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American Apparel unravels
August 22, 2010 2:10 AM   Subscribe

American Apparel, the clothing company which became synonymous with the "hipster" look of the 2000s, is facing bankruptcy.

American Apparel courted controversy with its pornography-inspired ads, which held a permanent place on the back of VICE Magazine, and the equally sexualised persona of its founder, Dov Charney. It was at one point the largest clothing manufacturer in the United States, due largely to the fact that other companies had shifted their production offshore. Now its auditor has resigned, citing "material weaknesses" in the firm's financial controls, and the firm's stock is facing delisting.

Charney himself has recently disowned the hipster style his firm became synonymous with, and announced an intention to switch to making more conservatively styled clothing for an older market. Whether that's enough to save his company is uncertain.
posted by acb (137 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
"American Apparel, the clothing company which became synonymous with the "hipster" look of the 2000s, is facing bankruptcy."

Well, bankruptcy *is* the latest trend... while homeless attire is the new black.
posted by markkraft at 2:22 AM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


HIPSTER JOKES
posted by p3on at 2:24 AM on August 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


For all the flack they received they were extremely generous to their staff and were big supporters for immigration reform.
posted by PenDevil at 2:43 AM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


For all the flack they received they were extremely generous to their staff

Yes, Charney has apparently been quite ready to give a helping hand to his staff.
posted by dersins at 2:56 AM on August 22, 2010 [12 favorites]


Charney = the Hefner of hipster?
posted by acb at 2:59 AM on August 22, 2010


The silver lining for me is that maybe online stores selling t-shirts might have to switch to a company that makes clothes that match labels. I have a couple shirts that were printed on American Apparel tees. The label says XL, but the shirt has nothing else in relation with reality. Some day, I'll lose enough weight to wear a medium t-shirt, and maybe then I can pull those out of the closet.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:02 AM on August 22, 2010 [15 favorites]


And I'm left with nothing, posing in my underwear.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:08 AM on August 22, 2010


Penis.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:26 AM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Nipples.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:41 AM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I shed not a tear.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 3:44 AM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


It'll be interesting to see if he tries to sexually-harass his way out of bankrupcy court.
posted by Azazel Fel at 4:01 AM on August 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Yeh the stock has been on a pretty wild ride, not that I trade this type of issue - I'm a cash flow investor myself - but, as a student of the markets, I like to watch and hopefully learn from these events.

It will be really interesting to see if creditors push them to a filing or relax the EBITA covenants; this isn't so much a case of a lack of cash flow rather than whats called a technical default. APP is required, under terms of the agreements made with the lender LION in 2009, to maintain earnings above certain levels. If earnings fall below these levels then APP is in default even if current with interest and principal payments on its debt.

And almost always in these situations there are cross default agreements in place with other lenders, so if they default on one loan they default on all loans; in finance speak we'd say the whole shithouse goes up in flames.

Curious discussion here; many analysts point to the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, (BAPCPA) as the driver of a sharp increase in bankruptcies over the past five years and, on the surface, this made sense. BAPCAP made it far, far more difficult for companies to file then successfully reorganise. On a closely related side note, as we learn more about the 2008 financial crisis BAPCPA has attracted its own share of the blame as this act allowed lenders to very rapidly remove funding if necessary, since safe harbour provisions let assets be ring fenced. In other words, a lender could rapidly withdraw funds without worrying about the vagaries of bankruptcy court (see the Lehman & Bear Sterns debacles where access to the repo markets was gone, literally overnight).

On the other hand, Corporate Renewal had a very good analysis of BAPCAPs impact on bankruptcy filings, specifically Chapter 11 in a Retail Environment [ .pdf] , adding several key points, specificallly :
But getting back to APP specifically, the share price has cratered, which always brings out the speculative types. Ok, I always hold a speculative play myself (almost a lottery ticket!), but a key problem potential investors have are APP's notoriously unreliable financials. There seem to be very few controls in place at APP, over two years ago the CEO - who had been hired to restore financial clarity - abruptly resigned. The problems didn't end with his replacement, with news coming out Friday that they were facing delisting after missing a deadline to file Q1 2010 financials.

Of course if you're the sort that likes a challenge, APP is hiring a Director of Financial Reporting, a "newly created position".

If they reach an agreement with their lenders and avoid an immediate filing you might see a nice bounce in the share price if they can use the run up to the holiday period to liquidate inventory, then file in 2011. I wouldn't trade it myself (no dividend, don't you know) but it suits the speculative types so what the hell.

Some 60% of the company is held by insiders, with Dov Charney himself seeing his net worth drop from almost one billion to about twenty three million, so there is plenty of pain to go about.

As I said, this will be interesting to watch.
posted by Mutant at 4:09 AM on August 22, 2010 [50 favorites]


Kind of a shame, I liked whacking off to their ads.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:14 AM on August 22, 2010 [10 favorites]


...net worth drop from almost one billion to about twenty three million...

:'(
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:14 AM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


He touched so many lives, as the lawsuits bear witness.
posted by Abiezer at 4:27 AM on August 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


Sleazebag boss, disturbing ad branding, and pretty simple clothing. But the t-shirts aren't really that bad. I'm guessing that the quality of their other stuff is decent as well. If these guys go, I hope someone else fills this niche, paying people a decent wage to make GAP clothes, without enslaving Indonesians.
posted by Gilbert at 4:33 AM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm a bit sad, because their shop is the easiest place to get those huge bottles of Dr Bonners' soap, and I love that shit.

I can't fit into 99% of what they sell, and it's always filled with douchebags, but I want my soap, and it'll be a pain in the ass to find it as easy again.
posted by Katemonkey at 4:50 AM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I searched Google Images for American Apparel ads ("They can't be that bad. People are just overreacting, as usual") and... um... righty-oh then.
posted by Ritchie at 4:53 AM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, sleazebag boss apart, their shirts (as obtained with funny stamps from woot) are among the best I've found.

However, combine their current success/ubiquitousness, a resigning auditor, and morally suspect administration... and this bankruptcy stinks. Might be just maladministration, or might be embezzlement, but I suspect that lack of revenue it ain't.
posted by qvantamon at 4:57 AM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm only here to state that I laughed very hard after reading Mutant's impressive post and then the one after it.
posted by Team of Scientists at 4:59 AM on August 22, 2010 [14 favorites]


They are made in the US and it would be sad if the takeaway from this is that you can't manufacture clothes here any more and make a profit.
posted by octothorpe at 5:15 AM on August 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Kind of a shame, I liked whacking off to their ads.

