Let yourself be surprised by all the preppy chic goodness at AEO!

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We’ve talked some mid-to-high-end luxury shopping on the blog this week and now it’s time to talk steals at the other end of the market.

Every three years or so it’s been tradition for me to go to American Eagle and pick up a new NYC-themed hoodie. Their hoodie sweatshirts are the best — soft underlayer with a thick, warm top layer. These special NYC-themed sweatshirts are only available at their 34th St Flagship and each time I go they’ve moved them to a different spot. While hunting around for their latest home I noticed more and more cute stuff around me, and eventually amassed quite a fitting room full of cute, inexpensive, preppy chic items.

One fitting room session later, I was coming home with two huge shopping bags of new pretties to wear for Fall, having spent less than $300 on more than 6 outfits! Such is the delight that American Eagle can be when they’re on their design game and right now they are on. My girlfriends who are moms tell me AEO (American Eagle Outfitters) is a popular topic of conversation in their mommy groups for how practical and inexpensive their clothing is. Right now, you can take 30% off your purchase when you buy one web exclusive item (there are many in this post!) with code SHOPFALL.

Aside from their hoodies, I find that their jeans are true highlights. They have tons of styles to choose from…about a billion washes…and they run in many, many sizes and length options. They are curve-friendly too, though I size up for a good fit. I usually need a 14 in their jeans, and a 12 in the tomgirl styles. You can see one style on me in this OOTD post. Right now AEO is offering a Buy 1, Get 1 50% off promotion on their jeans!

Looking AEO’s website (and their sister intimates brand, Aerie’s site) I see tons of cute looks, like the outfit above featuring the Waffleknit Boyfriend Cardigan ($50), the Lace-Paneled Tank ($40) and the Denim X Hi-Rise Jegging ($50) in Ice Woman. I’ve got a few more looks from the site I like below followed by several outfit ideas of my own.

For sizing reference, I am a 14 in their jeans, a large in their tops and a medium in their cardigans, unless otherwise noted.

To be sure, buying from American Eagle is not a long-term closet investment. Like a Zara or a H&M or that ilk this clothing lasts a couple to a few years with proper care. I always wash AEO stuff on delicate or the quick wash cycle — not because I’m afraid of it falling apart but rather because I’ve noticed their stuff is prone to shrinking. I dry it on low to damp dry and then hang it to finish the drying process. Is this a pain in the butt? You betcha. But it’s worth it to me because this stuff requires such little upfront investment and with a bit of TLC, the clothing can last quite awhile.

Want more info on how I care for my clothing? This post will make you a laundry expert!

Another area to set your expectations in is materials. You won’t find 100% silk or cotton here for the most part; nearly everything is some kind of unholy poly/nylon mix. That said, I still find that AEO’s stuff feels soft and wearable compared to other stores where those materials feel scratchy or uncomfortable.

Take the Soft & Sexy Plush Boyfriend Cardigan ($40), above. This cardigan is a mix of rayon, nylon and spandex. Normally that combination would feel scratchy and rough against my skin yet this cardi feels quite nice and extremely soft! It’s one of many very soft and pleasant-feeling items AEO has right now. Further down in the post we’ll talk about the softest pair of jeans I’ve ever tried on!

I took a medium in this cardigan, as I do in most AEO sweaters. It’s shown above with the Soft & Sexy Plush Ruffle-Hem Cami ($20) and the Denim X Super Hi-Rise Jegging ($50) in Destroyed Bright.

I also find it very easy to layer at AEO thanks to a mix of solid tank tops and camis aplenty with tons of flannel and plaid shirts and simple layering pieces. The Ahhmazingly Soft Plaid Boyfriend Shirt ($45), shown above in purple, is one of more than 10 colors this truly fluffy and comfy top comes in. Throw on a cami like the Soft & Sexy Plush Ribbed Tank ($20) underneath for a beautifully contrasting neckline. I’ve got another idea for the plaid top towards the end of this post.

 

Most all the sweaters at AEO are simple yet pretty right now! I absolutely adore the AEO Mixed Stitch Cable Sweater ($45, above in light brown) and have an outfit idea for it in cream. I took a large in this sweater because the cables down the front looked better in a large than a medium on me. Another sweater winner is the Aerie Lace-Bottom Sweater (now $30) which has beautiful lace trim along the bottom.

Below, I’ve put together 7 outfit ideas featuring AEO and Aerie beauties.

 

American Eagle tends to carry many degrees of the same color and complementary colors. So you’ll find pinks from orangey to pinkest pink, purples from dark to light and so on around the color wheel. This makes it very easy to assemble coordinating outfits that are very put-together!

