Saturday, June 16, 2007

De-Sweatshopping the Closet

A recent book reading at Politics and Prose inspired me to take a Cosmo-like "what can I do" quiz to see if I am living as a responsible world citizen. I don't own a car - check. I live in a small, energy-efficient apartment - check. This apartment has three large closets stuffed with clothing...uh oh.

The "Made In" labels read like an Amnesty International watch list. And those not "Made In" are "Hecho en el Tienda Del Sweat." {ed note: You need to brush up on your Espanol}

Because I cannot afford custom-made Balenciaga from the loving hands of well-compensated artisans, I decided to check out the next best thing: Adding some American Apparel to the H&M mix of cotton shirts.

But would American Apparel work in conservative Washington?

These shirts will have to be versatile enough to go from downtown meeting to film festival to wine bar to a DC United game. (Notice not one of those venues features faux wood paneling and a boom-chicka-chicka-BOOM hipster porn soundtrack).

Beyond the gold lame tube tops and ironic 1970s gym shorts...

I clicked on the Womens, Short-sleeved shirts button. And here's what I found:

- Unisex Sheer Jersey - Hello J-Lo plunging neckline! Unless "boobs" suddenly joined "matching shoes and handbag" on the official Washingtonian fashion do's list, these shirts would not be appropriate. At all.

- Fine Jersey Short-Sleeve T - Boring. Not fine at all, unless you're washing the car on a Sunday morning.

- Sheer Jersey Short-Sleeved T V-Neck - Holy @#$%^ you can see right through it!

- Sheer Heart Jersey T - Is that a ...dickey underneath the main shirt?

- Fine Jersey Color Block Pocket T - Like something a four-year-old would wear because she likes to match the Crayola box

- Unisex Solid Rib Vest - "Ohhh, it's so HOT in Washington in the summer. My chest is stifling... They must be free to BREATHE..."

- Cotton Spandex T-shirt Leotard - A leotard? With snaps on the bottom? (uncomfortable flashback to junior-high gymnastics class)

All mocking aside, the others are actually quite cute. And the two American Apparel items of clothing I already own are unbeatably comfortable and hold their color and shape well.

But, looking at this online catalog, I have to wonder two things:

- Why are many of the models pantless?
- Can't they think up more creative product names? It almost makes you yearn for the J. Crew "Classic Rugby Henley in Fawn"...


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