About a month ago, I began searching online for cheap sports bras that I could wear to do yoga. It was tricky: Everything was either too expensive and serious, with molded cups meant for intensive cardio, or too suspiciously synthetic. While perusing pages on Amazon, I came across something that struck me as strange, but certainly familiar: a selection of American Apparel crop tops. I recognized them immediately: They were almost precisely what I wore as “going out” tops to house parties my freshman year of college a decade ago (2009, when American Apparel had 281 brick-and-mortar stores, many of which would soon feature pubic-hair-adorned mannequins). Half out of nostalgia, and half out of stinginess (they were now just $10 a pop, a fraction of what they were in the early aughts), I ordered two — one in a higher-neck, racerback style that reminded me a little of the far more expensive but quite similar looking Outdoor Voices’ Athena crops, and one in a scoop neck that looked like a longline sports bra.
They very quickly became a heavy part of my yoga clothing rotation. The fit was snug without being restrictive, and the cuts were flattering enough to make me remember why the tops were once de rigueur for going out. Better yet, they were not obviously American Apparel (I’d rather not wear anything that calls to mind gold lamé leggings and purple zip-up hoodies) and simply looked like a minimalist piece from any number of workout clothing companies. The tops are super-easy to clean, I found (just machine wash, hang dry) and, of increasing importance lately, just as easy to hang around in all day. Just yesterday morning, I put the scoop neck one on when I woke up, did yoga on my bedroom floor, worked at my desk, made lunch, went back to my desk, FaceTimed with friends, and rewatched Succession in bed. I have a feeling I’ll be putting on the racerback one to do it all again tomorrow.
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