denim shirts

10 Aug

One of the benefits of fashion’s lack of new ideas is the comforting knowledge that any article of clothing, no matter how horribly demode it seems now, will become insanely stylish again within fifteen years, and if you just keep wearing the least fashionable clothes you own, you will eventually be revered as a trendsetter. No, wait, I take it back. This is the worst thing about fashion. The fashion industry has this really good thing going where they convince us certain things are out of style. Then, after they are sure that every last person on Earth has donated their uncool clothes to Goodwill, they convince us that those same clothes are back in style so that they can sell them to us again.

I sound like a crazy person, but like all crazy people, I know I’m right. My proof? The denim shirt.

this is unflattering on the model. imagine how you would look.

I remember begging my parents to buy me a denim shirt fifteen years ago. Mine was long, medium blue, with a Nehru collar, wooden buttons, and a curved hem. I wore it over leggings with brown lipstick that matched the buttons. I thought I looked pretty hot. I didn’t, because I was twelve, and because I was painfully gawky, and because the lipstick just drew attention to my giant, brace-filled mouth.

I got my second denim shirt a few years later. This one was a lighter chambray color, with short sleeves, pearl snaps, and a bit of stretch. I wore it with combat boots, a plaid skirt, and too much eyeliner. I thought I looked even hotter, because this shirt magically made me look like I had breasts, even though I didn’t until I was about 21.

Sometime between 1998 and now, these shirts became disgusting to me. In my late teens, I would see them in a drawer while digging for a silver miniskirt or a David Bowie tee and be ashamed of how uncool I used to be.


Now, denim shirts, along with many other styles I wore during my awkwardest years, are back.

I am told that these folks are celebrities

I refuse to buy another one, and I urge my loved ones to stay away as well. Here’s why: you see photos like this one below, and you are fooled into thinking that this is an accurate representation of what a person in a denim shirt looks like.

you will not look like this.

THIS is what a person in a denim shirt looks like:

this woman is so ashamed of her horrible shirt that she is attempting to leave the frame

I realize that Althea will probably show up looking amazing in a denim shirt right after I post this, just like she did with clogs, but she is the eternal exception to every fashion rule. She has superhuman powers to wear anything at all and be the most stylish person in the room. This doesn’t make it okay for the rest of us to wear denim shirts. Maybe I’m just pissed that I let myself be convinced that denim shirts were lame, only to have them reappear as something considered a classic. But I brought those once-cherished shirts to Goodwill a decade ago, and I refuse to regret it.

see how sad she looks? it's because she's wearing an ugly shirt

10 Responses to “denim shirts”

  1. sheffield @ August 11, 2010 at 11:42 am #

    I’m confused about your aversion to these shirts. Is it because you don’t like denim? You don’t like collared shirts that button down the front? Is it the light wash? I personally thought most of these people looked chic in the pics you posted. Well all except the pics you took from the Land’s End or LL Bean catalog, but no one in that catalog looks stylish, and it isn’t because of the denim shirt. I think denim shirts are effortless and easy to wear. Great for wearing open layered over something, buttoned up over shorts, or tucked into a skirt. And perfect for those “fat days” all of us girls have.

    • Kate August 11, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

      My distaste for these shirts stems in part from my reluctance to rebuy an article of clothing that I got sick of years ago. I have a few articles of clothing from third grade that I still wear (don’t be alarmed, oversize shirts were “big” then). Because I’m such a packrat, I feel that anything I didn’t hold onto must be something I didn’t really love. If I purchased a denim shirt now, it would just be because they’re trendy, and if it were really my style, I would have grabbed one at Goodwill before they came back in fashion again. I love jeans, and I love collared button-downs, but I feel like denim shirts are an unholy union of these things. Any time someone in a denim shirt looks good, I think about how much better they would look if they were wearing a jean jacket or a button-down made of any other fabric. And I can’t speak for all women, but I think “fat days” are a made up thing. If you’re fat, you’re fat every day, and a denim shirt is not gonna fool anyone into thinking you’re not, so you should just wear whatever the fuck you want instead of hiding your body.

      EDIT: For example, every day I am too fat to wear this adorable shirt from your website, which is a shame because it’s lovely.

  2. Derek August 11, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    You just can’t bear the thought that Oscar will soon become more of a fashion icon than you.

    • Kate August 12, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

      Mike laughed out loud at that. Okay, Oscar can be another exception, but the only denim shirt I ever saw him wear was a dark-rinse, jacket-like thing. It’s totally creepy that I notice these things.

  3. mandy August 12, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    Kate, I loved this post so much.

    • Kate August 12, 2010 at 7:34 pm #

      Aw thanks Mandy! I’m psyched to hear it!

  4. Mouserat August 12, 2010 at 11:57 pm #

    okay, I totally thought you made this post as a joke to freak me out because (no joke) I bought a new chambray shirt last week when I was in freeport with my mom. if you had stayed longer at that show last night you would have seen it worn open over a gauzy tee, bandage mini and high-heeled clogs. you probably would have assumed i was staging some kind of revolt against your blog. I swear I’m not (even though I’m planning on wearing it with dark jeans tomorrow). forgive me!

  5. kate August 13, 2010 at 3:39 pm #

    wait, is your boyfriend’s name mike too?? we might be the same person. 2 kate ‘n’ mikes in portland! we must hang out just for the sheer ridiculous factor. anyway, denim shirts are fugly, although that celebrity on the left looks hot in hers. might be the leather pants though…

    • Kate August 14, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

      Man I wish I had leather pants. We need to see how many Kates and Mikes we can get together at once!


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