It's funny, but when I was growing up chain stores weren't really that prevalent outside of department stores. I vividly remember acquiring my coveted urban wear from places in New York like Dr. Jay's, VIM and Gulf West. Outside of my tailor father sewing my dress clothing, the places I went to for suits were Macy's, Stern's, Alexander's or Syms. Then of course there was the Sears and Spiegel catalogs for all the in-betweens. Seems like the only chain stores that were around and relevant then were The Gap and Foot Locker.
Fast-forward some 20 years and the cache surrounding department stores have diminished, everything once catalog is now online and mixing and matching themes in clothing seems the zeitgeist now more than a distinguishable dictated look. Chain stores are what seem to motivate the young middle and inner-city American masses now and one of the more telling one's in American Eagle. I once swore I'd never buy anything from there but my quest for a great pair of camouflage cargo shorts a couple of years ago had to propelled me to peruse their shelves. To my surprise they fit and nicely walked the line of commercial and fashionable. It was then that I realized that what a store like American Eagle showcased was a broad offering of popular and easy styles along the classic familiar avenues of American sportswear and highlighted ways that appeal to the young through price and trend.
Recently, American Eagle unveiled their Spring 2013 Collections for men and women and I must say it was a pretty cool offering that will once again serve to delight those seeking fresh color, fun prints and easy shapes to create new wardrobes or integrate pieces into their pre-exisitng ones. The women's collection had combinations of sweet pastels and pared down ethnic embellishments printed on skirts and embroidered on tanks, shorts, dresses and blouses. The key here was a mix of materials like leather embellishments with gauzy cottons, metallic knits and breezy jerseys and dreamy vacation prints then layered with familiar collegiate and nautical staples like striped cardigans remixed with tie dye and cuffed boy shorts.
The men's collection told a story of print print print! Khaki shorts were livened up with color striped, Americana and ethnic prints. The graphics on many of the tees, accessories and tanks with contrast trim were also dreamy, vacation-minded with surfing, seaside, military surplus and tribal references. When paired with over-dyed and sun-bleached effects on solid and striped shorts the effect was rather cool and created a dialogue of 'rules out the window' matching that looked modern and masculine. Not a bad offering from what's become a go-to company for modern Americana with a youthful verve. The collection will be available this April.