Last week, we learned that sextastic clothing line American Apparel hires and fires employees based on photos, and we shared internal documents detailing their No Uglies Allowed policies. Today, we bring you AA Grooming Standards—male and female.

Grooming Emails

We've obtained two emails that AA management sent out to store managers and others earlier this year, describing ideal grooming standards for both men and women—complete with photos.

AA's grooming standards for females:

From: Katherine Johnson
Sent: Sun 3/28/2010 5:29 AM
To: [A long list of AA employees]
Subject: Grooming- Females

Hi everyone,

Please keep in mind that American Apparel is a retailer that celebrates natural beauty. We encourage employees to feel comfortable in their natural skin and natural state. This aesthetic is a part of the company image; as we do not photoshop our advertisements and our models appear in their natural state, it's important that this image is cohesive in the stores.

a) Makeup is to be kept to a minimal- please take this very seriously. Liquid eyeliner, pencil eyeliner and eyeshadow are advised against; mascara must look very natural (ie. should not be clumpy or a color that does not compliment your skin and haircolor). Blush must not be overdone- should not have glitter or sparkles. Liquid foundation is prohibited (undereye concealer is understandable if it looks natural- ie. not clumpy or caked on, must match your skin tone). Please do not use a shiny gloss on your lips; any lipcolor must be subtle.
b) Eyebrows must not be overplucked. Full eyebrows are very much encouraged. Please do not dye your eyebrows a different color.
c) We encourage long, healthy, natural hair, so please be advised of the following:
-Hair must be kept your natural color.
-Blow-drying hair excessively could cause heat damage, so this is advised against.
-"Bangs" or "fringe" are advised against. It is not part of the direction we're moving in.
d) Jewelry must not be distracting. Please do not wear accessories with another brand's logo on it- this includes watches. No gauges whatsoever. One earring per ear is encouraged. Earrings, necklaces, watches, bracelets, etc. must be simple and tasteful. Please E-mail me or with a photo if you have any questions about a specific piece of jewelry you'd like to wear in the store.

Below are photo examples of staff from around the world as well as photos I've extracted from the website. Managers should circulate these photos and the suggestions I've made to their staff. Please let me know if you have any questions. You can call or E-mail me anytime.


These are the three photos that were attached. Click to enlarge:

AA's grooming standards for the men:

From: Katherine Johnson
Sent: Sun 3/28/2010 8:15 AM
To: [AA employees]
Subject: Grooming- Males

Hi everyone,

Males as well as females are expected to exude the understanding of the brand's appreciation for a natural and healthy appearance. Below are a few notes as well as photographic examples that should be circulated to the staff, specifically to male employees.

a) Hair should look natural. Excessive product to the extent of creating stiffness and an unnatural or greasy appearance to your hair is advised against.
b) Eyebrows should be natural. Please do not dye your eyebrows a different color or overpluck them.
c) Males should not wear makeup.
d) Facial hair needs to be kept clean and well groomed. Any mustache or goatee of a contemporary style are advised against.
e) No gauges allowed whatsoever.

Reminders about basic dress code:
a) Button-up shirts must be tucked in to trousers.
b) Sneakers of any style are not allowed. Plain white clean Keds or Keds-like shoes are allowed.
c) Please do not wear any earrings. All accessories and watches must be clean, simple, and tasteful. They cannot distract from the garments.
d) Garments must fit properly. Trousers cannot be too tight or too baggy- and must be clean. Shirts cannot be oversized or too tight. If there is an employee that does not wear garments that fit properly, please contact me ASAP so we can resolve the matter.
e) Belts must be worn with trousers that have belt loops.


Here are the three examples that were attached. Click to enlarge:

More Official Grooming Guidelines

Click the photos below to peruse more of AA's rules, which appear on the company's intranet:


American Apparel: Internal Documents Reveal Uglies Not Welcome
American Apparel Has a 'Full Body Head to Toe' Employment Policy

[If you're an American Apparel employee with something to share, email me.]