I searched Google Images for American Apparel ads ("They can't be that bad. People are just overreacting, as usual") and... um... righty-oh then.


I also did some googling and some of their ads make Benneton look tame by comparison.
posted by Fizz at 5:37 AM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry, but -- thank God.
posted by Ouisch at 5:38 AM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sic transit Gloria.

She was the skinny girl who'd curl up in the corner of the set and stare disaffectedly at the wall behind the photographer.
posted by Spatch at 5:38 AM on August 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


I'm a bit sad, because their shop is the easiest place to get those huge bottles of Dr Bonners' soap, and I love that shit.

Going bankrupt won't actually make the company go out of business. From mutant's post it sounds like the company is fine, just a potential takeover target by some of it's lenders.

Imagine if you had a car loan that stipulated you had to stay employed. Then, imagine you lost your job. This would be like the lender wanting to take the car back just because they could, even if you were still making payments. And then there's the crossdefault stuff and everything else.
posted by delmoi at 5:43 AM on August 22, 2010


"I searched Google Images for American Apparel ads ("They can't be that bad. People are just overreacting, as usual") and... um... righty-oh then.
posted by Ritchie at 4:53 AM on August 22
"

Just did the same, and OMG.
posted by Vindaloo at 5:48 AM on August 22, 2010


They are made in the US and it would be sad if the takeaway from this is that you can't manufacture clothes here any more and make a profit.

Their problem isn't their manufacturing cost structure - their problem was overexpanding, having their finance and distribution wings run by amateurs, and then making the strategic error of going to the Private Equity guys at Lion for capital and letting them come in senior to the equity

Contrary to what Mutant says they're probably going to file. The Lion guys control the fulcrum in the cap structure and they know how to run a retailer (look at the other stuff they own). They'll force ch.11, wipe out the existing equity, move Dov into a non-operating role, cancel a shit ton of leases at unprofitable stores and try to turn this thing around. Unlike a bank they aren't averse to owning the business so it is unlikely they will renegotiate the covenants, and with AAP's current accounting issues I would be surprised if they find a third party to inject a bunch of equity - although who knows maybe some crazy japanese company or something might do that. But Ch.11 is exactly what these guys need - it is the only way they can deal with their biggest issue - the lease obligations.

Mutant - you are overblowing what BARCPA means - it shortens up timelines but I guarantee you the Lion guys already know exactly what they want to do once they start running the show (or rather hire the turnaround consultants whom I'm sure are already on retainer) also your description of this as a "technical default" while factually correct is seriously misleading to the vast majority of people here who've never even heard of a covenant before. AAP has serious cashflow issues - too many expensive leases signed at the top of the commercial real estate market. But there is a real business underneath that. Where the liquidate or reorg decision in the current shorter timeline environment becomes more difficult is if the decision is marginal. In this case it isn't.
posted by JPD at 5:50 AM on August 22, 2010 [11 favorites]


They have the softest, best fitting t-shirts I've ever worn though. And super-soft basic dresses and skirts that I can't really find anywhere else (and for not much money...30, 40 bucks...) The reprehensible aspects are there I guess, but I would be sad if these high-quality non-sweatshop labor clothing options stopped being available.
posted by wondershrew with a helping of potato salad at 6:04 AM on August 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Lion has amended the credit agreement before BTW so i guess it is just an issue of if they have run out of patience with mgmt. BTW I just read the 10-Q and the Lion guys were smart enough to include an anti-dilution clause in the warrants they own, so finding an angel investor will be even tougher.

But reality is that Lion controls their destiny - yes BofA can actually put them in as well by pulling the revolver - but they really won't.
posted by JPD at 6:11 AM on August 22, 2010


Their problem isn't their manufacturing cost structure - their problem was overexpanding ...

That may be true but I was talking about perceptions, especially investor perceptions. AA is a high profile company that made a big deal about manufacturing here in the US ("Fashionable Basics. Sweatshop Free. Made in USA.") and if they fail, it could cause a stigma for any company in the future that wants to open a clothing plant here and pay people decent wages.
posted by octothorpe at 6:11 AM on August 22, 2010


That may be true but I was talking about perceptions, especially investor perceptions.

? I'm a bit confused? The investor perception isn't that making things in the US is the problem, but that opening up a ton of stores is. The AA brand is inextricably linked with making things in the US - and it is the brand that Lion was investing in.
posted by JPD at 6:15 AM on August 22, 2010


AA possibly no longer around? Fine with me, just as long as American Eagle keeps on making their skinny jeans in a size 8 long.
posted by sundrop at 6:22 AM on August 22, 2010


"The hipster look of the 2000s"? Does that mean that the hipster look is finally passé, and will be going away now? I am cautiously optimistic.
posted by ixohoxi at 6:25 AM on August 22, 2010


Don't know fall about the financials, but I do know that there's a segment of the population (like my stepson) who finds it almost impossible to find clothes that fit elsewhere. "Rake" is a body type that's damn hard to fit these days what with carbo-bloat epidemic. Seriously you can get 24x32 pants there and nowhere else I know.

Frankly I think that being taken over by adults is the best thing that could happen to the company.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:32 AM on August 22, 2010 [4 favorites]



Just did the same, and OMG.


I asked a friend a while back, why do all the people in American Apparel ads look like they're only dressing like that to curry favor from their abusers?

He said "because that's the case."
posted by mhoye at 6:42 AM on August 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


"The hipster look of the 2000s"? Does that mean that the hipster look is finally passé, and will be going away now? I am cautiously optimistic.

Hipsters are moving on to the retro-90's look, apparently.
posted by rottytooth at 6:43 AM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Has Charney been charged with child porn manufacturing for some of those ads yet?
posted by dortmunder at 7:15 AM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I imagine Dov Charny reading Mutant's comment sweat sheened and naked in his apartment this Sunday morning, screaming CAN SOMEBODY TELL ME WHAT THE FUCK THIS GUY IS TALKING ABOUT at the 20 year old art student girls laying unconscious on his floor and then chopping and railing another line.
posted by The Straightener at 7:17 AM on August 22, 2010 [55 favorites]


What bothers me about Woot is that it appears to be a complete crapshoot. I don't know where they get their other shirts from, but I've ordered 10 or so shirts from them, and only one came with an AA label. I generally order mediums, and they're a bit tight, but this one would barely fit over my head. As far as I was ever able to determine, there was no warning whatsoever. I made them send me a large, but I always wonder if it will happen again.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:22 AM on August 22, 2010


You know, I think Charney sucks as much as anyone else does, but:

It was at one point the largest clothing manufacturer in the United States, due largely to the fact that other companies had shifted their production offshore.

