Abercrombie & Fitch May Be the Comeback Kid of 2015

Amelia Diamond | September 10, 2015

I never thought I’d see the day.

You know who else is a comeback kid? Courrèges.

For an otherwise under-the-radar species, moose had a great early 2000s. They were the mascot of Abercrombie & Fitch in its heyday, back when Bruce Weber shot the naked campaigns and the OC personified its lifestyle.

However, nothing gold can stay: stitched elks on pique polos went the way of double-popped collars, AIM profiles and Marissa Cooper (RIP) as customers peaced out, moved on and grew up.

Like the OC, the retailer’s decline was not without dropped-sales and drama: Abercrombie stripped former-CEO Mike Jeffries of his chairman role after quotes began resurfacing in the media of things he’d said in beyond-poor taste. He officially retired in December 2014 and the brand starting working on their makeover.

Cut to…

A few months ago an Instagram ad prompted me to scroll back up and see what “those jeans” were. The answer: Abercrombie & Fitch. Separately, a friend texted me that she bought a suede A&F jacket on a window-browsing whim. Savvy fashion fans began making quiet visits to the store’s website to purchase henleys — those ribbed, half-snap tops synonymous with the heady smell of 8 and Fierce — once Altuzarra showed them on the runway.

If I were Summer Roberts, here’s where I’d begin to wonder if Abercromie & Fitch was having a bit of a comeback.

Said Instagram-ad jeans arrived at our office as a press gift. Their high waist hit in just the right belly-button spot. The wash was flattering, the fabric soft but not gross-stretchy. They were cool. They were good. I asked the press office if they could loan a few more items: a suede skirt, 90s-shaped tops, a classic oxford, a pair of wildcard plaid wide-leg trousers and of course, a henley. My objective was simple: to see if my reaction was purely nostalgic, or if I’d actually wear this stuff.

Man-Repeller-Abercrombie-and-Fitch-is-Back---22

Test one was the aforementioned jeans. They passed the Dazed & Confused litmus test: consider them added to my wardrobe.

Man-Repeller-Abercrombie-and-Fitch-is-Back---24

Test two was putting together a whole outfit that didn’t read neck-to-knee ‘Crombie. What it ended up looking like — and a lot of the new stuff does — was that I went shopping at Topshop or The Reformation: a little bit trendy but not in a schizophrenic way.

Man-Repeller-Abercrombie-and-Fitch-is-Back---6

Test three was to figure out what the hell to do with these pants, because they looked cool online but I wasn’t so sure how they’d fare in person. Though I styled them a little more (a lot more) Joni Mitchell than I’m inclined to dress, I felt great in them. Consider these added, too.

What “the new Abercrombie” no longer has is that recognizable-from-anywhere A&F look; no iconic silhouette for similar high street brands to emulate. That day is gone. But for a brand that once pushed away its customers by strategically making others feel excluded, this new open-arms style similar to Zara or H&M — Come in on a whim and possibly leave with an outfit for tonight! — is a smart move. It will cause nostalgic shoppers and potential new buyers to pause by that intoxicating blend of too much cologne and too much music and think, “Why not? Let’s go in.”

As for the moose: not present on a single item above, save for the hidden tags. It prefers a low-key life. But it says hi. So does the teenage you.

boy-bands

  • Allie Fasanella

    not hating you at all in A&F. the a line mini has been my staple all summah and i will def be taking it into fall. need to know how to style with tights tho

  • Allie Fasanella

    am i amelia diamond yet? cute story about this pic: right after this was taken a girl walked in and looked at me like i was tom cruise on oprah’s couch

    • Stephanie

      Awesome!

    • Amelia Diamond

      obviously i love this outfit

    • l:ly

      i want what you’re wearing

  • LP

    That jacket is Maje not vintage. Unless, of course, you consider something under 5 years old vintage.

    • Amelia Diamond

      I consider my college years vintage but other than that, yes, this is Maje. Was possibly lost in auto-correct translation when providing outfit credits.

  • Stephanie

    I am loving those plaid pants!

