In his opening chapter, Schwartz recounts his troubles buying jeans at The Gap. What used to be a five-minute task requiring no more information than a waist size and length now demands multiple decisions and an unnerving amount of self-awareness. What leg shape and denim wash say “Barry Schwartz”? What shape is his body really? “Finally, I chose the easy fit, because a ‘relaxed fit’ implied that I was getting soft in the middle and needed to cover it up,” he writes.Barry, allow me to introduce you to the world of women's fashion, in which clothes are not only available in a wide variety of cuts, but in which sizes do not run consistently from store to store, or even in the same store from Time 1 to Time 2. Clothes are sized in Misses, Juniors, Womens, Petites . . . and that's just in one department store! For women, every single item of clothing is an independent choice. Yet somehow we have survived.
Schwartz acknowledges that offering more styles and fits is good “for customers with varied tastes and body types,” but he discounts their interests. Ill-fitting jeans are a small price to pay for simplicity, he suggests. The Gap’s many choices, he says, have made buying jeans “a complex decision in which I was forced to invest time, energy, and no small amount of self-doubt, anxiety, and dread.” In the words of a Glamour editorial that cites Schwartz, “It’s enough to give even the most pro-choice girl one big headache.”
What a maroon.