Tuesday, March 06, 2007

How to sell clothes

Both the Gap and Esprit are currently selling clothing to women described with the adjective "boyfriend." Gap has "boyfriend trousers," which seem to be unflatteringly baggy khakis, while Esprit has ribbed tank tops called "boyfriend tanks." J.Crew has a "boyfriend sweater": "We call it the boyfriend because it fits like your boyfriend's sweater."

What is the point of a marketing scheme that aims to sell heterosexual women men's clothing? As with "skinny jeans," it never hurts to use a word likely to appeal to a broad range of women. Who doesn't want "skinny" and "boyfriend"? "Awkward leggings" or "hairy tank tops" probably wouldn't sell that well. Then again, "Acne Jeans" exist, and presumably someone, somewhere, has probably bought a pair.

6 comments:

Russell said...

Actually Acne's Max Cash jeans are pretty nice if you're into black dry denim. A friend of mine has a pair, and were they not so pricey I might have considered them myself once. I don't really know how they picked the name though, maybe it's because they're Swedish.

Swedish denim has all sorts of weird company names though, Acne, Nudie...

Rita said...

It seems to me to be targetting single women who don't actually have boyfriends whose clothes they can borrow and so are reduced to purchasing pale (but probably better-fitting) imitations of love.

Phoebe said...

Russell--Maybe "Swedish" is such a positive descriptive term for clothing that it cancels out even "acne."

Rita, you're onto something. Moreover, "boyfriend" clothing is inevitably large and shapeless, and thus tailor-made for evenings with Ben and Jerry's and Lifetime.

Lisa said...

Skinny jeans makes sense, but giving clothing names like "boyfriend" and "acne" is more than a little strange.

Buy Generic Viagra said...

This is rare to find pants with that name, I don't know if it will be a perfect strategy or if it will be something people will see really strange.

Kristopher Gawron said...

The use of "boyfriend" does make the apparel appeal to relationships. And since this started when girlfriends took to their boyfriend's clothes, the look has come to be accepted. Not all guy's clothes fit well on girls though, maybe that's what both brands want to resolve.