    • Amelia Diamond

      they are very BREEEZY

  • Kaleigh Fasanella

    this is amazing—I’m obsessed with the last pair of pants!

    • Amelia Diamond

      you can fit a lot of legs in them!

  • parkzark

    Body be bangin in the flares girl, dayummmmmmmm. I may have to pick these up now.

  • Audrey Brown

    I still have a hard time imagining walking into one of these stores. As a girl who started the high school knitting club, shopped at thrift stores and wore glasses, I was definitely not welcome.
    At what point does your high-school self forgive them for being the uniform of mean girls? To be clear, I know it’s stupid and petty and adult me loves the idea of reclaiming it, but my inner uncool 10th grader is pretty resistant to the idea.

    That being said, I am pleasantly surprised by those outfits- especially the plaid pants.

    • Amelia Diamond

      I think if you walk in there now you’ll laugh out loud and be like OH THIS IS ALL IT WAS? Also, I like this question “At what point does your high-school self forgive them for being the uniform of mean girls? “

    • littlest lemon

      I took to A&F as a newly-minted high school graduate and I felt like it was almost an act of forgiveness. I wore holes in the jeans I bought, and my bitterness towards the mean girls softened as the fabric did. The brand became my own, and it was–as silly as it sounds– a way for me to be comfortable with the fact that the people who hurt me as a teenager were dealing with their own shit and just happened to take it out on me.

      So yeah, I have a lot of affection for A&F.

  • I have a confession: multiple times in the past months I’ve been on the A&F website finding a ton of cute shit slash feeling so much shame. This article made me feel much better about all of it though, because (1) Amelia is way cooler than me and so I trust her fashion advice always, and (2) there were a ton of OC references which = happiness 4eva.

    • Amelia Diamond

      no shame in the game

  • MissKey

    Great article, it’s nice when an outfit have a story or a reason behind it. The 70s inspiration of the first look is really cool and life is better with a stripes top. From the second look, I fell in love with the beautiful skirt

    Kisses

    http://misskeyblog.com/

  • erin

    gah. abercrombie was the bane of my existence when it was the cool kids’ uniform and i was a not-cool kid. and you’re making me want those flares so bad.

    • Amelia Diamond

      you’re the cool kid now, erin! and you get to wear any damn flares that you WANT.

      • erin

        YEAH!! *hip bumps*

  • Sam

    What size on the wide leg pants? Totally getting those, not sure if these are based on HS kid sizes still and I need to order way up?

    • Amelia Diamond

      I’m a 4 and the pants were a 6 — a little big, we clipped in the back. The jeans ran tighter in the legs so you may actually want to size up (aka, I was wearing size 6 jeans) but the waist gapped. I have that prob with a lot of jeans though because I always need a bigger size for my thighz.

      • erin

        how tall are you? trying to figure out if the size 4 jeans will be long enough for me because a lot of flares tend to be too short. (i’m a a 2-4, and 5’7″.) because i am totally buying these in black to go with a leopard coat i just scored on ebay. take that, cool kids!

        • LMJ

          These just arrived in the mail for me and are LONG. Like, I will have to hem them. Granted I have the legs of a gnome, but they’re noticeably longer than most jeans. Also stretchy . I’m 5’6″ and between a 2-4 and might return for a 2 because the 4 seems like it may stretch out.

          • erin

            this is SO helpful! THANK YOU!

          • Anoushka

            I work at A&F so have a lot of experience with their jeans and I’d say definitely size down after a couple of washes they’ll have stretched loads!

        • LMJ

          Also they’re seriously awesome. I love them. But maybe order both 2 and 4 and try em out.

  • Look at Amelia shine – I love it! And the outfits! Now all A&F needs to do is to cut down on the loud music and perfumery stores they have going, and I might consider it!

  • Marley Arviso

    Not going to lie, I just bought two pairs of pants from AF because of this post AND they were on sale AND they are cute as hell.

    • Amelia Diamond

      PICS PLEASE

  • Caro

    I think if you urban dictionary “dayum”, all these pics show up? This is awesome, and I actually wandered into an A&F in April and was blown away by some of their tees. Scooped them up, of course. Barely took them off this summer.

