Day 1289 and Gap Lounge Pant

My favorite item of clothing is a pair of cotton straight leg lounge pants from the Gap.

A light but body skimming 93% cotton to 7% elastane blend with a simple tie that never felt constrictive. It retailed for $29 and was sold under their “Love” which loosely merchandised with GapBody.

Gap Lounge Pant in Black

They were perfect. I bought two pairs every year and simply never worried about comfortable home wear. Which was a big deal as I had a few years of being quite sick so these pants were life savers.

Gap seems to have stopped selling them sometime in the past two or three years. The core product number is 539570 if you are curious. The last time I was able to buy any was November 2020 and I purchased four of them.

The holy grail of bought pants

If you click into the old product page you will see 1500 reviews. It was a popular item. People on Reddit are looking for them. Mutuals of mine gave them at friends gift events. Leigh was wearing them when she tweeted me that.

Leigh and her friends love them.

And so I’ve set off on a mission to find out why these very popular pants have stopped being made. I’d happily purchase the pattern from the Gap if I could find the vendor for the fabric. I’d put my own money into acquiring it from the brand if they aren’t interested in booting it back up. I want these pants back in my life. I even went so fair as to email the VP of Merchandising at Gap Inc today. Maybe I’ll get lucky and she emails me back.

I apologize for the intrusion but I thought perhaps as the leader of merchandising at Gap you may be the executive who can answer a strange question. 

What happened to the cotton Gap Lounge Pant? 

They were the best lounge pants on the market. I bought them for over a decade. And they are simply gone. The product number is 539570

I very much want to buy more of them as they are my daily wear and I will pay whatever it takes to get more.  And is there anything I can do to buy any remaining dead stock of it?
Can I help your team
make a case to to bring it back? Is it possible for me to acquire the pattern and fabric from the corporation so I can have them made myself? 


Day 1263 and Hoe-flation

As I run out the clock on the last vestiges of my Covid infection (two fucking weeks give me a break), I’ve had the pleasure of being extremely online.

There has been a bit of a kerfuffle on the costs of being “a well kept cosmopolitan woman” with varying levels of push back that are functionally regurgitating the plot of The Devil Wears Prada.

Breakdown of the costs of a “well-maintained” attractive woman in a large U.S. city:
hair: $400/every 2-3 months at least
facials: $200-300/mnth
fitness: $200-400/mnth
cosmetics: $100-300/mnth
nails: $100+/mnth
brows: $15-40/mnth
waxing/laser: $100-$150/mnth
med spas: $1k/every 3 mnths at least
And doesn’t even include clothes or shoes!

Expressions of feminine presentation through grooming is what the academics like to call “contested space” but you can probably get the gist of how it through it by skimming Veblen, Baudrillard and old issues of Cosmopolitan.

Needless to say, most women are not $10,000 Instagram models, professional girlfriends, trophy wives or professionals in glamour industries. This spend is extreme and for people who life off their image.

I’ve been a peon in the image business and I’ve been a girlboss and it’s a bit exhausting if you are not young, naturally beautifully or able to afford the upkeep. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. I’ve watched many rounds of influencer burnout. I am blessed with good skin, good hair, the knowledge of my professional background and cosmetology school, and I have money to spend on myself.

Hair: $80 2x a year
Facials: $0
Fitness: $0 on gym or classes but we do have a barn squat rack & a mortgage
Cosmetics: $100-200 a month it’s my hobby & former profession
Nails: $50 for pedicures 6x
Brows: $0
Waxing: $90 4x year
Med Spa: Botox $220 every 120 days

I am myself in the middle ground of expensive personal presentation. I like everything about cosmetics from makeup to haircare. I posted my own breakdown above and it’s about $250 a month.

I don’t dye or heat style my hair, I am not heathy enough to be a gym rat (I wish I was), I get pedicures because it’s hard to do my own with my spinal problems but don’t get my nails done, I wax downstairs for personal preferences, I love skincare and at 40 it seemed time to get a light dose of Botox seasonally.

Which is in my book quite a bit of money to spend on appearances. It’s the opulence I allow myself on the other side of some financial success and I justify it by saying it’s worthwhile to keep up on my old industry.

My husband says it’s mostly an excuse to buy makeup I’ll never wear and he is naturally quite right. It’s a hobby like any other. I’m glad I can justify it for work though.

Social media comparisons for lifestyles that are simply beyond most people’s reach shouldn’t be considered aspirational. My spending should level not considered aspirational on this either if I’m candid. I could easily get away with less and look good.