I’m also delighted by their shoe selections, especially their massive selection of booties. To my surprise and satisfaction, they are more comfortable than expected and well-made. I tend to put these insoles in my shoes these days which help a ton.

 

We need to talk about the jeans in this look because as their name suggests, they are very soft. I wasn’t sure what to think when I saw the label but a store associate assured me they’d feel great on. She was so right! They felt beyond soft, almost like velvet but without that look. They look like jeans. Stretchy and comfortable, you can size down in these. I take a 12 in them.

 

The AEO Embroidered Camo Parka ($100) is lovely from the front but you really need to see it from the back to fully appreciate it! The K-Swiss Surf & Turf Sneaker ($65) are an unexpected touch; like many retailers American Eagle is collaborating with more third party brands as well as carrying them to up shopper loyalty. You’ll also see Tretorn and Dolce Vita make appearances in this post.

 

I’m delighted to see the ultimate in preppy in my book — varsity sweaters — back in style. In the 90s I wore these constantly as was the fashion and it’s one of just a few trends I’m happy to revisit. Now, how about a velvet varsity sweater to combine two of my favorite retreads of the season?

 

Aerie has many cute bralettes that make fun layering pieces under tank tops. I was surprised by how well the Lace Grl Power Corset (now $18) holds me being a 34DD; I wouldn’t wear it on its own but I almost could. It’s like a fairly supportive sports bra.

 

You’ll find some undeniably adorable coats at AEO right now too; this Fleece-Lined Hooder Bomber Jacket ($100) above comes in three colors and might be my favorite. I’ve layered a whole bunch in this particular outfit and you could easily discard one of those layers if it’s too much for your personal taste.

If you want a bralette that has thinner straps than the Boho Racerback Bralette (now $18) shown here, try the Romantic Lace Longline Bralette (now $18).

 

Rounding out this fun outfit ideas post is a triple-layered look that’s sure to keep you warm, happy and stylish all Fall long! I’m very much enjoying what American Eagle has to offer — below are my picks from their current assortment. Have you shopped AEO recently?

70 Comments

  1. Shari
    September 29, 2017 / 7:33 am

    My daughter (college age) purchases all of her jeans there as she prefers the short length (she is 5'4") and AEO is one of the few that carry three lengths of jeans. On her shopping sprees (when I generally get my 40% off coupon), I tend to put a few things in the bag myself. For men, their chinos for the price can't be beat. My college age son loves those. For teens/20's who do not take care of their things generally and tend to lose things at friends houses, AE is perfect! My kids also shop at higher end stores (my daughter Anthro, bloomies etc and my son at J crew and Brooks Brothers) but I am glad I can fill a large gap in their wardrobes with AEO. Thanks for posting this as I think sometimes American Eagle does not get the love they deserve!

    • September 29, 2017 / 9:57 am

      Yes! I go back and forth with them myself, sometimes their stuff is wonderful (like right now) and other times their stuff is not as appealing to me. Happy to see lots of stuff ladies of any age can wear now!

      I took one of my guy friends there on a shopping spree after he graduated college a couple of years ago and he got so many great work basics for his first teaching job on a budget. Some of the shirts he got did shrink on him in the wash yet he still has a few of them and loves to wear them to this day.

  2. Simone
    September 29, 2017 / 9:53 am

    I love AE for jewelry because the price is right and the quality is no worse than some of the 50-60 dollar pieces at Anthro and other retailers. I recently tried on a pair of jeans and was impressed, esp for the price. I also really like aerie for colorful and/or lacy underwear and once in a while for a cheapo bra. Oh and pajamas! Both AE and aerie to me are good quality for the price.

    • September 29, 2017 / 10:04 am

      I have bought so many cute ring sets at AEO! Also sunglasses, up until earlier this year a pair of their aviators were my running sunnies. And they don't give me a headache, unlike Anthro's sunnies, which I find super cute but can't wear more than a couple of hours because the lenses don't seem to be set for 20/20 vision.

  3. Nataly
    September 29, 2017 / 9:56 am

    I haven't shopped at AE since I was in college. I need to check out their stuff. It looks so cute!

    • September 29, 2017 / 10:05 am

      Understandable. It's a little disarming walking into the store and being among high schoolers and college chicks all looking at the same clothes as me. But many of my girlfriends wear it beautifully and we're in our 20s and 30s, some in their 40s too. I think it's about picking the right styles — I definitely recommend giving them a look!!

      • cutemama
        September 29, 2017 / 4:19 pm

        I'm a mom in my early 40s with a teenage daughter and we BOTH love American Eagle. They really do have lots of cute stuff!

