Monday, 10 May 2010

'Fashion Of Terror, Terror Of Fashion' t-shirt

I love statistics. I love making up statistics. That old joke - 33.5% of all statistics are made up on the spot? That's just the kind of lolly-stick joke mentality I relate to. With that in mind:

Get me 100 women with a t-shirt fetish in a room and I guarantee 75 of them were chubby teenagers. That's science based on an opinion I just invented. Here's the dirty part: Part of me believes this.

Slogan and cartoon motif t-shirts, the curio across your chest, preferably predominately black and most definitely oversized, was my uniform until I was around 17. It makes perfect sense for the cerebral fat girl: don't look at me, don't look at my body, look at what I like. I had a panoply of allegiances: 'South Park' (season one, old skool, pre-libertarianism), vintage Ren & Stimpy, Beavis & Butthead...if it was a vaguely alternative 90s US cartoon then I guarantee you its principal cast camouflaged my breasts.

The idea, which barely surfaced from my unconscious most of the time, was to start conversations, to draw like-minded people to me, without doing any of the starter-socialising that is the terror of the painfully shy.

This need to be both invisible and constantly, intractably seen sort of mutated as I got older. I gradually broadened my outlook from TV nerd to fashion and film nerd. I embraced the Vogue, and my outfits got body conscious and, inevitably late-90s weird.

It was pretty much this down the college disco.
Rest assured, I was never the Isabella Rossellini figure.

My love of the t-shirt never died however, it just took on new mutated forms. I never embraced cute: my tastes were strictly dinosaur, movie and poorly punctuated slogan-based. I have a special fetish for tough talking slogans that actually make no sense. I have a special green La Redoute (French catalogue of les dreams) number which proclaims in fuzzy pink lettering: "I'm Soft Grey Addict." Oh yes - take away my muted neutrals and I'm a broken woman, crying and vibrating in a public lavatory. Zara is especially good for the pseudo-sexy Eurotrash come-on slogans that actually make you sound like one of those men that pose as Russian HoTT Babesz on Twitter. There is a kind of art to that.

That's why you'll see a lot of t-shirts being auctioned in the upcoming weeks. I have quite the prodigious collection, some of which are 100% cotton and 100% with me for the long haul - I have a decade-old Iron Giant grey marl tee that I sincerely hope to be buried in. But I have also been through a lot of changes recently - I've lost a lot of weight, become a bit bigger and braver and for the first time I'm beginning to actually become the person I wanted to be when I was at uni, and young and ill and scared. The wordplay of 'Fashion Of Terror, Terror Of Fashion' pretty much makes no sense to me now. In honesty, I'm surprised it ever did.

So the big Oprah sum-up for today is: I'm getting pretty good at speaking for myself - I'm ready to let my tits go silent for a while. Unless, y'know, I ever get the opportunity to be With Stupid or to the immediate left of Stupid.

I'm not made of stone.


  1. I too used to wear shirts with stuff on them, a lot of them revolved around sayings from "Clueless." I even had a shirt that said "Just face it, I'm better than you." I was 11 and a new kid, I thought it was funny. Many people didn't.

  2. Sweetmaris, those eleven year olds were weak. Boob-based irony is on the vanguard when you're a preteen.

    Also -- hi! and yay!