Here's our long-due third instalment of Shop Spotlight, featuring three stores all owned by the same company (fun fact!) Now, since Vicky works at Banana Republic and Ali works at Gap, we may be just a tiiiiny bit biased towards the Gap Inc. franchise, but we've tried to be as fair as possible in our assessment of them. Enjoy! And happy shopping :-)
Background: Founded by Mel and Patricia Ziegler in Mill Valley, California in 1978; bought by Gap in 1983.
Where: 600+ stores in North America, the Middle East, Asia & the UK.
Price Range: $$$
Pros: Well-made clothes in classic styles; frequent sales and promotions; Petites section.
Cons: May be a bit conservative/mature for some tastes.
Great For: Quality workwear items (skirts, trousers, blouses, cardigans, etc.)
Not So Great For: Unique, quirky pieces.
Background: Founded by Donald and Doris Fisher in San Francisco in 1969.
Where: 3000+ stores worldwide.
Price Range: $$
Pros: A one-stop shop for all ages; have really re-vamped their somewhat drab image of the past few years.
Cons: Some of their items (ie. dresses, shirts) aren't very petite-friendly, as their XS is roughly equivalent to a Medium elsewhere. (Though if you're dainty, it's worth checking out the Kids' section - their XXL size is generous and they often have fantastic stuff at a fraction of the adult price).
Great For: JEANS! Also sweaters, tees, and active-wear.
Not So Great For: Cutting-edge trends.
Background: Founded in 1994 as a less-expensive offshoot of Gap.
Where: 1000+ stores across North America.
Price Range: $
Pros: Cheap and cheerful basics for all the family.
Cons: Some of their stuff can be a bit bland/frumpy.
Great For: Bright tees, sweaters, sundresses, shoes, and, their latest addition - jewellery.
Not So Great For: Long-lasting, high-quality items.