Abercrombie Had A Psycho Dress Code (For Its Accountants)

Sartorial insanity.
Abercrombie Had A Psycho Dress Code (For Its Accountants)

Many remember Abercrombie & Fitch, the premier clothing brand for the rich suburban teen who never bothered to learn their maid's last name, as that ridiculous store that hired shirtless models and refused to stock any size bigger than Large. Subsequently, the company also became infamous for the myriad lawsuits these discriminatory policies provoked. But what these plaintiffs didn't realize was that A&F was very inclusive about inflicting its draconic beauty standards on all employees, no matter their rank or background.

It turns out that Abercrombie & Fitch's brand of 'Manson cult, but make it hot' didn't just apply to its clothing but also its corporate culture. In the aughts, store associates, the ones hot enough to survive the hiring process, had to abide by an extensive, ridiculous, "look policy." This policy covered everything from a dress code (only A&F brand clothing) to haircuts (no "extreme styles" like highlights) and even acceptable fingernail length (a quarter of an inch max or you're fired).  

Iflwlou/Wikimedia Commons
The Abercrombie & Fitch's ABC of sales: Always Be Clothesless. 

More unusual was that the company also imposed a similar look policy on its main office employees, who were barred from wearing black or purple and also had to dress exclusively in A&F clothing. Of course, A&F wasn't insane enough to then also hire model/lawyers or model/HR managers, resulting in corporate headquarters whose professionals looked like their midlife crises had synced up. Even more humiliating was the plight of plus-sized employees. Since their own brand refused to stock anything larger than size Methhead, several female employees had to suffer the indignity of wearing men's jeans while more heavy set male employees had no choice but to squeeze into an A&F Large.

"Hey, do you have quarterly sales numbers for the zip-off cargo pants? I need them for my presentation."

Fortunately, these employees were eventually released from their fascistically enforced Casual Friday. In 2015, a Muslim ex-employee who was fired for not wearing an A&F branded headscarf (not that they sold any of those) took her discrimination lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court. The SC Justices, used to wearing comfortable, flowy robes, sided with Samantha Elauf. After that, Abercrombie & Fitch finally decided to drop their draconic look policy altogether for something more "individualistic," which, if you've been into an Abercrombie & Fitch store since then, means anything but that.

For more weird tangents and labor law fashion advice, do follow Cedric on Twitter

Top Image: JoeInQueens/Wiki Commons, CER91/Wiki Commons

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