Chances are you don't frequent Abercrombie & Fitch much anymore, but you certainly know the A&F look. In their catalogues and in their stores, Abercrombie's models and staff members rock a uniform that can best be described as "casually-schlumpy-but-upon-closer-inspection-actually-much-thought-went-into-this." What wasn't clear until now was just the insanely massive amount of thought the corporation that pulled in $4.5 billion in this annual sales puts into their staffers' outfits.
In a very Wikileaks move (not really, but the closest we'll get in the world of fashion), Buzzfeed obtained an Abercrombie & Fitch internal document that spells out the rules of how staffers will dress, along with recommendations and step-by-step pictorial guides of how to achieve the Abercromie look. If you want to dress like the brand that we called one of the greatest menswear brands of all time, just click through the thumbs.
The spring 2013 "style guide" instructs that any cuffed shirt sleeve should be scrunched above the elbow in a method that's new for the season. All shirts should be buttoned, and the half-tuck is the tuck du jour. Perhaps the worst suggestion Abercrombie gives is that "dark brown leather flip flops...look great with any look." Sorry, but there should be no dude-feet present when you're trying to entice money out of us. There is absolutely no sagging allowed, and guys should have a 1.25" cuff on their denim. If you're wearing a crewneck over your shirt, then a half inch of your woven shirt has to remain visible, and God help you if you have too many buttons unbuttoned.
The rules for how female staffers need to dress are even more rigid and demanding. The "scrunch-roll sleeve" is also enforced, as well as a 7/8" cuff that "should sit at top of ankle bone." If you were wondering about layering, Abercromie suggests that the "Underlayer is a white pretty top. (Try wearing a nude bra or white strappy tank)." We have no idea what any of those are, but we're sure employees wearing non-nude bras have faced the wrath of store managers around the country.
For a company that puts the utmost importance on image, it's no surprise that these rules exist for the feet (and faces) on the ground. According to Buzzfeed, Abercrombie "considers its stores its main marketing vehicle," and so it only makes sense that the business prefers centralized control over the appearance of each store's staffers. And in case you are one of the few Complex readers that shops at the nation-wide retail chain, use this as an opportunity to learn exactly how to get the signature Abercrombie & Fitch look.