I went shopping for clothes at Gap and Banana Republic.

I shopped for clothes and jewelry at Gap and Banana Republic, and neither retailer impressed me.I didn’t buy anything at either store, but liked Banana Republic’s selection of jewelry.Although I can afford to spend more money on clothing, I’d rather splurge on a meal or vacation.

It’s been nearly a decade since I shopped at Gap or Banana Republic, but the retailers — both owned by parent company Gap Inc. — have been mall staples for as long as I can remember.

However, after seeing that Gap Inc. closed 350 Gap and Banana Republic locations since 2020 and hired former Mattel executive Richard Dickson to take over as the parent company’s CEO, I was curious to see what the retailers were like today.

I recently visited both stores at my local Orlando mall to get a sense of the value each offers. Here’s what my experience was like.

I started my shopping trip at Gap.
I hadn’t been to Gap in about 10 years.

Gap is known for its casual, classic clothing, accessories, and shoes. There are over 700 store locations in North America and Asia.

I hadn’t shopped at Gap in about 10 years, but I remembered the retailer selling pieces that were a little more expensive than those found at other stores like Old Navy.

Gap had a huge selection of denim.
Jeans were on display across the entire Gap store.

I found that most of the women’s jeans at Gap were made with cotton and either polyester or spandex, and priced between $70 and $80.

By comparison, my favorite pair of jeans from Old Navy — which is also owned by Gap Inc. — are made with a similar blend of materials and cost $45.

Personally, if I’m going to pay more for a pair of jeans, I’d rather they be made with higher-quality, weightier materials like denim.

Still, I was happy to see Gap offered jeans in various rises, colors, and fits.

Even simple spring tops seemed pricey to me.
I didn’t buy any of the spring tops at Gap.

Gap carried simple tees and tanks that looked perfect for spring, like brightly colored tops with cute eyelet-lace accents.

I thought about purchasing one for my warm-weather wardrobe but reconsidered when I saw it cost $40. Because I live in Florida, where I sweat through my clothing most days, I prefer to spend less money on tops.

When looking online a few weeks later, I saw that same top marked down to $15, which felt like a way better value for a basic shirt.

After seeing how generous Gap is with online sales, I’m glad I didn’t buy it for full price.

Gap was having a sale, but I didn’t think it was a great deal.
The sale at Gap was buy one, get one 50% off.

Gap had a sign advertising a buy one, get one 50% off sale, but I didn’t think this was a very good value.

For example, purchasing an $80 pair of jeans to get a second for $40 didn’t feel like much of a savings to me. I was also surprised that I didn’t find a clearance rack or other on-sale items in the store.

Again, when checking on the Gap website a few weeks later, I noticed most jeans were 50% off — and you didn’t need to buy two to get the deal. I would’ve been a bit frustrated if I’d paid $120 for two pairs of jeans instead of $80.

I thought the jewelry display looked cheap.
Gap’s jewelry section had nice pieces, but they didn’t look high-quality.

Gap’s jewelry, which included $20 bangle bracelets and $10 earrings, appeared stylish and reasonably priced.

Unfortunately, the rotating cube-tower display reminded me of something at a cheap mall-accessory store. Nothing about the jewelry section matched the vibe of the rest of Gap.

In my opinion, the entire display felt like an afterthought.

Gap had pretty spring dresses, but they were a bit pricey for my budget.
The dresses at Gap were cute, but I didn’t buy them.

Gap’s dresses included designs with eyelet-lace patterns and came in cute springtime colors like pink and green.

However, they ranged from $100 to $170, which I wouldn’t pay for a simple dress. I often shop clearance racks or visit discount or thrift stores to hunt for high-end brands for less than $100, which I think is a better value.

Next, I went to Banana Republic.
I assumed Banana Republic would have expensive pieces.

Banana Republic is a clothing and accessory store with over 400 locations worldwide. The store sells menswear, womenswear, footwear, and accessories.

I always thought Banana Republic was on the pricier end of mid-range mall retailers. Right off the bat, I noticed women’s jeans cost well over $100 and saw a turtleneck for $130.

The store had some jeans, but the selection wasn’t as large as it was at Gap.
Banana Republic didn’t have a huge variety of jeans.

At Gap, the denim selection was spread across the store. At Banana Republic, however, I only found jeans in one small section. There weren’t as many styles on display there, either.

I found the jeans ranged in price from $110 to $150.

I really liked Banana Republic’s camisoles but didn’t buy any of them.
I thought the silk camisoles at Banana Republic were expensive.

One of the prettiest things at Banana Republic was a silk camisole that came in pink, black, and cream colors. Unfortunately, each tiny top cost over $100, which I didn’t think was a great value.

As a mom of four who handles our family’s grocery budget, I immediately thought about how $100 easily feeds my husband and children for a week.

I found only one item on sale in the entire store.
I didn’t think the markdown on the wool coat was that great.

The only discount I found at Banana Republic was a $300 wool coat marked down to $230.

These coats, which were all in extra-small sizes, were placed on a table in the back of the store. Perhaps it varies by location, but I didn’t find any other on-sale or clearance items.

The jewelry display was beautiful, but I’d rather shop at a small business.
The jewelry selection at Banana Republic was full of unique pieces.

A large display table held several beautiful jewelry pieces, like hoop earrings and bangle bracelets, priced from $50 to $100.

These prices were reasonable because the jewelry was unique and seemed high quality. Still, I’d prefer to purchase jewelry from an independent small businesses rather than a retail chain.

I found Banana Republic’s casual dresses to be a little pricey.
I was surprised to see the price of a casual-looking dress at Banana Republic.

Some of the basic linen dresses I saw at Banana Republic cost $150.

It didn’t seem like a bad price, considering the dresses were 100% linen, but I wouldn’t pay that much for something so casual that I’d only wear around my beach town.

At the end of the day, neither store really impressed me.
I couldn’t get on board with the prices at Banana Republic or Gap.

I love hunting for clothing that offers great value, so the prices at Gap and Banana Republic didn’t impress me.

The shopping experience reminded me that, although I can afford to spend more on clothing, I’d rather spend my money on a delicious meal or family vacation. I also realized I could benefit from checking for sales online more regularly instead of shopping in stores.

I love wearing a cute outfit as much as the next girl, but I’d prefer more affordable clothes than the options available at Gap and Banana Republic.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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