Saturday, July 26, 2008

Proud to be an American

As much as I love really basic jersey pieces, I can't help but shy away from places like American Apparel, which is the poster child for no-frills fashion. I find myself browsing their store very often, but never actually reaching out and getting anything.

On my last post, I featured a mustard-coloured jersey skirt with an elastic waistband, which I have been strangely drawn to lately. I would probably wear it much like I showed it with the previous post's outfit -- white wifebeater, statement necklace, and statement shoes. I could also see this being worn with a really sheer white T-shirt and a dark tank top underneath (or just a bra, if you're feeling really confident that day), but unfortunately...not much else. This piece is trendy yet classic, which really confuses me but at the same time attracts me. The only thing detracting is the $30 price tag, which I would usually reserve for a piece with interesting detail rather than something to be worn with something with interesting detail.

But American Apparel has recently overcome my previous moral dilemma, and churned out two really unique things that I'm completely coveting.

The first one you may have heard about already -- it's a "thermochromatic" T-shirt, which means that it changes colour with your body temperature. I'm not one for really outlandish clothes, but that's really cool. American Apparel is clearly aware of this, as they've tacked on a $34 price tag to a splotchy T-shirt, but I'm still adding it to my "lust" list for clothes.

This next dress seems really gimmicky, and I never thought I would find myself wanting anything remotely like this. Far too often I've heard about "Dresses that can be worn 50 different ways!" only to find some strange jersey contraption that a. looks completely uncomfortable and b. in all of its manifestations, would probably only be worn by someone who clearly isn't a teenager but insists on dressing like one. And yet, when I saw this dress I was strangely attracted to it...despite the fact that its "ever-evolving" shape reminded me of the good ol' days of Pokemon.

Its original manifestation, which in Pokemon terms one might call Charmander, is quite cute on its own. I would actually buy this dress even if it didn't evolve into anything, just because it's a great basic and has an adjustable tie strap.

These first two "evolved versions" of the dress are a teensy bit gimmicky, but maybe that's just me. I'm not a huge fan of the dangly straps in the front of the first one, and the second one isn't too subtle about showing the whole changeling dress factor -- instead of looking like a whole new dress, it looks sort of like you tied your dress straps funny. The back is cool, though.

I really like this next version of the dress, which would be the Charmeleon to the original Charmander. It's simple and classy, and the halter style of tying the straps is really, really flattering. It's not horribly avant-garde or different, but it doesn't look like you tied your straps funny to achieve the effect. It really does look like a whole new dress.

Okay, so we're on our way to Charizard but we've got one more stop on the way. I actually don't hate this version of the dress that much. Sure, the front is a little iffy, but the crossing detail in the back is really interesting. We're almost there...

Finally! I wouldn't say that this is necessarily my favourite incarnation of this dress but it definitely is the Charizard to the original Charmander. It's got tons of wearability, but the cross-strap halter detail on the front of the dress makes it look like I wandered down to Wicker Park and purchased this from some edgy designer boutique where everything costs an arm and a leg. For those who don't know, Wicker Park is a really yuppie area of Chicago, filled with really overpriced but great fashion. I suppose that I would have to go down there to visit American Apparel anyway, but that's besides the point.

By the way, don't think I've completely converted to an American Apparel lover just yet. I do still wonder how exactly one goes about rectifying the bra situation when rocking any of these dress incarnations (strapless works for some of them, but for others you might have to use those detachable cup things...shudder).

I also bemoan the existence of the following pieces:

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