  4. Anna English
    September 29, 2017 / 10:04 am

    It's been SO long since I shopped here! Love all the cozy knits!

    • September 29, 2017 / 10:33 am

      Agreed! And I think it'd be right up your alley.

  5. JLJKC
    September 29, 2017 / 10:35 am

    How did the velvet flats fit? They only come in 1/2 sizes and I am an 8.5.

    • September 29, 2017 / 11:25 am

      I am a size 9 and found the 9s to be perfect. You could put an insert in if they are too loose!

  6. stylethegirl
    September 29, 2017 / 10:44 am

    Ahhh love all these pieces!!!!!

    • September 29, 2017 / 11:25 am

      😄 Yay! I have similar feelings.

  7. September 29, 2017 / 10:54 am

    I haven’t shopped at AE in a hot second, but looks like I may have to check it out soon! SO many cute pieces!
    xoxo,
    Amy

    • September 29, 2017 / 11:25 am

      I highly encourage that!

  8. September 29, 2017 / 10:56 am

    AEO has seriously stepped it game up this year! I've been loving everything they've put out!

    • September 29, 2017 / 11:26 am

      Agreed, they're one of my shopping secret weapons again.

  9. Anthropolitan
    September 29, 2017 / 11:28 am

    I usually get a few pieces there every year – I haven't been there this fall because I've been spending so much at other stores. The grommet tote is cute!

    • September 29, 2017 / 11:33 am

      Oh yes I totally get that! As always this post is meant to show all the ideas out there, and I know the temptation is always there for me to spend, but playing around like this is sometimes just as good as buying! In this case I did make AEO purchases and I wanted to make this post for community members I know are on a tight budget but still want to look really cute day to day.

      The Grommet Tote *is* really cute, I was impressed with it in real life too! It has a good number of pockets (3 total, though none of them close) and it looks like leather without being the real thing. No rancid smell that polyurethane sometimes has either, that was very impressive to me.

      • Anthropolitan
        September 29, 2017 / 12:52 pm

        The tote even looks like good quality from the online picture. I might get that – I really like olive green.

        I'm enjoying the outfits you've put together. It's just fun to look at clothes! 🙂

        • September 30, 2017 / 9:45 am

          If you do order it let me know what you think! I like it because it has the function of a tote but isn't huge.

  10. Jessica
    September 29, 2017 / 11:44 am

    I LIVE in American Eagle denim! They are so affordable and fit so well!

    • September 29, 2017 / 1:00 pm

      Could not agree more. It's almost head-scratchingly impressive how good their denim is…for hundreds less than the designer brands I also love and can't quit. 😉

  11. Louella Reese
    September 29, 2017 / 12:00 pm

    I haven’t shopped there in years but boy do I want to now! So many great pieces!

    xo Laura Leigh of Louella Reese

    • September 29, 2017 / 1:00 pm

      Many of these items would look fantastic on you!!

  12. September 29, 2017 / 12:08 pm

    one of my favorite places to shop!

    • September 29, 2017 / 1:01 pm

      Ah so you were already clued in then. 😎

  13. September 29, 2017 / 12:33 pm

    I'm soooo excited about all of these picks! Can't decide what I need….or better yet what I don't need!!

    • September 29, 2017 / 1:01 pm

      Ha! I can relate to that feeling big-time.

  14. Rachellelovesruffles
    September 29, 2017 / 1:02 pm

    Ahhhhh need those velvet flats!!!!!!!!! Thanks for link.

  15. September 29, 2017 / 1:30 pm

    Great post! LOVE those velvet flats!

    • September 29, 2017 / 1:39 pm

      OK I think we've found the top hit of this post!

  16. September 29, 2017 / 3:21 pm

    I am loving American Eagle lately! Totally love their cardigans and sweaters! I recently did a big splurge on their site and I keep checking it again for more haha!

    • September 29, 2017 / 4:17 pm

      What I love about AEO is that a splurge on their site doesn't do too much damage to my wallet. It's fun!

  17. Sara
    September 29, 2017 / 7:18 pm

    I just placed an order for me & my teenage daughter. Haven't looked at their site in at least 2 years but there were SO many cute things in this post. Thanks!

    • September 30, 2017 / 9:46 am

      That's great! I think you'll both enjoy everything you receive! Let us know how it works out for you (and what you think about having to care for the items as I know it can be tricky.)

  18. Sara
    September 29, 2017 / 7:25 pm

    Also wondering how you make your outfit collages? You are so good at putting outfits together.

    • September 30, 2017 / 9:47 am

      Aww thank you Sara! I don't know, I just see them when I see all the items? I wish that Anthro and FP took photos of their items like these ones, where it's just the item head-on, no weird angles or anything. Because as of now, they're impossible to work with.