The good news is that for bargain hunters who want to combat hoe-flation costs in their life is that we’ve never had better access to quality grooming. We have cheap actives brands like the Inky List and the Ordinary, access to the best Korean biochemists, and excellent buyers clubs.

It’s never been easier or cheaper to learn to be well groomed. I very much advocate for looking your best as it reflects a commitment to caring for yourself and your body. Just don’t get carried away when a $16 product can do the job of the $200 one ok? Ask me if you need advice on what to buy.


Day 1262 and Cost Per Wear

Many years ago I maintained a spreadsheet of my wardrobe so I could calculate out my “cost per wear” because I am that sort of nerd.

Fast fashion was coming into its own in that era but I did work for retail luxury so with employee discounts and access to sample sales I acquired the occasional $900 Italian leather good. Keep in mind these were late aughts prices.

It comforted me somewhat to see that I got so much use out of those boots (getting the cost per wear into cents) but that the H&M trend item got work a handful of times. I felt a need for my style to work for me which is a design preference many a working aesthete can appreciate. It helped to see what integrated into my life laid bare.

The irony being fashion I got from Zara in 2010 and some of the older collaborations from fast fashion retailers remain better quality than what you could get from an LVMH luxury house now. We’ve had quite a bit of price inflation while any pretense to quality has gone a bit to the wayside.

Much of the work of looking stylish can be defrayed with simply spending more but taste is the sort of thing can be cultivated through experience with limits. Having a budget and an understanding of what you are trying to achieve can be a valuable tool in almost any domain.

Community Emotional Work

Day 1214 and Hectic

Things are hectic. For all my boosterism about leaning into acceleration I don’t personally live that fast. So I feel it when things are hectic.

I was raised in some of the pushback from various future shock worriers so I’m a fan of living at a human pace. Because as I said (and I’ll continue to repeat it), things are hectic.

A friend of mine and I were comparing notes on what kept her busy. I had hectic things about abstractions. A family friend had paused away this week. My friend had similarly weighty concerns. We both saw a tragedy occur on the periphery of our social circles.

We didn’t have the luxury to feel all the things in our lives. Things are hectic. It is a Sunday so I did some shopping for coming week. I had errands to be done so I could be focused for the week. Mountains must be moved but the things under your control are mostly simple.


1185 and Hobby Horses

It’s a lovely Saturday in Montana. The sun is shining which helps cut the otherwise brisk gusts of wind. It just seemed like a day to enjoy life.

Our dirt drive has finally dried out a bit so we went out for a walk to get some sun and check the potholes.

My husband and I went to town for some errands and stopped in for a burger at one of Montana’s unique liquor store, casino and bar combinations.

They are legacy of prohibition and overly involved governmental regulatory authorities. Montana has a government monopoly on all liquor stores.

For such a libertarian state, the alcohol laws seems a bit baffling. But one of the best burgers in town can be found at the bar inside the liquor store. It feel like any sports bar that leans towards country and western tunes. America is an amazing place.

Waiting on our burgers at the bar

And because we are also yuppies we went to get groceries at the local food cooperative of which we are members. My inner hippie loves getting her Dr Bronner from the bulk bins. We went a little overboard picking out some essential oils (Alex loves bergamot and I needed more lavender) and then ground of our not butters.

All the lentils and beans you could want

Having thoroughly covered the country and hippie portions of our day I came home to do some spring cleaning.

Moving from winter to warmer clothing isn’t my favorite seasonal shift. I prefer cozy cashmere and long sleeve black tee-shirts. But I have conferences and professional obligations coming up with travel so I tried out a new paid mobile application for closest organization and packing called Style Book.

I haven’t quire got the hang of it but the basic idea is to take photos of your wardrobe, tag it, organize it into outfits and packing lists and get more visibility into your wardrobe. I’ll have a to play with or more to get it polished but it seems like it has potential.


1164 and Back to The Land

After a quick run through El Segundo I am back in Montana for the moment. Nothing makes you appreciate American more than spending time away from it.

While complaints about travel and its challenges always make you appreciate home, it’s really only upon return to you notice just how good we have it as Americans. Everything is just a little bit easier.

Everything from acquiring groceries to taking a shower is somehow less of a hassle. Getting out of the local airport and getting provisioned was a breeze.

Which is good as I’m tired. It’s good to be back on my own land and in my own country.

Chronic Disease Travel

Day 1137 and High Friction

I’ve been experiencing several forms of friction over the last week or two.

Some of it was a deliberate step back to be grounded and present. I introduced the friction myself to focus on my nervous system.

But other things have acted as more of a drag on my days than I’d have anticipated. The ambient noise of city living. The small frictions of daily needs like cooking and cleaning.