Goddamn, American business, you have no fucking shame at all. If Dov Charney is following a more moral and patriotic business model than the rest of these guys, what the hell does that say about them? I mean, for real. Think about that. What kind of a goddamn scumbag do you have to be to engage in business practices that make Dov Charney look like a better person than you are?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:41 AM on August 22, 2010 [18 favorites]


Think about that. What kind of a goddamn scumbag do you have to be to engage in business practices that make Dov Charney look like a better person than you are?

What are you talking about? Sexual impropriety is the only thing that matters! It's perfictly OK to grind third world workers into the ground, just so long as you don't grind them in the bedroom!
posted by delmoi at 7:45 AM on August 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


If American Apparel has anything to do with the hipster look, then I've been talking about something else this whole time. And... wait... then... what's a "bro," if that's a hipster? Who are the kids in slotted wayfarers and skinny pants??
posted by cmoj at 7:47 AM on August 22, 2010


Look At This Fucking Debtor.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 7:47 AM on August 22, 2010 [20 favorites]


They are made in the US and it would be sad if the takeaway from this is that you can't manufacture clothes here any more and make a profit.

From what I've read, Dov Charney did not give a fuck about managing the company.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:56 AM on August 22, 2010


The hipster look of the 2000s

Enough with the sunglasses and mustaches already.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:57 AM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


.
posted by grouse at 8:02 AM on August 22, 2010


I'll always appreciate that they changed the standard of "good quality band t-shirt" away from Hanes Beefy T.

OTOH, I always felt a bit peeved paying $20 at retail for a t-shirt blank that you could buy for $4 in volume.
posted by smackfu at 8:11 AM on August 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


I guess this means they'll be closing the 20,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 new stores they opened last year in every neighborhood in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Sad though, they make a solid t-shirt, and I like the idea of public smut.
posted by fuq at 8:23 AM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I liked them back when they just made t-shirts that bands used to print on. They introduced too many products-- gold lame hotpants, bodysuits, lace everything, etc. Just make some damn t-shirts and hoodies and stop with the stripper clothes. The stripper clothes really alienated me as a customer, because I felt like while they took care of one moral issue I had with buying clothes (labor rights), they just added another one (sexism).

From what I've heard from "experts," American Apparel is not going to go out of business, most likely, they're just going to have to change the way the work, i.e. Dov Charney needs to let someone who understands math run the business. He can keep snapping photos of girls with self-esteem issues or whatever with his creepy porn 'stache.
posted by elpea at 8:24 AM on August 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


what's a "bro,"

A bro is a mainstream Abercrombie & Fitch, backwards baseball hat, Dave Matthews Band, possibly in a frat type.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:29 AM on August 22, 2010


I dunno, it was kind of nice being able to buy a shirt that wasn't designed to house the average American's pyramidal snowman body and its various tumorous deposits of armpit fat and love handles.

Luckily I live in Thailand now where I can buy nice, snug, blank, cotton shirts directly from the family-run sweat shop behind my apartment. They seem to appreciate the business and I get 5 shirts for about $10.
posted by Telf at 8:32 AM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The retail thing kinda raised my eyebrow from the git-go, and now it sounds like that's what got them in trouble. They make cheap-ish wholesale goods that really need embellishment of some kind to give them retail value -- there's an entire industry that does nothing but manufacture and distribute wholesale cheap clothing for embellishment. Am Ap seems to have had the bright idea of breaking out of that industry into retail by selling their wholesale goods at the same price someone would pay for one with a nice print on it at a boutique. I've seen it as a destined-to-fail move all along. Can you imagine how boring the Beefy-T store would be? Am Ap didn't get much beyond that.

That said, if they do actually go under, it'll make for an interesting 3 or 4 years in the wholesale blank industry as people jockey to fill the void. There are plenty of companies making Am Ap knock-off goods, like Alternative Apparel, Article 1, and Royal Apparel (union shop!), but they all do a small fraction of the volume that Am Ap does currently. Will they scale? Will Hanes or Gildan or Jerzees adjust to knock out the smaller players, or will someone new dominate?

This sort of thing always sucks short-term, because each manufacturer tries to distinguish themselves by their unique colors and cuts, so if you've got a particular design that's selling well on a particular color/brand of shirt, it's tough to adjust when that's suddenly not available. I think I'd better pay more attention to the blank vendors at this September's ISS show.

No love lost for Charney either way, though.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:49 AM on August 22, 2010


To the rescue!
posted by Scoo at 8:49 AM on August 22, 2010


Haha great fat shaming u guys. Totally necessary and important to this conversation.
posted by muddgirl at 8:51 AM on August 22, 2010 [26 favorites]


Hopefully, Gigantic Stupid Looking Sunglasses, Inc and Consolidated Skinny Man-Headbands will go under next.
posted by jonmc at 8:52 AM on August 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Dov Charney makes me retch. I'm almost never that schadenfreude-y person, but I'll make an exception for this. It used to make me twitchy when people would defend his icky practices by mentioning the way the management of the manufacturing was refreshingly positive for workers. As if that negated the other thing. UGH. But this is a certain kind of sleaziness I have a particularly bad response to, because it so often, no matter what decade, gets excused away as harmless, like to find it repugnant makes you an uncool stick in the mud whiner. So. My personal itch, you know.

Too bad about the workers though.
posted by ifjuly at 8:58 AM on August 22, 2010


I'll just be over here in the corner laughing for the next half hour.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 9:20 AM on August 22, 2010


Now I'm feeling an urge to order a bunch of my favorite black t-shirts, in case the time comes that I can no longer get them.

They're good quality t-shirts, and they haven't undergone the size inflation of every other piece of clothing in the US.
posted by mmagin at 9:51 AM on August 22, 2010


wait... then... what's a "bro"

bro (n.) pl. bros, Slang
1. A term used by hipsters to describe basically everyone else. Possibly derived from "frat brother"
Ex: "This bar is full of too many bros."

