Before you go disregarding the store for their ultra-racy ads, hear me out first!
Yes, I know, American Apparel’s reputation isn’t the cleanest what with its well-publicized history of extreme sexual harassment allegations against founder Dov Charney that were all proven to be true when an investigation revealed the cringe-worthy sexts sent between him and his employees, and that whole “No Instagram Hoes or THOTs” controversy, but before you go dismissing my review, hear me out first: American Apparel actually upholds some pretty great ethics in regards to what it pays its employees, where it produces its products and the quality of those said products.
Before I get into reviewing the products themselves, American Apparel does everything it can to ensure that its products are Made In America, with its factory located in Downtown LA; pay its factory-employees wages that are well above the industry standard; use high-quality materials that endure the test of time; and, support legal initiatives such as gay marriage and immigration reform. So, even if Dov Charney’s pants weren’t always on, the ethics he instilled in the company are ones we don’t mind getting behind [insert sexual pun here].
American Apparel, which specializes in basics, can get a bit pricey, but when you take into account the quality of the material used (you can feel it from the moment you try any of their pieces on) as well as wages paid, paying a bit more for a black crepe skirt is justified and to me, well worth it.
Here’s why American Apparel is one of my favorite retail stores of all time! Ah, it feels nice to finally get that off my chest.
1. Their Denim Actually Feels Like Denim
In my opinion, if pants aren’t blue or black denim, they’re not worth wearing. This statement alludes to the technicolor pants that blew up in the fashion world several years ago and continue to make a come back, year after year after godforsaken year. I don’t ever think there’s an appropriate occasion to wear salmon-colored denim, but that’s just me. With my love of denim and much trial and error, I’ve discovered there are only two places to buy denim pants and that’s at the Levi’s store or at American Apparel. I’ve also learned the difference between real denim jeans and denim pants. Real denim jeans are made of a durable, inflexible, starchy material that, while it may not conform to your body right away like stretch pants, will last you many, many years. Denim pants are thin and made of a stretchy material that can be flattering and comfortable (believe me, I own several pairs of these pants), but aren’t too durable and usually end up tearing somewhere.
American Apparel’s denim is real, heavy-duty and eternal. While the last sentence may have sounded like the beginning of an ode to the retail store, there’s just no other way to describe it. The jeans, which usually run around $70, are well worth the price.
2. Their Basics Are Innovative, Stylish & Classic
Unlike my husband, I’m not a fan of loud, outlandish prints and colors. The bulk of my wardrobe consists of plain colors in basic styles. White and black t-shirts, dark-colored blouses, denim pants, flannels… it’s a pretty boring wardrobe to an outsider looking for some flavor, but a source of comfort to someone like me, who prefers to keep a low profile.
One of the reasons as to why I love American Apparel is because they take basics and turn them into statement pieces. Whether its their body suits, wraparound t-shirts, plunged necklines, or fitted skirts, they take basic colors and turn them into timeless, stylish pieces that have the ability to conform to the individual style of its wearer.
The best part about filling your closet with basics is that you can mix and match outfits, thus ensuring an endless supply of new ideas!
3. Their Employees Are Actually Really Nice & Helpful
Contrary to popular belief, American Apparel actually has really nice, easily accessible employees. I’ve often heard people complain about the perceived rude and snooty behavior of American Apparel employees. While I’m sure you’re bound to run into people who act like assholes regardless of whether you’re in an American Apparel or Denny’s, I’ve been to several stores around the country, with the most of them being in LA, and have never experienced a rude employee who wasn’t willing to set up a fitting room for me, grab a different size, or give their opinion on an item I’ve selected.
If you don’t go into the store with the preconceived notion that they’re going to be unapproachable and arrogant, I guarantee you’ll have a positive shopping experience and will have the pleasure of meeting one of the many nice people the world has to offer.
4. The Materials They Play Around With
American Apparel isn’t just about cotton and denim. They fabricate beautiful basic pieces using materials like velvet, crepe, suede, leather, and more.
5. Their Vintage Sunglass Collection
You may or may not have known this, but most American Apparel stores house a pretty neat collection of vintage shoes, sunglasses and shirts. Their vintage sunglasses are my favorite items of the bunch, as they feature 60- and 70’s inspired frames that add a playful touch to my outfits.
Their collection is so great, I reserve my favorite frames for special occasions, as in every other occasion I’m not at work. 😉
6. Their Use Of Genuine Materials
As was the case with their real denim pants, American Apparel uses materials that actually feel like genuine cotton, denim, velvet, leather, etc. Unlike other retailers who feature synthetic versions of the originals, American Apparel only uses genuine fabrics.
This is part of the reason their items last so long. What you’re paying for is the real deal, none of that synthetic crap.
7. Their Accessories
Scrunchies, hats, scarves, purses, Casio watches, necklaces, the list goes on and on! Much like their clothes, their accessories are vintage-inspired and come in a variety of materials and fabrics.
You can find scrunchies of every print and texture, floppy hats that are begging to be worn in the colder months of the year, funky Casio watches in pastel colors, pendant necklaces featuring your initial or multi-colored circles, and fleece hoodies for your pup! I adore American Apparel accessories and their selection makes them a one-stop shop for everything.
If you look beyond the controversy surrounding the company, American Apparel features fashion-forward items at relatively affordable prices that cater to every style and personality. The fact that their pieces can be conformed to reflect your individuality is what makes me a diehard fan of the company. Sure, they may have just filed for bankruptcy, but I genuinely hope this company cleans up their act and sticks around for many years to come. If not, it looks like I may need to go on a liquidation shopping spree.
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