I even added some friction to my own shopping to speed up my decision making. So maybe there is a theme to be found in the extra friction. And truthfully I’m not sure all of it is net positive. I’m in the red more than I’d like. So I’ll cut down on any friction that isn’t performance enhancing.


Day 1136 and Shopping in Heels

I had some practical acquisitions that needed to be purchased. They were most easily purchased via an in person retail environment for reasons I won’t get into. I much prefer ecommerce but not everywhere has Amazon if you can believe it.

I wanted to get this done quickly. While it’s true I like to putter around many types of stores. I’m quite fond of browsing in grocery stores for instances. But I prefer to be ruthlessly pragmatic when it comes to necessities. Browsing can be your enemy when you know exactly what you want.

Much of shopping can be a hostile and adversarial environment. Merchandising, pricing, sales associates all work on your focus and attention.

I have a few tricks I use on my own psychology if I would prefer my limited cognitive energy be used on more important decisions than what I’m about to purchase. Deciding between a bunch options for a non important decision weighs on your capacity. I don’t know if science has replicated decision fatigue but it sure feels like it’s real to me.

I wore a pair of high heels to go shopping in this case. It’s just enough discomfort to provide a bit of focus. I wouldn’t want to stay on my feet overly long in heels so I’ll encourage myself to make decisions quickly and not linger over it.

I was able to easily and without agonizing make quick decisions on a number of purchases. Once something fell within 80% of the parameters I’d set out for the item I know I wished to buy I said yes and moved on. It really can be that easy. I’d rather use my focus on important things.

Biohacking Travel

Day 1130 and Accidental Fast

I had a series of unplanned excursions today that got slightly out of hand. A hotel didn’t work out and I found myself switching my base of operations.

In the process of moving about, I thought to myself “I’ll just have a coffee and eat later!” I fart all the time. It was 10am at that point and I’d had dinner the night before at 6pm.

Truly I sealed my own fate. I did not stop to eat for the next ten hours. I first repacked all of my clothing and other travel items. I then packed it all into a car. I then drove all over town running various errands to make sure I was prepared for the week. I didn’t want any distractions during my workweek.

Being practically minded, and hoping to avoid eating out for all meals, I ended up at a grocery store and bought a week’s worth of meal ingredients. That itself took over an hour. By then was a busy Sunday afternoon so it felt as if the entire city was doing grocery shopping at the same time as me. Fighting with folks in the parking garage made me reconsider if some people should be allowed cars at all. I was getting exasperated.

The drive to my subsequent my lodging managed to take well over an hour and a half. Traffic on the weekends right?

While I knew the lodging was up a hill it somehow didn’t occur to the “bitches be shopping” version of me at the grocery store.

The version of me that lives in reality had to schlep suitcases and a week’s worth of groceries up what my fitness tracker says is five flights of stairs. It took a few trips.

By the time I’d unpacked, put away the groceries and finally had the sense to put together a plate of cold cuts and tomatoes it was 6pm.

That number of activities doesn’t seem like it should have taken the whole day but at least I got in an accidental fast. I hadn’t planned to go an entire day but I’m sure I’ll make up for it with all the groceries I bought tomorrow.


Day 1118 and Distrustful Shopper

I am a good shopper. I know retail cadences and when to buy a product. If you want to know sales happen or new merchandise timing I usually know. I know manufacturing chains, sourcing standards and material costs across multiple categories. I loved working inside corporate retail and consider my time in cosmetics and fashion to be foundational to my approach to businesses.

This is useful context for what I am currently feeling. I’ve become a very distrustful shopper. Now I feel as if I’m starting from scratch every single time I need to replace an item even if it’s in a category I know intimately.

I’ve worn the same pair of simple black Gap 100% cotton sweatpants for as long as I can remember. They were roughly $30 and I’d get years of good wear. I’d reorder a couple pairs every Black Friday just to be sure I’d always have them.

It wasn’t easy but I could find them. I’d need to check what size (medium) and its name from the last order (always changing) but I’d almost always be able to find it. It drove me bonkers it didn’t maintain a consistent SKU (stock keeping unit) when it was clearly the identical product.

It got harder and harder to find. And then this year they appear to have stopped manufacturing them entirely. I’ve been checking in on the Gap website every couple of months this year and it’s just not re-appearing.

I’ve written about institutional distrust before. But there is something that bothers me about how even someone with experience like me just cannot purchase basic goods reliably anymore.

Shoppers have to relearn an entire series of sizing, merchandising, naming, and pricing cues over and over with no reliability on offer from even the most established brands.

If you like an item and it serves you well, buy another one immediately. Heck buy two. There guarantee that you will able to find it again in a few years.