The Baffling Cult Of The American Apparel Dress

by Courtney McGowan · January 11, 2012

There has been a huge, neon, lycra elephant in the room for many a year now and it is time we address it.  No matter the city, venue, or season there is one ill-fitting bit of material always present- the American Apparel dress.  At first considered an exclusivity of the hipster set, the sausage casings of AA have made their way into every imaginable demographic. - - - - -

I'm serious. I think I saw a dachshund on Houston Street wearing one last weekend, but I digress.

If my memory serves me, (it doesn't), the first dress I came across from the house that Dov Charney built ( in 1989, can you believe that?) was not a dress, but a lengthy wife-beater in a subdued shade of highlighter green.  Short, bright, and just tight enough to see your intestinal tract.






The second dress I encountered would be one that solidified my confusion, and disdain for all things AA:

Here we have the sartorial Rubik's Cube known as "Le Sac".

That is french for "the sac", and English for "how is this 38 dollars."

At first glimpse of mellow yellow I rightfully assumed she was trying end her life via Le String, but no, this is on purpose.

Full disclosure, I myself fell prey to the '70s Linda Lovelace-esque advertisements of American Apparel and made an attempt at Le Sac.  It took me an entire three days to accept it wasn't a new laundry bag, and another three days to take it off.

So. A dress you can wear 756 ways? Novel idea, for sure.  However, I could also wear a boot on my hand and call it a glove.

Le Sac was only the beginning of many a sleepless nights on my part, posing questions such as, "Why?", "How?" and "No."  However, my concerns were apparently shared by no one.

To add skin-tightness to injury, in recent years the company has traded ribbed cotton and embraced spandex, and by embraced, I mean full-on raped the fabric and photographed it for their ad campaigns without nary a dinner nor a call the next day.

[Note: That lace number is owned by 99% of Manhattan]

Despite the fact that spandex frocks are not exactly what one would call an equal opportunity dress, this trend continues to live, while its company fails prey to controversy over, and over again.

I can only imagine it gets more tasteful from here on out:

This costs $42. This is sold at American Apparel. Someone pass me my Le String.

[All Photos via American Apparel]