    • Amelia Diamond

      oo what are the tees !!

      • Caro

        Okay, so I’ve been really into “graphic” tees all summer. The only thought I had when I saw the tee on the right was, “Abercrombie is fucking with us.”

        • Caro

          Ici

          • Amelia Diamond

            i loveee that black one !!

  • Kate

    These all rock. And I’m so obsessed with your hair. Where do you get it done again??? I know you wrote an article about it but I can’t find it! TY <3 ILY

    • Amelia Diamond

      I get it done at the Tenth Floor, but it’s confusing, because i don’t know how you become a client through this website (i’ve just known the woman, Roxie, for a while and then she went here), still, here’s the website through the product they sell: http://www.hairstory.com/

  • Allison Penilla

    Wait because of you I’m $136 poorer than I was one hour ago. What is this black magic?!

    • Amelia Diamond

      but did you get SO MUCH STUFF

  • Not sure how I feel about this but Amelia you look amazing in those flares x

    http://www.loveiconfantasyego.com

  • Totally agree – I was just in the shop in the UK, the guys working there were hotter than ever and I loved soo many things . . . great shop. Its a classic. . . and the sweatpants. LOVE THEM!

    http://www.flightofspice.com

  • Hi, Moose here … So … if I tell you how great you look above AND mean it, have I already reached a … praise excess creepiness line?
    (Because, DAMN, you look good.)

    • Amelia Diamond

      <3 <3 <3 <3

  • Katie Waller

    I never even wore A&F growing up, as rural, western Colorado was never very fashionable or on-trend. But DAMN, those plaid pants may just make all my wildest dreams come true!!!!

  • EM

    I can’t believe I’m perusing the A&F website right now….what a turnaround! Two questions: Is the quality still as good as it used to be? And how is the sizing? Should I order a size up?

    • Amelia Diamond

      quality is not bad at all. the suede skirt is GREAT. order true to size.

  • Oh MANNN I am obsessed with those high-waisted jeans. Do they run true to size??

    • Amelia Diamond

      they do!

  • Sydney Eff

    Those flares are a dream on you, Amelia! The wide legs are lovely, too.

  • Lucero

    I love that you posted this! I’ve been feeling the same way since last fall, and just ordered a pair of faux leather joggers and some sweet burnt orange culottes.

    I feel like Urban Outfitters is having a similar rebirth. I bought quite a few items there this summer and have received rave reviews, in particular for this harem jumpsuit: http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=35411297&category=SEARCH+RESULTS
    They’ve come a long way from their “Everyone Loves a Catholic Girl” t-shirt days (which I was guilty of owning) but always seems to have their finger on the zeitgeist du jour. As a buyer at a brand also going through a growing-up phase and struggling to be granted some fashion cred, I’m all for old brands taking on new personalities 🙂

  • Sarah McCarron

    Great photos Amelia! You look terrific.

  • Meagan Cortinas

    If you need more convincing, this skirt is currently on sale.

  • soniadelvalle

    I capital L Love those navy pants!

  • Maggie Hopkins

    Firstly, you look amazing in those jeans! Secondly: I know they are doubling as hooves, but what shoes would one pair with them?! @ameliadiamond:disqus

    • Amelia Diamond

      I wore super high wooden platforms with suede straps, old Ralph but Topshop has similar right now

  • Freckled Canvas

    Woah woah woah. I took the bait and found these lovely non-denim, wide leg, bib overalls. I am jeans-averse and dammit they better fit.

    • Amelia Diamond

      i am about to order these.

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  • l:ly

    yaaaas Amelia yaaaas your hair looks so good in that last shot yaaas

  • Johanna Mirenda

    loving the third outfit all day!!!

  • Tine Rønnest Knapp

    Eyemazing look … u rock my wardrobe! But I still miss the moose and it looks like it is making its comeback-moose move on a few new items this season in the flagship store in Copenhagen, so all of us nostaligica 37-something-teens can ‘go moose’ again 🙂