About the Author: Adam Terry is a thirtysomething salesman in the HVAC/Plumbing industry. He enjoys bourbon, boots, sneakers, raw denim, and working on his
dad bod father figure.
Howdy, partner! This here is Gap’s new Western selvedge denim jacket and it could be one of their hidden gems for Fall/Winter 2020. I know that most of us in the United States are still dealing with Summer’s unforgiving heat and humidity, but here in Tennessee, we’re just starting to see some cracks in that fa§ade. Most of us Southerners are already caterwauling for cooler days and crisper nights where we can throw on some layers, circle up safely around a bonfire, and share some sarsaparilla (or bourbon) with our friends. This denim jacket might just be the perfect piece for your Fall aesthetic.
Yee haw autumn!
- Brand: Gap
- Style: Type III Denim Jacket
- Size: Medium
- Denim: ~14oz Japanese selvedge denim from Kaihara
- Details: Cast zinc buttons
- Country of Origin: Indonesia
- Retail Price: $178, but should be had for around $110 pretty easily, with all the codes and sales
Western? Or just a timeless trucker style?
The Adam Review Scale of Excellence (A.R.S.E.)
- 5 – Excellent! No issues and highly recommended.
- 4 – Good. Above average, but not perfect.
- 3 – Average. Minor issues, might be good at the right price.
- 2 – Fair. Below average due to defects, flaws, or imperfections.
- 1 – Poor. Significant issues, not worth purchasing at any price.
Side adjuster tabs. Ready for… adjusting.
The top half of our Canadian tuxedo was ordered late on a Sunday evening and arrived crammed into our mailbox just five days later. While Gap has never been as fast as Amazon Prime for me, I think one week is perfectly average shipping during these “unprecedented times” so I’m not knocking off points for that. It’ll arrive in plenty of time for next year’s Stampede.
FYI: Gap offers a 45-day return policy on everything purchased from one of their brands – Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Athleta, and Hill City (RIP). Returns and exchanges are free, too.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Easy ordering, average shipping times, and simple returns.
Our jacket came double bagged – one clear protective bag wrapped up inside a navy-blue Gap shipping bag. While mylar bags aren’t impressive, it ships for free so don’t get your bolo in a knot.
Score: 5/5 Stars – It’s fine. It do be like that sometimes.
Looks to be sanforized (pre-shrunk) but raw (no factory washing or pre-fading)
I’d like to clear one thing up, right up front. In my opinion, this is a denim trucker jacket in the style of Levi’s famous Type III jacket that was introduced in the 1960’s. It has the pointed pocket flaps, tapered stitching seams down the front, and the side adjuster tabs. I know that’s super pedantic but calling it Western wear might turn some people off. There’s nothing really “Western” about this; lots of men and women have worn denim trucker jackets for decades both in the city and on the farm. It’s as ubiquitous as white tees, blue jeans, Corvettes, and apple pie! Gap’s going hard on the Western branding though.
Now that we’ve moved past the #NerdAlert information, let’s focus on the jacket itself. Gap chose to use some excellent ~14oz raw selvedge denim fabric from Kaihara Denim, one of Japan’s oldest and largest denim manufacturers. This jacket looks to be sanforized (pre-shrunk) but raw in that it hasn’t been factory washed or pre-faded at all. Over time, this jacket will develop neat little fading lines and highlights in the high wear areas that are unique to the wearer.
Japanese selvedge denim from Kaihara
Fresh out of the mylar shipping bag, this jacket is as stiff as heavy-duty cardboard. I’ve been wearing selvedge jeans for a while and I’ve never felt anything this stiff. It feels like it was pressed or ironed! However, after wearing the jacket around the house for an hour, it’s already starting to soften up and conform to my arms, shoulders, and waist. Given enough time, it would become like a second skin.
The stitching is super clean throughout my example; I can’t find a single missed stitch or loose seam anywhere. The design team nailed the stitch colors, too, replicating the copper and lemon-yellow two-tone look that was used on the classic Levi’s examples from the late 1960’s. The hand warmer pockets are reinforced with thick bar tack stitching and the bottom hem has some chainstitching. The buttonholes are sewn very well – so tight that I had to use a small pocketknife to open them up a bit more. Inside, there are two lined pockets that can easily fit a large iPhone or Nintendo Switch.
Speaking of the buttons, they’re cast zinc pieces with 1969 embossed on the front and GAP on the shank. All of the buttons are attached well and shouldn’t fail anytime soon.
There’s also a simple leather patch and a little locker loop at the collar so you can hang this jacket up without a hanger. The giant WESTERN JACKET tape patch billboard at the hem should be removed ASAP.
Score: 4/5 Stars – Well made from above average materials and construction.
Stiff raw denim. The real deal.
Fit, Sizing, and Comfort
My personal benchmark for an excellent cut and fitment is 3sixteen’s Type 3s jacket, which is a slim fit with a slightly longer length to help accommodate those of us who are of the taller persuasion. In comparison, Gap’s jacket is shorter and boxier hitting right at the hips. I’d still consider it a slimmer fit, but there’s some extra denim love handles to the sides above the waist band. If you’re generally on the larger side of your tag size, this might fit you well. If you’re a bit smaller than the tag size, this may feel too boxy or “vintage” for you. Personally, I prefer something that’s cut longer and trimmer like the 3sixteen one.
Comfort is always subjective, but I’ll go out on a limb and say this jacket will be pretty uncomfortable for the first few outings. The denim fabric is densely woven and feels, again, as stiff as cardboard. After a few days of wearing it around the house, it should start to break in and mold to your body. It WILL get better!
For reference, I am pretty much an Average Adam at 6’0″, ~195 lbs. and usually wear a medium in most alpha-sized jackets for a slim fit. In sport coats or tailored jackets, I usually go for a 41R when available.
Score: 3/5 Stars – Fit is short and boxy. Not immediately comfortable, but it will mold to you.
Short and boxy. Barrel fit! But this is still out-the-box-stiff. It should conform over time.
Size shown is a medium on 6’0″, ~195 lbs. Tall folks? Be warned.
Short and sweet: I think the jacket is solid and suggest that you try one on if you’re in the market. It’s nicely constructed and will get better with age, but I think it’s too expensive at full price. We all know Gap runs frequent discounts, so you should aim for at least 40% off (if not more) to drop the price well below its much stronger competition from 3sixteen, Naked & Famous, Tellason, Left Field, Railcar Fine Goods, Freenote Cloth, or others in this mid-tier $150-$250 price range. UPDATE: It’s now $89. Okay. That’s more like it. Either way, this denim dog will hunt. As long as it fits you a bit better than it did for me.
Avg. Score: 4.25/5 Stars – Pretty dang good, but unless on mega sale, it’s a little too expensive. Buy on sale, enjoy for life.