American Apparel used to get so much hype for its anti-sweatshop, no-photoshop stance that I used to really hate the brand. Nothing worse than a brand that gets more attention for its marketing than for its product (cough, Dsquared, cough). I admit it, I judged that book by its cover. And then something happened -- I started to buy into the hype. Even though I've always insisted that all basics can be found in factory outlet shops in Causeway Bay or Stanley Market, I'm really coming around on the "spend more on the basics and consider them lifelong investments" theory. Especially when those basics include such striking cuts and shapes. There are also some classic items that are for some reason really hard to find -- firstly, the underwire-free bra, and secondly, the bodysuit (what better invention to keep your top properly tucked in and tight?) This hooded bodysuit is simply genius. What's better? I actually travelled to a store in the US to sample the wares and they are good. What they do with spandex is pretty tacky, in a good way. It's all very retro and sturdy and cut very artfully. There's no branch in Hong Kong, unfortunately, but you can get some stuff in Shenzhen, or shop online at their store. More photos after the cut.