  19. September 29, 2017 / 11:11 pm

    Love all of these looks!! AE has gotten so good lately!

    xoxo brandi

  20. September 29, 2017 / 11:55 pm

    Okay, these pieces are amazing and so chic! I’m going to have to grab a few for myself!!!

    Kileen

    • September 30, 2017 / 9:47 am

      That's how I felt when I saw them!

  21. Christina
    September 30, 2017 / 5:32 am

    Oh, wow, Roxy–I want you to know just how helpful these outfits posts are! I have no problem picking out cute tops and bottoms but then matching them into presentable outfits is a whole other story. Thank you for demystifying the process! These posts enable me to match things that I already have in my closet, and yes–I inevitably end up buying more items! I'm getting the lace tank topping this post, the side-lace cardigan, and I can't wait to try the super soft jeggings.

    • September 30, 2017 / 9:48 am

      Christina I am so glad that you liked this post! It takes forever yet they are some of my favorites to put together!

  22. Shari
    September 30, 2017 / 7:30 am

    It is funny how an outfit post or pairing can sell a store or an outfit. My daughter and I went to the bloomies F&F sale yesterday and she often would chose something I would have never thought she would because of a mannequin and then purchased the entire outfit. A good collage or mannequin display really can do wonders for an item. On a random note, bloomies paired different colors of velvet (red velvet pants, a gray velvet cami and a black velvet jacket together) and it looked great. I have to say I have always loved velvet and have a lot but never thought to wear it in that way and now I do!

    • September 30, 2017 / 9:48 am

      Right? I think having cohesive, appealing outfits makes all the difference. That velvet look sounds really cute!

  23. Carrie
    September 30, 2017 / 7:50 am

    I love AE for their comfy and stretchy denim shorts (I'm 43)! My daughter loves their jeans and clothes as well. I've gotten her some cute tops. You are right though. They do not wash very well. However she needs new clothes most seasons anyway (always growing!), so I'm ok with that because of the prices.

    Have you checked out Abercrombie? I LOVE their rayon flannel (looks, fits, and feels similar to Rails). Their jeans are pretty good quality as well. I'd say their clothing is on par or perhaps one step up from AE.

    • September 30, 2017 / 9:50 am

      Yes it can be very tricky to make their stuff last, some of it just doesn't. But at this price point I have no grand expectations anyway.

      I have been to Abercrombie but to be honest their jeans do not fit me — my legs are way too thick for them, and most of their tops are cut for smaller boobs. Even as a teen I couldn't fit into most of their stuff. Not hourglass friendly in my experience.

  24. Ashley Pletcher
    September 30, 2017 / 9:32 am

    Love AE, especially in the Fall/Winter!

  25. October 1, 2017 / 2:05 am

    I love AE! Such cute stuff!

    • October 2, 2017 / 9:58 am

      They are impressing me for sure!

  26. absolutelyannie
    October 1, 2017 / 7:58 pm

    I'm loving so many of these pieces! I haven't looked at AEO in forever…I need to!

    • October 2, 2017 / 9:58 am

      I felt the same way — like I'd forgotten about them and here they are all cute and lovely, just waiting for us to find them again.

  27. How 2 Wear It
    October 1, 2017 / 8:06 pm

    They have such great jeans and sweaters!

    -Morgan

  28. October 1, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    I've heard so much talk lately about AE. I think they are due for a come back. Their stuff is so cute right now and inexpensive!

    • October 2, 2017 / 9:59 am

      You hit the nail on the head.

  29. Liz
    October 1, 2017 / 10:19 pm

    I love American Eagle! My husband only shops here 🙂

    Liz

    • October 2, 2017 / 10:01 am

      I can understand why. My boyfriend also likes the stuff I bring home from AEO for him — he's also a big Lucky Brand fan for casual/non-work clothing.

  30. October 1, 2017 / 11:35 pm

    oh wow there are so many items I love in your roundup that i'm going to go broke!!! And so many good deals too! Hooray for fall!

    • October 2, 2017 / 10:02 am

      Yay Fall!! The great thing about AEO is I feel like you can buy plenty there without going broke. Happy Shopping!

  31. October 1, 2017 / 11:48 pm

    I haven't shopped at American Eagle in ages, looks like I need to go back and check it out!

  32. Azanique S. Rawl
    October 2, 2017 / 12:48 am

    I need all of these sweaters! So cute

    -xo, Azanique

    • October 2, 2017 / 10:02 am

      Agreed, they are too cute! And they'd look great on you Azanique!

  33. October 29, 2017 / 5:16 pm

    I always love Aerie, but this is making me look back at AEO too!

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