My Sartorial Life 001

vintage shirtsI found myself layering my dad’s shirt with my granddad’s cardigan the other day. Not only was it itchy and garish but I was wearing the dusty clothes of aged men. It just sounds wrong. However, the shirt in particular has become a key item of mine. I’ve worn it frequently this week around the house, to the shops, and even on a night out in town.

The shirt – over twenty years old, a dark chambray, collarless and very much over-sized – is plain and retro. We first met not long ago when, having ironed my very own denim shirt, my dad came into my room to offer up his own. It was about to be consigned to the big plastic bin bag of charity donation. At first I was sceptical, thinking it would be yet another one of those vintage items that you take on in good faith only to realise that it really is second-hand for a reason. However, this shirt has literally revolutionised the way I see a multi-functional garment. It can be worn almost completely by itself – negating the need for any additional form of clothing. Yet I can also button it up, roll up the sleeves and wear it with a belt over leggings or with a skirt. The possibilities are endless.

This basic old shirt may be seen as too shapeless and masculine but I think many girls enjoy the freedom and style of over-sized clothing. Is there a stigma attached to cross-dressing of this kind? If so, where does it come from? Girls shouldn’t feel pressured to conform to styles which encourage a regimented sexiness we may not always feel every day. Tight and dressy clothes are not only impractical for much of college life but negate the desire to be an individual rather than merely another girl. We shouldn’t just be defined by our gender but by other qualities as well. Perhaps a garment which is comfortable, comforting and relaxed can remind us of this and so shouldn’t be so hastily disregarded. Does it make you feel free and liberated or dowdy and ugly? Do we even care? It’s just about trying something different. It’s just an old shirt, but what’s more, it’s my dad’s.

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