Like many apparel stores, Abercrombie & Fitch encourages its employees to dress "on brand." Just as J.Crew wants its employees to sport their quirky prep look and Aeropostale nudges their male staffers to don puka shell necklaces, A&F wanted everyone to wear the brand, from the store floors all the way up to corporate. The only catch? Abercrombie & Fitch is designed for (thin and pretty) preteens and high schoolers.
Kjerstin Gruys, a former A&F employee turned sociologist, worked at Abercrombie corporate, where she endured discomfort and dieting to fit into the company's clothing at work:
I squeezed myself into the second-largest A&F women's size available — an 8 — and dieted to stay that size. It terrified me to know that if I gained weight and sized out of their women's clothes, I'd have to wear ill-fitting men's T-shirts and sweatshirts to work every day, as I'd seen other "large" women do.
Wait, wait, wait. Can we pause to imagine the hilarity of grown people sitting in an office wearing the latest season of Abercrombie clothing? How anyone manages to pull off frayed, embellished short-shorts in a work environment is beyond me. I can understand those denim jackets everyone loved (I still mourn the day I decided to throw out mine, if only because it was my final relic of my middle school normality), but to expect corporate employees to squeeze into clothes made for teenagers might be taking the "on brand" culture a step too far.
Add to the fact that Abercrombie limits its sizes to skinny and very skinny, it's no wonder that women have to wear men's T-shirts to work (at least they have some great options, like this woefully offensive interpretation of Lichtenstein, or this wannabe RuPaul shirt).
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