If there is something hipsters despise, 90% percent of the time it is only because too many bros like it i.e Dave Matthews, Entourage, button-down shirts with stripes, etc, thought they will never admit to this and instead spend hours trying to justify their dislike by pretending they are in fact expert fashion/music/movie critics.

I'm so sorry that's all I have to contribute to this thread.
posted by windbox at 9:52 AM on August 22, 2010


To anyone living in NYC for the past few years, this should be no shock at all. AA shops were popping up like Starbuck's. The expansion of their catalog beyond basics like t-shirts and underwear (which are universally loved) to "lifestyle" clothes like velour tube shirts and skinny pants (which are not) probably didn't help.

seanmpuckett: Don't know fall about the financials, but I do know that there's a segment of the population (like my stepson) who finds it almost impossible to find clothes that fit elsewhere. "Rake" is a body type that's damn hard to fit these days what with carbo-bloat epidemic. Seriously you can get 24x32 pants there and nowhere else I know.

I can't tell if this is a joke or not.
posted by mkultra at 10:03 AM on August 22, 2010


What are you talking about? Sexual impropriety is the only thing that matters! It's perfictly OK to grind third world workers into the ground, just so long as you don't grind them in the bedroom!

You know what gets old? Being told again and again that if you want any progressive achievement (like electing a Democrat, or decent employment in the US, ) then you ladies just need to stop whining about the sexual harassment and the state control of your uteruses and so on. Because for some reason, 51% of the population's right to be treated as full human beings is always at the bottom of the progressive to-do list.

Fuck that shit.
posted by emjaybee at 10:12 AM on August 22, 2010 [26 favorites]


They're good quality t-shirts, and they haven't undergone the size inflation of every other piece of clothing in the US.

Yes. This is why I like AA. I'm still in the Midwest for the time being, and it seems like my only option in this part of the country is to either get fat enough for every other store's clothes to fit me or shop at AA. What I would really like is for Uniqlo to open a bunch of shops here, but I don't see that happening.
posted by TrialByMedia at 10:18 AM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know what gets old? Being told again and again that if you want any progressive achievement (like electing a Democrat, or decent employment in the US, ) then you ladies just need to stop whining about the sexual harassment and the state control of your uteruses and so on. Because for some reason, 51% of the population's right to be treated as full human beings is always at the bottom of the progressive to-do list.

Fuck that shit.


What...look, this guy is not trying to outlaw abortion, he's just a jerk who harasses women. There's no one who's defending that! But why is it completely off-topic to note that his company is not resorting to what amounts to slave labor to make their stuff, and is in fact employing Americans to make it at what is apparently a decent living wage? I think that's really significant right now, and -- I'm sorry, and I know this is gonna piss people off, but I don't care -- I think it's actually way more significant than this guy's treatment of women, because his treatment of women isn't putting people out of work or exploiting overseas laborers. I am not defending him as a human being, because he seems like a complete asshole on the most basic levels, but I do wonder why even this jerk-off seems to be a more moral and responsible businessperson than his competitors. Isn't that worthy of note at all?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:26 AM on August 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Let's say they go bankrupt. Wouldn't this be a great opportunity to buy them out and to run the company better than Charney ever did? Once upon a time, AA made excellent basics with the American-made selling point. It would be terrific if someone could dial the company back to that.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:41 AM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah. I can't see any good reason that you couldn't make American-made slim-cut t-shirts at the same time that you didn't force female members of your office staff to watch you masturbate. I'm sort of not sure why it's necessary to choose between justice for manufacturing workers and justice for women who work in offices.
posted by craichead at 10:48 AM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, until now I didn't realize the trauma skinny people endured in trying to buy a t-shirt. Poor skinny people! They are so brave.
posted by Hildegarde at 10:54 AM on August 22, 2010 [22 favorites]


I myself reluctantly became a fan of American Apparel after finally checking the tag on that one shirt a friend bought for me - that one shirt that fit me perfectly and hadn't even started to wear out after a year of heavy use. I thought, "Okay, what is this thing? And where can I get more?"
posted by komara at 10:59 AM on August 22, 2010


The silver lining for me is that maybe online stores selling t-shirts might have to switch to a company that makes clothes that match labels.

This. I've got three black t-shirts from Threadless that are all supposed to be Men's Small, but are all completely different sizes.
posted by kersplunk at 11:01 AM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, until now I didn't realize the trauma skinny people endured in trying to buy a t-shirt. Poor skinny people! They are so brave.

Let's not start this, please. People have different shapes. Sometimes it's hard to find clothes that fit correctly. This isn't about fat-shaming or skinny-mocking. If you want me to go on at length about why their shirts fit me better, fine. Then you can tell me why that brand of pants you like fits you better, and it doesn't have to be about how much either of us weighs.

Okay?
posted by komara at 11:01 AM on August 22, 2010 [20 favorites]


Also, I don't wear plain t-shirts, even though I wear t-shirts every day. T-shirts are meant to be adorned with the name of a band, a sports franchise, a bar/restaurant, a TV show/Movie or at the very least a vaguely hostile slogan. Therefore American Fucking Apparell is of minor fucking importance.
posted by jonmc at 11:08 AM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think that American fucking Apparel is a pretty major source of t-shirts that are adorned with stuff that you find acceptable, jonmc. They have a big wholesale operation.
posted by craichead at 11:12 AM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Watch it with the quoting there, komara. If you want to point fingers about "starting", perhaps you could point them where they belong.
posted by Hildegarde at 11:24 AM on August 22, 2010


"He started it!"
posted by grouse at 11:26 AM on August 22, 2010


...and nothing of value was lost.
posted by mrballistic at 11:28 AM on August 22, 2010


We get shirt blanks from Alternative Apparel, which has similar cuts, fabrics and such as American Apparel. Not American made, necessarily, but they've got a social responsibility policy by which they actually abide. Part of why I like 'em is that it's got the aesthetic of the AA tees, without the creepy sexualized presentation.

They do retail online, too.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 11:45 AM on August 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wow, until now I didn't realize the trauma skinny people endured in trying to buy a t-shirt. Poor skinny people! They are so brave.

