I feel a little bad about ragging on American Eagle, because the clothes are made for teenagers. It's not one of those stores like Gap or H&M or even Forever 21, where both 13 year olds and 31 year olds can shop (with the right discretion). No, once you become old enough to drink, you can't go into an AE store without feeling like a dinosaur, and what does a dinosaur need a graphic hoodie for?
And yet... I used to be a huge AE fan when I was in high school, and I still get their emails with ridiculous coupon codes (judging by how desperate they seem to give their clothes away, I'm a bit worried about AE's business future). I couldn't help checking out their online store a few days ago, and I was happily shocked to find some adorable pieces. I might just have to put my hair in pigtail braids and sneak into the store to try them on.
First, their dresses are all the best, prettiest parts of spring distilled into a piece of cotton. I think I'm especially appreciative of AE dresses because Gap has apparently given up trying to design any dresses I'd want to wear. Such epic fail in the cute dresses category, Gap. Sigh. Anyway, this Flirty Striped Dress, $44.50, has that nautical look I never get sick of. A white/blue stripe is one of those classic prints that always look fresh, and the button-up bustier top is sexy in a really unself-conscious way. I like how there's a bit of a menswear vibe in this dress, but it's also completely girly. I want to be wearing this dress everyday from April to September. It also comes in a great checked white, although I worry about the see-through factor (you can tell it's getting warmer when I have to start thinking about clothes being see-through).
When it's 80 degrees and you can't stand the thought of getting dressed in actual jeans, this Knit Party Dress, $34.50, will be your savior. Few things are as easy to wear as a jersey tank dress, and the fun color and print gives it enough style for a night out. I have an AE dress with these shoulder ties, and I honestly find it sort of annoying. I'm always feeling them on my shoulder and thinking something's crawling on my skin, and they look pretty awkward under cardigans. One of these days I'm going to get my mom to just sew the straps together.
This One-Shoulder Ruffle Dress, $34.50, reminds me of something Alice + Olivia would sell. It maybe not have their impeccable fit or quality fabric, but it's also 120% cheaper and just as adorable. I can't decide whether I like the berry or the pearl grey version better: my head tells me the berry is way more fun and vibrant, but my heart is drawn to the sophistication of the grey. Who knew AE could be so chic? The drawback to this dress is that the sexy single strap and the rather low back leaves no hope for wearing a bra. Sigh.
I'm a bit in love with the Floral Vines Halter Cami, $24.50-- it's so artful and lovely. The cut is a nice deviation from a plain tank or an overly revealing halter, and I like the subtle keyhole opening in the back. And the print! It was so smart to have the florals hanging down into the white bottom, since having a whole shirt in that print would be headache-inducing. Instead, it's a nice compromise and a great look. Makes me want to throw a garden party, even though I don't have a garden.
I've had a few pieces of AE jewelry that I bought in high school and wore for years, until they fell apart. I could see this Gold Pendant Necklace. $15.50, being a semi-permanent addition to my jewelry box, especially when I want to dress up solid-colored dresses or black tops. The long chain and embellished pendant gives off a Kate Moss, bohemian sort of vibe-- I'd maybe wear it with cut-off jean shorts and some suede boots.
Or, maybe I'd wear that necklace with these Sunrise Sandals, $29.50. The leather cut-out sun pattern is a nice alternative to last summer's played-out gladiator trend, and it's an obvious upgrade from Old Navy's 2 for $5 rubber flip flops (which are awesome and essential, but don't do justice to your cute summer dresses).
Cute clutch alert! The Envelope Clutch is on sale for $9.99, which is perfect for some faux-leather and an oversized gold AE logo (luckily, you can't really make out what it says unless it's right in front of your face). At 9"x5", it's roomy enough to hold all your essentials, but still small enough to tuck under your arm and dance. It also comes in black and tan, but I think the gun metal grey is the more versatile color-- I could use it right now, and it goes with everything.