Dating back to 1986, Gap Kids has long been one of the most prolific manufacturers of high quality clothes for kids of all ages. The brand is a division of The Gap, Inc.--which was founded in 1969. Donald and Doris Fisher opened their first store in Sacramento, CA, after growing frustrated with not being able to find the right size of jeans in a large department store. The retailer originally sold solely jeans, and it offered them at low prices that were basically unmatched. Named after the "Generation Gap"--a popular phrase in the late '60s and early '70s, Gap began to take off within just a few years.
After selling products made by Levi Strauss & Co. for several years, Gap began manufacturing its own lines of clothes as well. The brand began to diversify in the late '80s by starting the Gap Kids clothing line (hooking parents who already shopped at Gap stores themselves) as well as acquiring the private label Banana Republic. Gap began to establish its own unique niche as a more upscale retailer, and the brand spread beyond U.S. borders by 1990. Today, The Gap, Inc. operates more than 3,200 stores around the world--spread between Gap, babyGap, Gap Kids, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, and a handful of other brands.
The Gap Kids brand offers an extremely wide array of options for young boys and girls. When it comes to casualwear for boys, garments include short- and long-sleeved t-shirts and graphic tees as well as sweaters and hoodies. You'll also find options like jeans, cargo shorts, mesh shorts, sweat pants, and cargo pants. Sleepwear, underwear, and socks round out the selection of everyday-wear. Casual options for girls include tees, sweaters, blouses, and dresses as well as leggings, shorts, and skirts. Jeans are also available in a wide range of colors, washes, and styles. Both boys and girls can find outerwear like parkas and puffer jackets to help get through a tough winter.
The other main category of clothes that Gap Kids has begun to produce more recently is school uniforms. For both genders, options include polos in a variety of colors as well as button-down shirts and formal cardigans. Slacks, pleated shorts, skirts, jumpers, and vests are also available for the epitome of prep school style. You'll find a range of shoes available from Gap Kids--including casual options perfect for running around as well as more formal sneakers, loafers, flats, and boots. Backpacks, messenger bags, and lunchboxes round out the brand's selection of back-to-school supplies for little ones.
Gap Kids has been around longer than most brands of kids' clothes, and it has earned a very solid reputation through the years. When it comes to durability and quality of individual garments, it's hard to beat Gap Kids (although prices can be a little high). The clothes produced for this line run the gamut from casual to more formal, so it's easy to find the selections that best meet your little one's demands. The company's foray into school uniforms also sets it apart because it is one of the few mainstream retailers addressing this essential niche. The Gap, Inc. has recently begun pushing an initiative that focuses on improving its labor practices around the world--including a jump in the company's minimum wage at all of its stores. All things considered, we give Gap Kids 4.5 out of 5 stars.