I don't really get the hostility here. All I want is clothes that fit, and it goes beyond t-shirts. I don't want my dress shirts to have the pocket closer to my belly button than my shoulder. Online shopping doesn't cut it because every store sizes things a little differently and I need to try things on. I'm not asking everyone around me to get smaller. I'd just like to go buy some goddamned shirts without the obligatory flight to NYC.
posted by TrialByMedia at 11:49 AM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


My apologies, Hildegarde. I should have gone back and called out everyone that was being size-ist.
posted by komara at 11:50 AM on August 22, 2010


Also, Hildegarde, if you didn't like what Telf said perhaps you could have tried to engage him in understanding why we don't have to make fun of people's shapes instead of just adding fuel to the fire.
posted by komara at 11:54 AM on August 22, 2010


T-shirts are meant to be adorned with the name of a band, a sports franchise, a bar/restaurant, a TV show/Movie or at the very least a vaguely hostile slogan.

I like the cut of your jib, sir.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:57 AM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, c'mon, let's stop this age-old fat vs. skinny debate and get back to what's important: making fun of American Apparel and the people who wear it.
posted by jonmc at 11:58 AM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is an opportunity for Uniqlo. Aka get in my city you bastard! I want shirts in 80 colors and I want them now!
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:27 PM on August 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


I simply wish that band t-shirts were all on black tees the way they're supposed to be, dammit.
posted by jonmc at 12:31 PM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Fuck it, I'll say it- they're a good company. In many ways. And I 'm glad that American Apparel brought back the trend of clothes that fit. Not everyone wants to wear oversized clown pants and thick cotton t-shirts the size of daishikis.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:35 PM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


They do retail online, too.

In fact, online is the only place where you can buy two of the three things they manufacture that I actually like: hoodless jacket-type things, and t-shirts that don't feel completely cheap. (You used to be able to get both of those in stores, but no more; now, the only shirts you can get in the stores are thin and feel as if they're made with much worse fabric.)
posted by kenko at 12:37 PM on August 22, 2010



Also, I don't wear plain t-shirts, even though I wear t-shirts every day. T-shirts are meant to be adorned with the name of a band, a sports franchise, a bar/restaurant, a TV show/Movie or at the very least a vaguely hostile slogan. Therefore American Fucking Apparell is of minor fucking importance.


Maybe you could move on in this direction and make a few extra bucks by wearing a sandwich board instead, since you're so into advertising other people's junk.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:38 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I like using my t-shirts to show people stuff I like. I'm such a capitalist tool.
posted by jonmc at 12:47 PM on August 22, 2010


when I was punk rock...

allow me to restate that:
when I was punk rock rock-climbing club-bouncing English-majoring sister-dating, we didn't have Urban Outfitters or American Apparel.

("Oh, Grandpa, what did you have?")

We would go to the freakin' Salvation Army and find clothes that fit, old clothes that were made better than the crap sold at...this is before WalMart came to Los Angeles.

("What, Grandpa?! There was a time when-"
"Yes, Grasshopper. Before WalMart.")

My friends were smaller than me, so it was easy. I was 6-2 and 250. I found things like a Brooks Brothers bespoke overcoat...with two bullet holes ( I think they were bullet holes, otherwise the guy was a very, very bad gardener) in the chest. Old football jerseys; I'd make up new, obscene team names for the back. Fat guy pants: I'd hack off the legs and cinch 'em tight with a big belt.

I pretty much looked like a pirate. I had a great time. 5 bucks for a weekend and friends with gas money- we'd paint the sky and they still remember our names (not our real names, of course, but...)

Other things would fall into our lap. I was the backstage bouncer/doorman at an Echo and the Bunnymen show. It was Easter. The lead singer of the band came out and asked me what size I was. I told him and he came out with a custom T-shirt of such sacrilege and some other nouns that he'd had made for the night. It was amazing.

Or, there was the time I was doing a long climb at Tahquitz Rock. I was a little cold. Jammed into a crack was a Biola (Bible Institute Of Los Angeles) sweatshirt. It was a little holey (holy! I just thought of that! Ha!) but it was the right size. After checking carefully (anything can be used as toilet paper in an urgent moment), I put it on, topped out, wore it until it fell apart.

("TL, DR, Grandpa! TL, DR! Stop typing, old man! What the hell are you trying to say?!")

I guess what I'm saying is that what the clothes we wore reflected the life we lived. G wore a pair of high-heeled granny boots he found at a punk rock show; women couldn't get enough of him in them. Todd wore a beret he'd found outside a VFW post. We lived first, then bought clothes.

So, American Apparel, best of luck, but you perverted the way young people are supposed to live, so don't let the door hit ya.
posted by flowerofhighrank at 12:49 PM on August 22, 2010 [11 favorites]


Huh. I think that's too bad. I actually really like a lot of their clothes. You'd be hard pressed to find a more comfortable, well-cut and well-made t-shirt on the market. And the $20? Well, that's not even as much as some place like A&F charges for a much shittier t-shirt made by young Asian children and that advertises loudly on the company's behalf, often with a derogatory pun or tag line. I would rather buy $18 t-shirts that fit well, are made by employees who are treated well and in this country than $11 t-shirts that are made out of shit material, fall apart in three weeks and were sewn by 10 year olds in Indonesia for Phil Knight.

And I don't want to jump on the hipster derail, but American Apparel really wasn't as entwined with the hipster aesthetic as all the geezers on here seem to think. Most hipsters I know couldn't afford American Apparel, or would avoid their clothing on anti-corporate principles. American Apparel clothing, especially the t-shirts, were popular in just about every style demographic. It had started to become the standard printable t-shirt for artists or orgs or bands or whatever, and the fact that AA made a whole-sale affordable, quality, made in America t-shirt that really struck accord with a lot of the country's fashion conscious was kinda nice.

I suppose their ads are disturbing to those people who don't realize that people are naked under their clothes. Or that people have nipples. I personally thought the blatant, unapologetic sex of their ads was refreshing in light of all the other American companies that airbrush out the nipples of supermodels, creating a greater schism between the poster and what people really look like than AA does.

I like that they made openly silly and non-utilitarian clothing that was utterly ridiculous but utterly wonderful. They embraced a certain fashion trend toward the aesthetic of the ridiculous and sexy super hero and went balls-out with it. I respect that.

