In 2008, 17-year-old Samantha Elauf interviewed to become a sales model in an Abercrombie & Fitch store. Although she was qualified for the job, she wasn’t hired specifically because she wears a headscarf in observance of her Muslim faith, which violates the company’s no-hats-allowed employee dress code.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing the preppy retailer on Elauf’s behalf, and the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the discrimination case yesterday. Their verdict will decide whether employers or applicants are responsible for requesting religious exemptions.
Even when it isn’t actively breaking the law, Abercrombie has recently achieved notoriety thanks to body-shaming ex-CEO Mike Jeffries — who resembles both the Hulk and Gary Busey, yet fails to match the charm of either — and his very specific ideas about employee appearance and attire. In 2013, BuzzFeed obtained a copy of the company’s stringent “look policy,” which is chock-full of mind-numbing details like these:
“Clothing should also be consistent with the season (e.g., a heavy wool turtleneck sweater should not be worn in 90 degree heat).”
The same rule apparently does not apply to wearing flip-flops and no shirt in a 68-degree mall.
“The shape of the earring must be in good taste.”
You heard me: No dick-shaped earrings. We’re not having this conversation again, Karen.
“Lipstick should be very natural in color and applied to compliment [sic] the associate’s appearance.”
If your lipstick isn’t a sentient being that regularly tells you how pretty you’re looking today, you’re fired.
Though the Supreme Court ruling in her favor certainly wouldn’t hurt, it appears that Elauf’s story already has a happy ending. Today, she’s a fashion blogger and merchandising manager at an Urban Outfitters (a teen-targeted clothing chain that isn’t above reproach itself, but still!) in Oklahoma. She also boasts more than 9,000 followers on Instagram, not including you, which is dumb, so go rectify that.
Her personal style is insanely cute, possibly because her wardrobe couldn’t look any less like it came from Abercrombie & Fitch. Here are some of our favorite shots — you keep on living your best life, Samantha.