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Boyfriend Trousers? I Want Jewess Jeans.

Yesterday after work, I went on a search for a birthday gift for a 16-year-old girl. After looking at some books, crafts, scarves and jewelry (from the Fair Trade stores in town), I decided to take a peek in the GAP. Right in the entry way of the store, front and center, was a stand (accompanied by a large sign) displaying the GAP's newest khaki merchandise: "boyfriend trousers" and "tailored boyfriend". Both kinds of "boyfriends" are rather baggy, heavily starched, and seem to ride the hips of the models lucky enough to have them.

Now, I do not have a boyfriend, so I can't say that this wear-your-boyfriend marketing technique is particularly effective for me. But maybe it works for others. Perhaps if you don't have a boyfriend but really want one, these khaki boyfriends can fill the void? Or if you do have a boyfriend, perhaps he will be turned on and/or jealous when he sees "tailored boyfriend" cradling your butt? Or perhaps these khakis are supposed to make you feel like your boyfriend? Or feel like a boy? Maybe they are just supposed to remind us all of the boyfriends we can and should have since (a) there aren't any married women who shop at the GAP and (b) every GAP customer shopping in the women's section feels emotionally connected to a "boyfriend." Right? Wrong.

As I made my way through the store, I thought to myself: if Jane Doe can have a pair of "boyfriend trousers," I want a pair of Gilda Radner's "Jewess Jeans." Though controversial for some who think of "Jewess Jeans" as reinforcing the Jewish American Princess (JAP) stereotype, the Jewess identity actually resonates with me (and, in denim, it makes me laugh). So, if today's clothing stores are stocked with boyfriends and Che Guevaras, why can't Jewesses join them on the racks?

When I returned home, having bought nothing for the 16-year-old girl or for myself (except for a haircut), I went online to the GAP website and wrote a note in their "tell us what you think" section. I asked the GAP if it might consider selling "husbands" and "wives" in addition to "boyfriends" or if it had occurred to them to market "girlfriend trousers" in the women's section and "tailored boyfriends" in the men's. I also asked if they would consider carrying "z-friend" merchandise to represent clientele who identify as neither male or female. Finally, I thanked the GAP for giving me the opportunity to shop for a wearable human identity and I asked if there were any chance that Jewess Jeans would appear in their Spring line.

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14 Comments


"Boyfriend cut" is totally about the fit. This posting is ridiculous for not seeing that. Some of us women just don't have those hippy, twiggy-pop figures and need jeans that fit more like men's. I am very athletic and lack hips and since my thighs are more muscular than the typical woman's, I can not fit into typical women's jeans.My waist size is a 27-28 and if i buy a size 2 or 4 in womens, they are WAY too big in the waist as they were made for someone with hips. So having the option to buy a pair of pants geared more for my body type is a blessing! I went 5 years without being able to find a pair of jeans that fit properly! So go ahead and rag on the style or pretend that you don't know what "boyfriend cut" means because you think it's cute. Everyone else seems to recognize they the name of the jean refers to the style...you can't tell me you get confused about "boot cut" and then write Gap suggesting they come up with a "high heel" or "sneaker" cut.

I've seen "boyfriend jeans" advertised before in other stores, and I have never understood what that's supposed to mean. Does it make me cooler if people think the pants I'm wearing belong to my boyfriend? Why should that matter at all?

Let us know if you get a response from the GAP.

I think its nice for women to wear these jeans, they are good looking, not too expensive and comfortable. Good article.

yea i agree, these jeans are better and good for women who do not like wearing tight jeans.

I do have to agree that these jeans were excellent for women who do not like wearing tight legged fitting jeans.

It's a name. People need to look inside themselves a little more and not so much at the label or naming conventions our there on a pair of jeans!?!!? Are you kidding me!?? And since when is "Jewess" anything like a non-racial, non-religious label like "boyfriend"? Check out the dictionary maybe. If you wanted to be so politically correct and not misleading, why would you want to encourage anything racial/religious on a pair of pants?!?!?!!? Someone with tremendous pride in their Jewish heritage might be hugely offended. Your argument holds no water, dear blogger.

