I had the weirdest experience at the mall the other day…I actually went into American Eagle. This is weird because it’s something I haven’t done in at LEAST a good five years. While I used to be obsessed with AE in my younger years and while I’m a huge fan of their aerie brand’s retouch-free campaign, their style aesthetic and mine have not meshed for a number of years. Recently though, things have changed. AE actually has pieces that not only garner a second look, but that I would actually BUY. It’s their “Don’t Ask Why” line, and it blows my mind. Drapey cardigans. Kimonos. Flowy dresses. Beanies. Sassy shirts. Heard of Brandy Melville? AE’s Don’t Ask Why is pretty much a carbon copy of their aesthetic, and they’re shameless about it. Don’t Ask Why was initially released as American Eagle’s special “Italian collection” (Brandy, though it appears to be rooted in California vibes, is actually an Italian company) drawing influence from street style from Italy to NYC to California with nods to festival fashion.
The line features Brandy staples like crop tops, ruffled shorts, open-back dresses, sleeveless, graphic-print tanks, and maxi skirts. Oh, and ALSO like Brandy Melville, each item in the Don’t Ask Why collection only comes in one size. Fit into that size and you’re in luck–an entire collection dedicated to “breezy pieces“, perfect for “mixing, matching, layering, and throwing on over absolutely everything” is at your disposal. Sartorial jackpot. One-size not your size? No worries–much of American Eagle’s latest collection–in all of their offered sizes–seem to be similarly influenced. In short, this isn’t the same AE you shopped in 2006.
Here in the Midwest, aside from ordering online and shopping a paltry selection available at certain PacSun locations, access to actual Brandy Melville clothing is quite limited. American Eagle’s take on their aesthetic, however, is readily available at local malls, and is almost indistinguishable from Brandy originals. It’s trendy, it’s stylish, and it’s accessible. You can see and shop the collection in its entirety HERE.
Gotta love a good makeover.