Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Abercrombie & Fitch: My Secret Shame

I have a really weird relationship with Abercrombie & Fitch.

Sure, I hate their gang-rape chic advertising campaigns. I hate that their clothes cost about three times what they're worth. I hate the "Oh, poor thing. What are you? A size 10?" look that the perfectly bronzed and toned employees* give me when I walk in.

But even so, I harbor a shameful A&F obsession. I find myself perennially attracted to their pre-distressed denim, the frayed logos on their sweatshirts, even the ostentatious initials blaring from the asses of their chocha-baring gym shorts.

I think my problem is that the A&F cool factor was singed into my brain at a vulnerable stage of development. While this was probably the effect of savvy marketing techniques targeted at adolescents, I prefer to blame my friend Milena.

You see, I first became aware of Abercrombie's existence on a trip to the mall with my junior high class. This particular excursion was a privilege reserved solely for "Warrior Club" members, which was a club based on "outstanding citizenship" that you were automatically a member of if you didn't, like, stab your math teacher with a shiv. I spent the whole time lurking around Orange Julius deciding how to spend the $2 my mom had so generously allotted me, but when we all got back on the bus, Milena was hauling an Abercrombie bag. The borderline porn on the front grabbed my hormones' attention.

"What'd you get?" I half-expected her to pull out one of the so-called "dildos" I'd heard about on Loveline.

Instead, she drew from the bag the single most beautiful object I'd ever seen--a dark hunter green crewneck sweater with ABERCROMBIE lettered in bold white across the front. My jealousy leaked out in the form of a gasp/grunt. It was incredible. It had a big tag sewn into it. I got a strong urge to reach out and touch it. Maybe some of its coolness would rub off on me?

I went home and plastered the walls of my room with half-naked Abercrombie models torn from magazines. I ordered their catalog (which actually cost money--aren't catalogs supposed to be a god-given freedom, like air?) and lusted after each new collection...er, well, I guess I lusted after what I imagined each new collection looked like, because there were no clothes featured in the catalog, only abs.

And, like a young girl whose distant relationship with her father leads her to a lifetime of pursuing cold men, I find myself still, at 21, yearning for a $60, pre-ripped hoodie. This one, to be exact:

Yes, it's $60. Yes, I've never wanted anything more. Perhaps the same God who grants us free air and catalogs will also grant me the strength to resist! Yeah, probably not.

*If you happen to be one of those perfectly bronzed and toned employees and are totally offended right now, just remember, anyone who reads Daddy Likey is a friend of mine. Maybe we could get together sometime and talk about a discount? Kidding! Kind of.


tricia said...

hi! been reading for a bit. :) loving your blog, ms. daddy likey.

i can see the appeal of the worn-ness, or really, "distressing" aka "faux worn-ness"...ok. gotcha there.

but what about the wearing of the name of the company on your clothes? i'm guessing it doesn't bother you/that you're ok with it?

personally, i have a palatably strong aversion to wearing labels on the outside of my clothes. being a poor grade school kid in the ye olde 80s, i often yearned for the expensive logo-bedecked duds of my wealthier classmates. but eventually i switched tack completely and started to hate logos and names on my clothes. now, in my advancing years, i can barely stand to look at a logo on other people! i guess i feel like it's too close to advertising for a company and i feel weird being somehow complicit to that.

i just wonder how other people look at it, i guess! and want to pick the minds of those who do wear them...just out of sheer curiousity!

Carissa said...

I have a confession to make: I'm almost 25 years old. My fiancé and I are becomming aware that we are just getting too old to be seen in your A and Fs, just like we realized 23 year olds are a little to old to shop at Aeropostle.

But last weekend I made my first (completely lust-driven) Abercrombie purchase (striped shorts and a very low cut top). Hey, if I buy it, I'll be toned and tan too, right? I mean, isn't that part of the deal? Isn't that why the cotton tank top was $35? I will be getting my 15 year old butt back with the shorts, right?

I think this is a sign of a quarter life crisis.

Sarah said...

Funny story about A&F...I was kind of a Hot Topic sort of girl in high school, but my older sister was definately one of the tanned, toned A&F people. And she wanted a particular sweater for her birthday. She had actually taken me by the hand (not literally of course) into the store, held up the exact size and color and said, "You should buy this for me for my birthday." So I went in, couldn't find the sweater, approached who I thought was an employee (they never wore nametags and employees and shoppers looked the same) and requested the sweater. After five minutes, he still didn't return and I had a massive headache and I was getting nauseus. I honestly thought I was going to throw up in the store. So I left the store without the sweater and after two minutes in the fresh recycled mall air, I felt fine again.

