Mon-Thu, 10am-8pm; Fri-Sat, 10am-9pm; Sun, 11am-8pm
6 at Astor Pl.; N, R at 8th St.-NYU
American Express, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
If you've just dropped in from East Nowhere and have never seen a Gap, don't worry—there's one just around the corner, between Duane Reade and Starbucks. Despite the chain's near-omnipresence, the brand has remained true to its classic American-casual style through constant corporate reinventions; witness celebrity spokespeople, pop music idols, and designers from top couture houses (like Pina Ferlisi, ex- of Marc Jacobs). While Gap follows more trends than it sets (save for a famous pink trench coat that rocketed out of stores), it's great for well-fitting, reasonably priced, runway-inspired weekend or business-casual wear. Better still, the workmanship and fabrics hold up, for good-looking classics that span seasons, and spin cycles, with ease. While the brand traditionally excelled at jeans and denim, khakis, cotton polos and pocket T-shirts, recent moves into of-the-moment flirty tops, classically pretty dresses and replicas of designer bags make fashionable street wear just as prevalent as tanks, logo sweats, and puffy coats. Corporate parent of little-sib Old Navy and slicker big-sib Banana Republic, the Gap offers reliable staples with and a few fresh twists, all within the realm of clothes you can take home to Mama. And speaking of family matters, larger stores, like the three-story 34th Street flagship, include the GapKids, babyGap, GapBody, and GapMaternity collections.