Boyfriend jeans are just that: like the pants you'd borrow from a boyfriend (yours, mine, or anyone else's). It refers to the cut (relative to the product) and something in reference to man pants (relative to the product). The HINT there: manly, man-ish pants. Man pants but "boyfriend jeans" sounds so much nicer than "hey, you want to buy these 'man pants'?" don't you think? As for the people defining themselves by pants labels, maybe if WE would all work towards respecting ourselves and others a little more and took it all a little more seriously, the offensive names on labels ("boyfriend" ain't one of them), the images on tv, and anorexia defining our "ideal" wouldn't bug us so much BRCAUSE they would go the way of the dinosaur as they should. They would be extinct because it just wouldn't wash with us, it just wouldn't be accepted. Blogging about it. NO ONE CARES. I found this blog because I was Googling trying to find MORE INFO about the boyfriend jeans I like so much. ::rolling my eyes::

I agree that gap's boyfriend jeans were named so because they were cut more like mens' pants. I bought 2 pairs (one at gap, one in a thrift store) and I have to say they were the best-fitting jeans I ever owned. It is rather embarrassing to shop in the guys' section because guys' jeans fit better, and I was really glad gap marketed this product for girls like me who just don't like the other styles out there. The name was pretty stupid, but gap couldn't very well have called them "The Guy Cut" or something, because no one would have bought them.

Now I have to shop in the mens' section again :(

I am sure you will be happy to hear that the boyfriend jean has been discontinued at the Gap. So much for controversy. I do have to agree that these jeans were excellent for women who do not like wearing tight legged fitting jeans.

So long to my boyfriend! I'm sorry I only got one pair.

They call these pants Boyfriend Jeans/Trousers because they are a fit like men's clothing but cut for women. They are for girls like me who do not like the skinny and flared fits of women's clothing. I used to shop in the men's section and as a size 2, they are WAY too big for me. I was overexcited when they came out with boyfriend fits.

K... just responding to some of the previous comments made firstly, buying skinny jeans does not imply at all that you have to be skinny to wear them. There are numerous articles about finding the kind of skinny jean that looks good on any type of body, including a curvy body. Secondly, just because it's called a skinny jean does not mean that it supports being annorexic at all And about the boyfriend jean, it's just refering to the cut of the jean. I would love to wear a pair of pants that look like guy pants just because they look so comfortable. It doesn't have to do with possession or anything like that at all. The name of a cut of jean is just that, it's name. It doesn't denote the type of person who should be wearing that jean at all.

I tried to put on my girlfriend's shirt, but she wouldn't let me since she said I'd stretch it out.

terrific post! it's amazing how much identity can be infused into clothing... and ironic that the GAP with its products for (RED)using AIDS in Africa and inducing anorexia ( skinny leg jeans) has often fallen into the spotlight...

Great post! Thank you for sharing. I think that "boyfriend trousers" would look splendid with a "wife-beater"! I'll never understand why marketers at the GAP and other clothing stores thought that "wife-beater" was an acceptable name for a shirt.

My boyfriend really likes it when I wear his shirts; he very frankly told me he finds it quite sexy. Now, heÌ¢‰â‰ã¢s never expressed this same excitement about me throwing on a pair of his pants, khakis or sweats. I get the impressionÌ¢‰â‰۝and everyone out there should feel free to correct meÌ¢‰â‰۝that this excitement is a subtle expression of possession...

Wearing a manÌ¢‰â‰ã¢s clothing in public signals to others who might be interested Ì¢‰âÒthat oneÌ¢‰â‰ã¢s takenÌ¢‰âÂå -- all the while a sneaky little smirk grows on the face of the articleÌ¢‰â‰ã¢s owner because heÌ¢‰â‰ã¢s thinking, Ì¢‰âÒthat oneÌ¢‰â‰ã¢s mine.Ì¢‰âÂå And while IÌ¢‰â‰ã¢m struggling to think of a reciprocal pattern in men wearing womenÌ¢‰â‰ã¢s clothing to give off this aura of possession, I am certainly aware that I am territorial in my thinking about him.

But what are we as women saying when we choose to buy pants that are specifically designed to be like menÌ¢‰â‰ã¢s pants? Because with GAP itÌ¢‰â‰ã¢s less about possession and more about being trendy or professionalÌ¢‰âÂå_ Are menÌ¢‰â‰ã¢s cut pants more professional? Is it trendy to appear taken?

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How to cite this page

Namerow, Jordan. "Boyfriend Trousers? I Want Jewess Jeans.." 2 March 2007. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on December 13, 2017) <https://jwa.org/blog/boyfriendtrousers>.

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