Hypothetical question: if you had to spend your own money to rebuild your wardrobe in a single store, where would you go? Really, the only way you would ever find yourself in this situation is... well... you wouldn't. Unless the Fashion Police came knocking and demanded it for mysterious reasons? But at Fave, we like to think about these things anyway....
You're a working class guy or gal on a tight budget. Couture salons and luxury department stores are out of the question so we won’t even consider them. And if you’re going to rebuild your entire wardrobe, you want pieces with a bit more longevity than 5 to 10 washes, so your next stop isn’t a fast fashion shop! Goodbye, Zara, Forever 21 and H&M! You make great disposable fashions and we love you for the nice peplums, baroque, and burgundy-everything you’ve been churning out for the fall season but you don’t cut it when the task at hand is to find a store with a bit more than the latest and greatest trends crafted in pill-prone acrylic and poorly stitched poly-blend.
For those of you living under a rock, American Apparel is a popular clothing retailer based in LA. They actually started as a t-shirt wholesaler in the late 80’s, producing the perfect tees in a plethora of styles for customization and mass order. They still do this! Fun fact: the American Apparel location in Ottawa (where Fave is based) is adjacent to the Apple Store, where, lo and behold, the employees sport bright blue tees with the Apple logo, produced by *American Apparel*.
At the turn of the millennium, Canadian founder Dov Charney moved American Apparel to LA and launched their first retail store in Montreal, Canada. They pride themselves on being vertically integrated. All aspects of their company come from and are contained within the company; the design floor to the factory floor to the selling floor, meaning that they are also sweatshop free! Manufacturing happens at the Los Angeles factory which hires American workers for fair wages. Besides the fact that their headquarters are in LA, the essence of American Apparel is very Canadian. No wonder we’re fans.Vertically integrated and sweatshop free? Canadian origins? But we suspect that the name wouldn’t have the same ring if it was called “Canadian Apparel.”
Shucks! The Fashion Police came knocking and as punishment for drifting from the sample size, they’re putting you on a 10 day fat-flush and restricting you to shop at one place for a month as a disciplinary measure. That’s where American Apparel comes in! The retailer is still true to its origins, selling customers a rainbow wheel of great quality t-shirts in a variety of blends, neck styles and fits, but these pale in comparison to everything else they offer today. Tons of basics and classics, and yes, at a bit of a higher price point than a broke student or a stingy city-goer might prefer, but the seams won’t come apart after a few wears and the fibers of those $87 sweaters are 100% COTTON! Gasp! That’s cheaper than my itchy acrylic cowl neck pullover from Zara. Belts? Check. Sunglasses, eyeglasses, and watches? American Apparel sells timeless vintage styles at great prices (around $50, less or more depending on the style). Other accessories? Why not buy the ubiquitous and ever-versatile circle scarf or some genuine leather totes. Need some denim bottoms? Long/short/skinny/flare leg/dark wash/light wash/four way stretch/no stretch, you got it. In fact, the only popular basic or classic you can’t seem to find in an American Apparel store is a low-waisted jean. It doesn’t stop there! You can find make-up items like lip-gloss and virtually any colour and finish of nail polish here too.
They even have neon out on the sales floor for the laggards!
My favourite colour of the season! So trendy, but also a timeless winter neutral.
Whatever they produce is made is typically made in at least 5 colours at one point or another...
We love the selection, the quality/price ratio, the natural fibers, etc. That’s not to say you won’t find synthetics here and there, but let’s not focus on the labels. The construction is good. I’ve put my American Apparel acrylic cardigan in the washer and dryer at least 15 times and it still looks like new. I can’t say the same for anything I’ve bought from Zara. Don’t get me wrong, Zara is still the reigning Queen of Reinterpretations (read: knockoffs) and we love how chic everything is, but when you want to love your clothes for longer and and need a great foundation to pair your pieces of the season with, American Apparel is a super-investment! You can create so many looks from a few great basic and classic items. Witness these fun Halloween costume ideas put together with American Apparel pieces.
Red Riding Hood
Check out this fun super-oversized camel coat with a contrasting suede collar. I’m liking this fit for Fall. I styled it with my burgundy pom pom beanie, striped seed-stitch sweater, the black Easy Jeans and my own vintage boots.
And I'm off! Look out for my next post on Monday. :)