My Love-Hate Relationship with American Apparel

Here's what you are going to wish you were wearing when you find yourself riding a mechanical bull.

Mar 22, 2012 at 12:00pm | Leave a comment

Let me tell you who I hope to never meet in a dark alley anywhere: International Creeper Dov Charney, founder of American Apparel, lover of crotch shots, wearer of oversize glasses, and arbiter of late 80’s/early 90’s inspired fashions.  

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I say international because, hey ya’ll, he’s from Canada!  I say creeper because, well, here:

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I want to never buy anything from American Apparel (hereafter referred to as A.A.) if only for their gross soft core porn ads alone. But A. A. makes some stuff that I love and can’t imagine my life without. You think I’m going to say something simple like "ribbed tanks," but in fact I am going to say "disco pants."


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Only here they are in real life:

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I own the disco pants in red, black, navy and charcoal.  I know you are sitting at your computer saying no effing way are you going to wear these slutty pants. Well you should, and you CAN! 

For starters, they are the best heavyweight spandex there is. I’m talking superhero quality stuff. This allows them to hug everything nicely and smooth everything out. They are so kind to curves, like a giant pair of way more comfortable Spanx. Also, they have pockets on the bum!  This takes these from being a pair of leggings to being a pair of pants. 

Cause let me tell you, leggings most certainly are not pants.  Even though I wear leggings as pants all the time. DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO. I have recommended these pants to girls of all different sizes and they always end up loving them. 

And oh, the shimmery sheen on them, I’m Olivia Newton John in the carnival scene in Grease when I rock these bad boys.

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Telling you to try these pants brings me to my first problem with A. A.  They hate fat people.  You can freak out at that statement all you want, but I guarantee you that Dov and his cronies had some secret Skull and Bones meeting wherein they said “What the fuck do we do about all these fat people wearing our beautiful skinny people clothes?”

A.A. used to carry XXL stuff in their store, and my boyfriend is a big dude. I started having a hard time finding anything in the store for him, and one day when I pressed the salesgirl about it, she got slightly irritated with me and snapped, “We aren’t making that size any more, it doesn’t sell!” 

Now, I dress people for a living, and I find this hard to believe. There could not be a portion of the retail market being more underserved than the sizes above the traditional S-M-L.

A.A. does now make the disco pant in a ladies XL.  This is part of their much bally-hooed "NEW PLUS SIZES" line that includes a whole whopping 10 items. They claim the XL is akin to a size 12-14 pant, but I am inclined to call BS, since I wear a medium in these pants cause of my ass but the large isn’t all that huge on me.

A. A. also makes an amazing long, wool-look rayon/nylon knit cardigan. Which is perfect for covering your ass when wearing leggings as pants. Because let me tell you once again, LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS. Of course my gray AA cardigan is full of holes from me putting scissors in the pockets but I still love it. 

Oh yeah!  It has pockets.  I rest my case.

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Here’s another thing I dislike about A. A.  Not only does your entire interview for employment at A. A. consist of submitting a full body photo of yourself,but have you seen their employee dress code manual? They would never hire me for the following reasons:

1) My shit is never impeccably clean. I’m a lover of all things dirty and messy. I’m busy living my life and sometimes my clothes bear the brunt of it.  

2) I’m a lifetime acrylic nail wearer.  Yes, A. A. discriminates against girls who wear acrylics!  I’m considering starting a scholarship fund.

I like that they talk in this manual about ’representing a standard our customers would wish to "aspire to." I am not aspiring to ever wear mesh harem pants to work, thanks though. 

I also like that they state their staff members may only wear "old Cartier or vintage look" watches. I’d take this as carte blanche to never be on time for work, as I don’t own the correct watch and therefore how could I be expected to know what time it is?

At least this explains why I am getting horrific, disinterested customer service every time I darken the door of an A.A. retail location. They don’t even confirm that you can form a complete sentence before putting you at the register if you are pretty.

Here’s the third piece of clothing I own from A. A. that I find myself reaching for over and over. I’m actually gonna wear it to dinner tonight with some heels and my motorcycle jacket.

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I have a butt the size of my beloved Texas, and the cut of this stupid cotton romper does things for it I can’t even begin to comprehend.  Plus you can accessorize it 5 million ways to Sunday. I believe that with the right accessories you could wear this on the beach, at a black tie event, or any place in between.

It totally irks me that American Apparel is SO CLEARLY a rip off of a store called Units I loved as a child in the 80’s. Units’ shtick was these 8 core pieces made of a cotton spandex knit that could be worn in countless ways. A skirt could be pulled up and worn as a mini dress. A tube top could be scrunched down and worn as a belt. They had a big display of these 8 items you could take on a vacation and be the picture of style and grace with your one mini-suitcase. I thought this was impossibly glamorous.

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I can’t find a picture of the inside of the Units stores but they used those SAME white wire grids that American Apparel uses to display their wares. Copycats!

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How can it be that I love and purchase stuff from this company while not really loving anything at all about the company? I recently read that scientists have proven that it really is a fine line between love and hate.  Both emotions involve the same brain circuitry.  However, when you love something you are less likely to be critical of it, and when you hate something, you are likely thinking more rationally!

Here is a random pic that made me laugh while I was writing this.

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I haven’t even begun to mention the mannequins that they must manufacture themselves and always pose in sexually suggestive positions in their store windows!

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Do you guys shop at American Apparel?  What are your favorite pieces they sell? Or do you avoid them at all costs? I keep hearing that they are on the verge of bankruptcy, so I think I should start buying backups of the pieces I love so much and hoard them the way I do my special pink incandescent light bulbs that are SO UN-PC.

Everyone should be bathed in pink light at all times. It's so flattering and dreamy. I mean, I love the friggin' earth and regularly pick bottles out of filthy trash cans on the street, shove them in my purse, and bring them home to recycle, but I just cannot abide those compact flourescent light bulbs.

Yes, we did start out here talking about disco pants and are ending 1300 words later on pink light bulbs.