Filling the Gap
Although Gap is promising better, fresher design with the installation of Patrick Robinson as its head designer, a shoe line from Pierre Hardy, and another white shirt collection from up-and-coming designers, what we see in the stores right now leaves something to be desired. On the upside, if you love Gap's clean, simple aesthetic but favor something slightly more chic -- like, say, a khaki jumper -- hop the pond via the Web and check out Gap's European Collection (www.gap.com). The price points are slightly higher, but so is the design quality.
Vera Wang's Simply Vera line for Kohl's, which debuted last fall, can't be considered a disappointment, stylewise -- the paint-stroke feminine dresses, gauzy tank-style tunics and mixed-media beaded necklaces are feminine and artistic. Although the prices leave a little to be desired -- from $12 for trouser socks to $128 for a trench -- nearly all the clothing is 30 to 50 percent off. (several metro locations, www.kohls.com/verawang.)
Next for Old Navy
You won't see new Old Navy creative director Todd Oldham's influence until midsummer, but you can already sense his sartorial presence on Old Navy's website. Old Navy's Next line is more Banana Republic than college fraternity. This month's offerings include tailored seersucker suits, printed patio dresses and palm-print short shorts, all for $7.50 to $34.50. Best yet, there's a Geek Chic-themed collection for guys, too! (www.oldnavy.com/next).