don't look back

The Statement T-Shirt and I

London Fashion Week is over but unlike most bloggers, it barely registered on my radar. All that I’ve noticed is there’s a trend for mustard yellow. As much as I love to see that shade smeared on the side of a roast dinner, I can’t bring myself to wear it – not again, anyway. “Banana Girl” flares, much adored by my fifteen year old self, were the subject of much abuse and mockery (including a bizarre French fry throwing incident at Thorpe Park). Although I loathe being conformist, I’ve grown to realise that sometimes making a point with fashion is simply not worth the hassle. Although you won’t see me modelling mustard any time again soon, the rest of London Fashion Week’s colour palette probably will dictate my Autumn/Winter wardrobe even if I don’t take any notice of it now. However, there is one clothing item I can never resist making a statement with – the slogan t-shirt. I don’t care if the “experts” say wearing words is “in” or not because whether rocking golden bell-bottoms or black skinnies, I’ve always had a thing for clothing with a message.

The wearable mantra may not be as popular as it was in its ‘80s glory days but its many revivals have seen it evolve from Katharine Hamnett’s iconic “Choose Life” to the high street’s “Find Your Happy Place”. The fact that I’m wearing that very t-shirt in the profile picture you see to your right is not a coincidence. I deliberately picked it out of my wardrobe for its inspirational purpose, much to the disdain of others. One of my closest friends even temporarily boycotted my blog because the cheeriness of my crop top was too cringe-inducing to handle. Despite the jokes, most friends are used to the motivational mottos slapped across my chest but why I like wearing them is to offer those who don’t know me an insight. It’s terribly vain I know and I’m sure nobody pays as much attention as I like to think they do but just like the 15-year old with her mustard flares and band t-shirts that screamed “Look! I’m different!” (ironically while looking exactly the same as everyone else), I now like to wear things that shout “Hello! I’m a positive sorted proper grown-up!” (while knowing that it was my Mum who ironed it).

My trademark statement piece is a blue jumper that reads “Worrying solves nothing. Believe in you” arranged around a central triangle. It’s classic Tumblr illuminati inspiration – I love it. Other gems include the paint-splattered “Be Yourself” t-shirt with the “You” shown in bolder strokes as if it’s reaching out to the viewer as well as the wearer (I may be overanalysing this…), the “Don’t Look Back, You’re Not Going That Way” sweater that is worn whenever my day is dogged by sentimentality, and the much-missed but sadly torn top that read “Things I Want To Remember: That Life Is A Gift”. Some of the sayings I own are so corny even I begin to gag when I see them but when I wear them, I feel like I have a sign around my neck that is telling everybody that I’m ready to face the world. It’s not too dissimilar to the good old days of MSN messenger when we put song lyrics in our display name to hint at which classmate we had a crush on. The main difference though is that it’s no longer about cryptic clues but about public statements – and I’m ok with that. Because I can’t march the streets with a megaphone telling everyone how my day is, I do it through the medium of the t-shirt.

So the next time you see somebody wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with “Life Goes On”, have a little think about why they’re wearing it because they might be making an in-depth emotional declaration to the world and hoping to spread the word. Or they might just have liked the colours. Not everyone takes their slogan choices as seriously as me – thank goodness!

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