I thought it was some kind of psychological "I hate this store so much it makes me sick" thing but I found out years later I was having a reaction to their cologne. The company washes all the clothes in a cologne-scented detergent. And I'm allergic to it.

daddylikeyblog said...

Thanks for reading and commenting! As for wearing the name of a company on my clothes, I'm usually not a big fan of it either (at least in the huge and unapologetic way that A&F does it). I mean, I loved it in junior high, but then I mostly grew out of it. The thing is that I didn't grow out of this A&F obsession specifically, which is what makes it so odd and slightly troubling.
I do know that advertising can be so effective, marketing not just a brand but a lifestyle, that people (and I'm guilty) can put on clothes with big logos and feel like they're communicating something about who they are. The A&F logo is shorthand for cool, young, toned, and horny. And they've still got me believing it, damnit!

I feel your pain/joy completely.

bahahahaa i love you.

Jenn said...

you're so not alone on this one. I hate spending $50 on a t-shirt or having to get everything in an xL, but I can't help going to Abercrombie. The toxic levels of cologne they pump through the air vents of that store draws me in everytime.

my obsession was sparked in high school when my beautiful,blonde size 2 cousin started wearing Abercrombie like it was her uniform. and yep, here I am at 21 also, still shopping there (on the rare occasions that I can afford it)

AppleDiva said...

I have never been inside of an A&F (The shame), but I did get the catalogues in the mail. I was too peeved to see a capri cargo pant for $70 (mid-90s). But the pink/coral sweater is cayute... it must be like $100, n'est-ce pas?

Amber said...

I secretly love A&F too. I will join you in your shame...

Eritia said...

haha.. I'm opposed to abercrombie.. but sometimes the (sometimes) cuteness of (some) of their clothes draws me in, and i have to resist!

Sarah's comment made me laugh.. every time my friends drag me in there, we see employees running around spraying the clothes on the shelves with the abercrombie cologne.

RachelP said...

Ha! Guess who gave me my first and only A&F garment? Our dear friend Milena, of course, and God, I thought I was cool wearing it.

Miss A said...

There is something about Abercrombie and Fitch that gets to you... I personally think it's the ridiculously loud music they play. Have you ever noticed how loud the music is in there? Not that I'm against loud music, but it's a brilliant sales ploy. I truly think that the music is perfectly designed to stop all logical thought from occuring in your brain and making you spend $60 on pre-torn clothing.

That Student said...

While I remain largely apathetic regarding Abercrombie and Fitch, I do appreciate the numerous Loveline references you have in this post.

Anonymous said...

"And, like a young girl whose distant relationship with her father leads her to a lifetime of pursuing cold men, I find myself still, at 21, yearning for a $60, pre-ripped hoodie."

AHAHAHA! and here i am at 26 - still sometimes thinking i could pull off an article or two of abercrombie clothing.

wee said...

nice story

Anonymous said...

I hate you! What is wrong with Abercrombie? What?! It's a little pricy, but so what? Then people who can afford it shop there! I don't see you making fun of beautiful French boutiques that sell dresses for thousands of dollars! There clothes are cute with good quality! If you don't like their style, DON'T SHOP THERE! Leave the people who do shop there-- LIKE ME -- ALONE! I don't see why people (LIKE YOU) make such a big deal about this! People like you make fun of the store to death! SHUT UP!

caitrĂ­n said...

ahahaha :D
You can find A&F at Salvation army or something. I think I have a tank top. I also bought a Hollister shirt there once for 5 dollars as a joke to myself.

Darci Catherine said...

My first brush with A&F, in ninth grade, was entirely Britney's fault. She was gorgeous, her mom owned a boutique, and she was popular, in that, "I do well in school, but only because I pop Adderall daily, and I look sweet, but I may give your boyfriend chlamydia," sort of way.

My back to school shopping consisted of Lazarus and Kohl's... with my Southern Baptist mom... And I wasn't allowed to wear makeup to school. So, before school, I'd go to her house and put on makeup and straighten my hair. On a day that I was looking particularly 12, she pulled me to her closet, pulled out a tight, heather grey, v-neck, cable knit vision from Abercrombie [as well as a tomato red cami to wear underneath], and told me to put that on, instead. Damn if I didn't look good. WHen I came back to her house after school, I tried to give them back, but she said simply, "They look better on you." I wore that thing to bits.

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