I will say only this re: the fat/skinny derail: they made clothes for skinny people. That's true. But there are companies who only make clothes for fat people. I'm a size somewhere in between - and I don't hold it against either sort of manufacturer. Being all things to all people, while that would be fantastic, just isn't possible in the sort of fucked up economic system we've created. It'd be nice if BMW didn't only make cars for rich people, but alas.

As for Charney? Hmm. A lot of his actions are regrettable. But he was pretty open about the whole thing, and as far as douchebag CEOs go, I dunno, he wasn't Bernie fucking Madoff. For a lot of his models, there was a modicum of 'you get to be a paid, AA model, but I will molest you or more during our photo session' and the like, which is ethically dubious to be sure, a bit skeezy, to say the least, but it was often a consensual trade, and not all that terrible of one. I'm no a bastion of ethics, but I would more for the right gig. It isn't like 'fuck the right people to get the right gig' doesn't exist in just about every corporation, not that that makes it right, but it isn't fair to criticize unduly the one company who was perhaps more blatant and produced visual evidence of the whole thing. He was also one of the most outspoken proponents of gay marriage during a time that California gays needed a bit more cash at their backs, considering their competition.

Sigh. Sort of bittersweet, the whole thing. As someone who grew up in the age of grey t-shirts screaming stupid shit like "American Eagle," plain, comfortable, quality, brightly colored clothing was kinda nice. I would be lying if I said I won't dearly miss the 50/50 shirt.

It is a shame that the most visibly (perhaps only visibly) pro-American production, pro-workers rights clothing companies is not sustainable.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:50 PM on August 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


Has Charney been charged with child porn manufacturing for some of those ads yet?

I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine, and we started talking about AA and what their ad campaigns is about. Another friend of mine triumphantly walked in and said a couple of things along with "pedophilia!" It turned the conversation into a comedy routine of constantly trying to climb back out of his pit, while he kept digging it deeper through accusations.
I'm not dimissing anyone for making the distinction and an effort to talk about it but it's almost the same as "blah blah rape". It can be a really lazy, blunt, and asshole way to "end" a conversation. Either you're horrified and reviled by it or you're alright with it. Thereby reducing the participants, and not the subject, into either angels or assholes.

Anyway, don't let me stop the hipster hate.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:55 PM on August 22, 2010


It is a shame that the most visibly (perhaps only visibly) pro-American production, pro-workers rights clothing companies is not sustainable.

I agree with a lot of what you said, but I think "pro-workers rights" is putting it pretty strongly — they pay more than the third-world sweatshops, but AA worked just as hard to keep UNITE HERE from organizing its workers as any other company.

That having been said, I'm surprised by the recommendations for Alternative Apparel here and elsewhere. Sure, it has a social responsibility policy, but since they refuse to tell you which outsourcers actually make their clothing I can't imagine how you could possibly take it any more seriously than the Gap's.
posted by enn at 12:58 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Now that I'm thinking about it; if the hipster aesthetic is an ironic culimination of old fashion trends, what comes next? What will be post-hipster? Po-Hip?
posted by P.o.B. at 1:09 PM on August 22, 2010


American Apparel is mocked in one of my favorite Onion stories of all time.
posted by elder18 at 1:15 PM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I just realized that they make one of my favorite best-fitting t-shirts, one that advertises my favorite library comic strip. I was all walking around "hey this shirt fits totally awesome, I wonder who makes it?" and looked at the tag and realized two things at basically the same time

1) the shirt was made by American Apparel
2) my size there is apparently XXL*

* for anyone who does not know, I am 5' 2" and about 135#, lord help anyone who is even of average size getting dressed in the AA universe.
posted by jessamyn at 1:54 PM on August 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm a guy, size L and I have t-shirts and hoodies from AA that fit quite nicely. Haven't tried their leotards yet though.
posted by naju at 1:59 PM on August 22, 2010


And I buy L t-shirts and XL hoodies there.
posted by naju at 2:00 PM on August 22, 2010



I agree with a lot of what you said, but I think "pro-workers rights" is putting it pretty strongly — they pay more than the third-world sweatshops, but AA worked just as hard to keep UNITE HERE from organizing its workers as any other company.


Yes, good point.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:27 PM on August 22, 2010


my size there is apparently XXL
I am 5' 2" and about 135#


Jessamyn, I am planning on buying some shirts from them online soon, so if you have a second--does this size chart of theirs seem accurate based on you?

Wrong gender, but at least I'll know what the trend is...
posted by Phyltre at 2:28 PM on August 22, 2010


It is incredibly way beyond disappointing that a company leading the way in labor standards decided to downplay that aspect of it's business and play up every gross, shitty, awful thing it could think of.

What a waste.
posted by GilloD at 2:47 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


does this size chart of theirs seem accurate based on you?

Not really, no. I mean I know their shirts are supposed to be snug but my measurements would place me solidly in the M-L range. So I guess it depends if you think your shirt is supposed to be super form fitting or not. The XXL is loose on me, but not in a potato sack way.
posted by jessamyn at 2:55 PM on August 22, 2010


Phyltre said, "Wrong gender, but at least I'll know what the trend is...

Is the Men/Unisex size chart the one you're looking for?
posted by djeo at 3:01 PM on August 22, 2010


T-shirts are meant to be adorned with the name of a band, a sports franchise, a bar/restaurant, a TV show/Movie or at the very least a vaguely hostile slogan.

I believe you're confusing T-shirts with billboards. It's a common mistake. The difference is, billboards are usually 9' x 20.5' and feature pictures for things that are for sale, while T-shirts are considerably smaller and don't require you to become a walking advertisement.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:19 PM on August 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'll be sorry if they fold. Their clothes are reasonably priced and of ok quality for the price. I like that they are made in the US and that they took a loud stance on immigrant rights. And I liked that their ads were funny and confrontational and once in a while sexy. I didn't like that the owner seemed to be unable to stop being a creep, and I worry how much his issues permeated the image of the brand.
posted by Forktine at 3:30 PM on August 22, 2010


Hipsters are moving on to the retro-90's look, apparently.

I thought that square was the new hip, i.e., a Mad Men-inspired 50s businessman/lounge-lizard look was replacing the melange of youth-cultural references that was the hipster look. (Charney was talking about selling chinos, H&M have dress shirts and pinstripes, and in Australia, there's an entire chain (Jack London; from the people who brought you Dangerfield) dedicated to this look).
posted by acb at 3:52 PM on August 22, 2010


I believe you're confusing T-shirts with billboards. It's a common mistake.

