Tag Archives: American Apparel

Getting Real about bay area style

In this month’s issue, GQ has named San Francisco the 20th Worst Dressed City in America. Quite frankly I’m surprised we didn’t crack the top 10. You know why we get this ranking? No it’s not the hipsters running around the mission wearing holey tights or mom jeans (I blame American Apparel for this).
It’s the people who dress in “gear” instead of clothes. You aren’t thinking about style — whether an outfit matches, or is flattering, but your pants have more pockets than any human could possibly need during the work day. Oh and your t-shirt has special wicking properties that keep you dry and odor free.
What lies at the heart of this performance driven “style”? Cargo pants. I’ve hated cargo pants since middle school when I would see boys stuff them full with pencils, papers, calculators, you name it. I thought it looked ridiculous. And since the universe has a sense of humor I ended up working at a startup in the Bay where about 70% of the guys wear cargo pants on a daily basis. A few months ago I came across a blog devoted to cargo pants. This blog had a post about cargo pants with pockets designed to house iPads. Are.you.kidding.me? The best part was, several pants were tested and rated and the overall conclusion was

“Bottom line? You should keep your iPad in a case and use tactical pants for iPad 2 storage in emergency situations only”

Emergency situations?!? Why would there be any situation where you need to store an iPad in your pocket? The reviews are talking about how well the iPad fits, whether it might fall out or potentially get scratched and no one is mentioning how absolutely absurd it looks. How about situations where you don’t want to look like a total geek? Orrr situations where you want to be able to say…walk comfortably, which I think would be hard to do with that thing shoved in your pocket?
Last fall I went to Madrid with a fashionista friend from Oakland who had never been to Europe. She said to me, I just can’t believe how people dress here, it’s like what you see in fashion magazines. In the bay people don’t dress like that. Yes the aesthetic here is more Patagonia catalogue, less Vogue.
And I get it, these clothes are very useful and serve a purpose in the outdoors. But we are in the city people. This is the urban jungle. Trade in those Merrells for some heels, or a pair of ballet flats. Don’t worry you will not be kidnapped, helicoptered and dropped in the middle of the wilderness unexpectedly. Stop thinking about high performance and start thinking about aesthetics. Guys, I know you think those zip off pants are practical, but you practically have zero chance of picking up a girl if you wear those to the bar. Something to think about.


Filed under Fashion, Flora, Style

Getting Real about American Apparel

I love American Apparel. On any given day, there’s a pretty high chance you’ll find me wearing one of their fleece track jackets or t-shirts. I love the fact that I can get my hipster fix, without having to wade through a bunch thrift stores in the Mission. Their embrace of organic cotton products and sweatshop-free labor allows me to stroke my smug Bay-Area better-than-you sensibilities, for much less than the cost of a Prius.

Lately, however, the American Apparel store near my office has been making me a bit uncomfortable. No, it’s not the numerous sexual harassment lawsuits directed at founder (or the founder’s gross porn-stache).

It’s the mannequins. They’re a bit distracting. My monthly lunch-time walk-and-talk with my boss goes right by the store. And it’s tough to maintain a normal work conversation, when I’m faced with this.

Don’t get me wrong, I like some headless hipster ass in my face just as much as any red-blooded American male, just not when I’m trying to talk shop.

Maybe I’m just easily distracted. No problem, you say:  Eyes forward or just choose a different route. But it’s not just the walk to lunch: Grooveshark, SFist and Pitchfork (necessary daily viewing) all carry some steamy American Apparel ads.

And it’s not that I’m shocked by mildly salacious advertising. In fact, I love it. I’m all for the just-nailed-the-girl-next-door aesthetic.  Kudos to you American Apparel for making me uncomfortably aroused. It’s just a bit too much during the work hours. When pulling up an email in front of a customer, do I really want to see thigh-highs on the other screen?

socks so good, you don't need pants

Actually, yes, I do want to see thigh-highs on the other screen. But I need as much help as possible keeping a professional workplace, and these ad campaigns are not helping.

So, American Apparel, please confine your naughty advertising to stuff I’m not going to read at work (see TMZ & Perez Hilton), or at least limit the steaminess from 9-5.

Easily Distracted


Filed under guest blogger