlo, for the uninitiated, is a Japanese clothing retailer with many stores across the globe. Their flagship store is located in Chicago, so if you’re around- don’t give it a miss!

Aeropostale

Aeropostale is a homegrown and US operated brand that specializes in trendy casual wear for guys and girls. They mainly operate in malls and are always attractive to any generation that sets the trend at the moment- the young adult troupe. Having begun as a store that primarily focused on the children’s market, Aeropostale began rising the ranks when it shifted its focus to teenagers and young adults. However, they do still operate their children’s apparel brands too, which largely focus on competing with other kids’ brands, like Abercrombie and Fitch’s kids’ apparel division. Aeropostale currently has the following brands for their stores, which operate online and offline in the US market: Free State, Invite Only, Map to Mars, Lorimer, and United XXVI.

Madewell

Madewell is owned by J. Crew and is a manufacturer and seller that specializes in denim clothing. While it is a known fact (and was previously mentioned in this article itself) J. Crew, Madewell’s parent company faced bankruptcy in 2020- but Madewell managed to keep money coming in for the company with their timeless style, with denim as its primary focus. They sell clothes for the new age youngster, who likes to be subtle about his/her fashion sense- a stark contrast from the previous generation of youngsters who appreciated standing out.It is this approach to their clothing that may have contributed to its rise in the past few years- it has rightfully been called the crown jewel of the J. Crew group. So, if you’re looking for your wardrobe’s denim fix, Madewell is most certainly a store you should check out: who else to buy your pieces of denim from, than a company that specializes in them exclusively?

In Conclusion

While Gap still holds a special place in many hearts for the kind of nostalgia it brings to those who were part of its fan base when it was in its prime, there are many other alternatives out there that deserve just as much too. With the few brands in this article and many others constantly evolving to suit the customer’s evolving taste- Gap has, in all honesty, been left behind. However, now that you’ve got loads of stores to check off your lists and check out to get your wardrobe some freshness and retail therapy, what are you waiting for, really? It’s time to go shopping!

Stores Like Gap

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