The only reason a person has to wear a particular T-shirt is because of the image it conveys. Often times, moreso with bands than anything else, when someone wants to advertise via T-shirt, they go into it aware that people aren't going to wear an ugly shirt much, and actually endeavor to make some really nice art for them, even if its ultimate point is commercial. The better the design & printing, the more often a shirt-owner is likely to wear it, and spread the message. The result is, even if you choose commercially-oriented images, some of them can be pretty amazing. Also, I'm probably a tad defensive because it's what puts food on my family. I like printing pure art the best, and while that makes up some percentage of what I do, it's not enough volume to turn the wheels all the time. It rankles to see someone basically crap on your livelihood as being all crass commercialism with no redeeming value, when that's not really true.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:57 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


+1 on the Uniqlo thing. They are rather good, especially for inexpensive trousers.
posted by acb at 3:58 PM on August 22, 2010


Devils Rancher: everything you said is also true of billboards. They can be made very well, even artistically, and you better believe it's the livelihood of the makers.
posted by grouse at 4:04 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Uniqlo, now there's a company that should open a few more stores. More than one in the u.s., I mean.
posted by smackfu at 4:54 PM on August 22, 2010


Devils Rancher: everything you said is also true of billboards. They can be made very well, even artistically, and you better believe it's the livelihood of the makers.

Sometimes is seems like commercial art is an oxymoron, (see Crass thread) but whatever makes the pie higher. Am Ap shirts do take a print pretty well.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:08 PM on August 22, 2010


Uniqlo, now there's a company that should open a few more stores. More than one in the u.s., I mean.

They're opening a second one......in Manhattan.
posted by TrialByMedia at 5:15 PM on August 22, 2010


Uniqlo, now there's a company that should open a few more stores. More than one in the u.s., I mean.

Not to mention in Australia. Well, they and H&M should. Non-bro-ish apparel there is a Factory X monoculture at the moment.
posted by acb at 5:21 PM on August 22, 2010


I'm sorry, can we go back to Rottytooth's link about hipsters wearing Elaine-Benes-style 90s clothes for a sec? Because I want to address this quote from the New York Times:

"The Chloë Sevigny version [of Elaine's look] is shorter and cuter. It’s a flirtier, cleaned-up version, but it is derivative. Who would ever think Elaine from ‘Seinfeld’ would be a style icon?”

Ms. Sevigny does not own a television and is not overly familiar with the show.
"

I just feel like this is something that could bring us all together.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 5:27 PM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


So it's a progression from George Costanza to Elaine Benes?
posted by acb at 5:34 PM on August 22, 2010


I think the progression goes from using a retro punk (w/o all the extra punkness) look to a retro grunge look. Just in case anybody forgot what the grunge look was:
Singles
Reality Bites
Basically just go down to Goodwill or Value Village and you'll find what you need. That's what we used to do when I was a teenager.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:00 PM on August 22, 2010


Wow, it takes a special kind of annoying to brag about how you don't own a television when you are actually on a television series.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:17 PM on August 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


I have the Elaine Benes look in my closet; my version is floral print dresses and Fluevog Angels in various colors.
Of course, I purchased those in the '90s when Elaine Benes was still on the TeeVee.
I am my own thrift store!
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:29 PM on August 22, 2010


Oh geez, are we going to do the shapeless floral + stompy shoes thing again?

It was cute and easy to do, sure, but I'm still kind of bored with it from the last time it was popular.

(In other news, I am apparently older than dirt.)
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 6:54 PM on August 22, 2010


Hey guys,

In regards to my comment above, it was totally a dick comment and I should have phrased it better.

Muddgirl was right to call me out.

I think size inflation and clothing cut might lead to an interesting conversation, but you're right, this is probably not the place for it.
posted by Telf at 7:23 PM on August 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Hey Telf, speaking as King of Putting My Foot In My Mouth, I think it's awesome that you came back to say you'd made a crappy comment. I should do that more often.
posted by komara at 9:11 PM on August 22, 2010


Sometimes I feel like metafilter should have a delayed comment option. Type the comment, submit it, go take a nap, then get a confirmation to post 30 minutes later. It would really cut down on the cringe factor when looking over some of my dumber comments.
posted by Telf at 9:41 PM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Seriously you can get 24x32 pants there and nowhere else I know.

This is a joke, right? I mean, in high school I wore a 29x34, and that was a hard size to find, and I was 6'1" and 129lbs and waaaaay too skinny. I cannot imagine what 24x32 would look like.
posted by davejay at 11:43 PM on August 22, 2010


Huh, don't get all the love for their T-shirts. A lot of our swag shirts at work are AA and I do not like them. I guess I like more solid T-shirts, theirs are too thin for me.

(also I always associate them with sketchy things, since my ex-wife knew several girls who modeled for them and they all had bad things to say about it)
posted by wildcrdj at 12:11 AM on August 23, 2010


"for anyone who does not know, I am 5' 2" and about 135#, lord help anyone who is even of average size getting dressed in the AA universe."

We are about the same size and I wear M in just about every other manufacturer's shirts (except for the recent ones who seem to have explicitly chosen to match their sizes to American Apparel's). In numbered sizes, I wear shirts that range from 4-8. In AA shirts, I get XLs and still feel as if they are slightly tighter than I like. This is insanity.

Threadless's new shirts are worse -- just as small as AA and a few inches longer, which is the last thing a shortie like me needs. I'm sure it's nice for the tall people, though.

I just wish AA wouldn't have such weird sizes. If they want to target really skinny people, that is fine, but why not make sizes that are XS, XXS, XXXS, or something like that, and keep M and L to something remotely resembling what people are used to?

The first AA shirt I got was a gift from my husband. It had a cute geeky print on it -- a sad Mac. I would love to wear it, but I can't -- he bought a M because he knew that was my size. And it's so small that I can't wear it in public.
posted by litlnemo at 3:44 AM on August 23, 2010


I'm a bit sad, because their shop is the easiest place to get those huge bottles of Dr Bonners' soap, and I love that shit.

Ah., not in the UK. There are many things I dislike about AA (glad Threadless moved off printing on their stock) which is why I felt dirty ordering RIT dye from there a while back. If other UK retailers stocked it they wouldn't need to exist anymore. I mean, we have Uniqlo.
posted by mippy at 4:41 AM on August 23, 2010


I've coined this phrase on here before, but I think it applies here again (at least for me): Schadengasm.
posted by LMGM at 4:48 AM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


"But why is it completely off-topic to note that his company is not resorting to what amounts to slave labor to make their stuff, and is in fact employing Americans to make it at what is apparently a decent living wage?"

The article linked in the OP stated that they had to fire a lot of illegal immigrants. Given that illegal immigrants don't tend to be paid as well as ones with papers, I'd be interested to know more on that.

I'd like to get behind the no-sweatshop stance they take, but when they switch from exploiting foreign workers to exploiting young women, it's still exploitation and I don't want my money to fund that.

*goes off to knit some yogurt*
posted by mippy at 4:49 AM on August 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've always been cranky about American Apparel because of their sizing. As a matter of fact, I'm currently working on a project to turn the few AAP band shirts my husband and I have bought that don't fit right into better shirts that actually fit. Yeah, sewing machines.

But when I recently saw an awesome shirt on Zazzle that was white text on a black background and cost $45, that's when I just lost it. Really? $45 for an American Apparel shirt with some text on it? I also just don't get why Girl Shirts are more expensive but use less fabric. This logic is not my logic. So I made my own damn shirt with the same text for $10.

I am willing to pay more for products that are made by people with a decent wage or are environmentally friendly, but there is a fucking limit.
posted by threeturtles at 5:24 AM on August 23, 2010


I just wish AA wouldn't have such weird sizes. If they want to target really skinny people, that is fine, but why not make sizes that are XS, XXS, XXXS, or something like that, and keep M and L to something remotely resembling what people are used to?
Their sizes are perfectly normal - by European standards. When I first went to their newly opened shop in Amsterdam, nothing fit because everything was really wide and much too short - and I'm neither skinny nor tall. I think they changed their sizing when they expanded internationally, at least I didn't have that problem when I went back after a few months.
posted by snownoid at 5:51 AM on August 23, 2010


Most women's clothing shops here go up to a UK16 (that's, I think, an 18/20 in the states) although some 16s are much smaller than others. Topshop, the biggest retail chain here, now does size 4; their top size, 16, isn't as big as other stores because the market they serve tends to be a teenage one - most of their rails are filled with 10 and 12s. I think given the hipster market AA is going for, their 2XL being the same in measurements as a 16 isn't that unusual. (Though holy god the thought that I am an XXL is a bit depressing.)

If you want to get confused by sizing, here's one - stores that go up to a size 22 stopping their underwear range at a D cup, and underwear ranges for DD and above making their matching pants no bigger than a size 18...wouldn't it follow that many people with large breasts will have large hips?
posted by mippy at 7:46 AM on August 23, 2010


wouldn't it follow that many people with large breasts will have large hips?

Depends on the provenance of said breasts.
posted by acb at 8:05 AM on August 23, 2010


Fair point. But if we really are becoming fatter, and sales of large-size underwear are growing, it still doesn't make sense.

(This reminds me of the old Britney Spears boob-job gossip, thanks to which a breast enlargement was known as a 'knee operation' among people at university.)
posted by mippy at 8:20 AM on August 23, 2010


My partner describes how just out of school she was an easy to shop for 8 and now she's a bloody impossible to fit 0. I'm pretty sure the shirt I'm wearing now which is nominally an LT and is hanging lose on my husky frame should really be a 2XLT. But I guess M is supposed to be average, and the average has gone up. I'd prefer actual measurements than sizes, really.

Anyway, AA tees are okay-ish, certainly better than Hanes, but I have to prefer Mark's Work Wearhouse or Land's End or Eddie Bauer for nice fabric and good needlework. Yeah, I kind of object in principle to a $20 t-shirt (though one can find them on sale for half that if one checks the sales), but if it's going to last a few years and not look faded or pulled out of shape after a couple washes it's worth it.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:33 AM on August 23, 2010


I'd prefer actual measurements than sizes, really.

This, a million times. List the chest, waist, and assumed ease.

Of course, this is impossible due to shockingly low quality of mass-produced clothing nowadays. Ever tried on two pairs of the "exact same" jeans?
posted by muddgirl at 8:37 AM on August 23, 2010


There are some online stores that do this for each garment, and it is SUCH a good idea. I need to know the length, and I need to know whether things will fit in there. I have had to send clothing back so many times from high st stores, as they think all adult women are 5ft 5 or take a C-cup. I can't believe more stores don't do it rather than linking to some standardized size chart that often doesn't match up with the garment you'll get.
posted by mippy at 8:42 AM on August 23, 2010


I'm a tall XL in Japan/South Korea, where I can find clothes that fit. In North America, I'm an M, except that size isn't long enough for my height. With American Apparel, after I shrink the L in the dryer, it fits well. No other company makes clothes for me, which is why I buy a lot of stuff tailored from Asia. I'm not skinny, but I'm not overweight, and the vast majority of the clothes in North America don't fit me. So, yeah, I like American Apparel.
posted by smorange at 10:43 AM on August 23, 2010


There are many many thing wrong with American Apparel, but they did fill a niche that for whatever reason wasn't by dozens of other retailers: basics that actually fit correctly (even though the sizing was off and the range of sizes very small). You wouldn't think it would be that hard to find a tank top that is long enough and after a month of washing doesn't shrink up length wise, while expanding width wise totally messing up the fit of the tank. It's a small thing, but I have a drawer full of non American Apparel tank tops that I never touched after a month of wear (even though they did cost half the price).
posted by whoaali at 3:55 PM on August 23, 2010


"Their sizes are perfectly normal - by European standards."

I only have a couple of shirts bought in Europe, so the sample size is too small to mean much, but they don't run as small as the AA shirts I have. YMMV, I guess.

I agree that labeling things with the actual measurements would be nice, but the AA shirts I have (mostly through Threadless) often seemed to run smaller than the published size chart. Not always, though -- they were inconsistent in sizing. But don't get me started on that one -- AA's not the only culprit who does that.
posted by litlnemo at 5:04 PM on August 23, 2010


I'm so glad. Some of the most disgusting woman-degrading ads around.
posted by agregoli at 6:51 PM on August 23, 2010


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