There is a really good chance that I am not fashionable at all. As a matter of fact I am pretty sure of it, but I know what is cool and what I think is dumb.
This applies directly to t-shirts. These shirts are primarily worn by men and I will focus most of this on them, but the principles apply to women as well.
The first thing you need to look at when wearing a shirt is whether it is too popular. That’s right, be careful if it’s too popular because it quickly becomes uncool. My rule of thumb is 1-in-10. If everyone gets it you are clearly a sellout, and you can’t think for yourself. That means any shirt that says, “That what she said,” is really uncool. We get it you watch “The Office,” that was cool six years ago. Even still, shirts that say “Dunder Mifflin” can be okay, but don’t go buy one now or else you will be branded a poser for life. One person should like it and the other nine should just not hate it.
If you want an Office shirt you can use people like Creed or Kelly, lesser characters show commitment to a shirt and program.
Next, anything with facial hair is cool. That should just be a general rule for life, but especially for shirts. If you could have a shirt that had a bunch of mustaches on a Ferris Wheel and have “mustache ride” printed on it, that is funny. I think I might make that shirt, don’t steal it.
Superhero shirts are always in. At least until they are out, but for now go nuts. There are a few rules to keep in mind though. Don’t just buy any shirt if you don’t know anything about the person on it. I know people want to be cool with nerd-chic, but at least watch the movie first. And with most t-shirts the older looking the cooler. Pre-faded is a little dorky, but if it is printed with old ink made to look like a worn out comic its okay.
Last, get something you like that most don’t care about. I have a “Galaga” shirt that has become vintage. No one knows about the game anymore, but I love the game and I wear it as a proud old-school nerd. If you love original “Mortal Kombat” get a shirt with Johnny Cage doing the splits, or if you’re a fan of “Tetris” fan get a shirt that says, “not another L-block.” There may be no shirts like that, but you can apply this with any shirt.
Dig deep, on that subject a “Dig Dug” shirt with him that says “Life’s a garden dig it” would be awesome. “Joe Dirt” and “Dig Dug,” amazing. But the point is that you need to look past the obvious and find what you love about whatever you want to present.
A few quick don’ts. Don’t wear a shirt “ironically” unless it is clearly ironic, people aren’t smart enough to figure these things out unless it’s very plain. As Troy said in “Community,” “There was a time and a place for subtlety, and that was before scary movie.” Don’t wear a shirt that people need to read unless you really want someone staring at your chest. This is a very woman relevant tip, sorry, but if you give men a reason to look at it, they will take their sweet time, be careful. Don’t wear a band shirt unless you bought the shirt at the concert. Hot Topic isn’t a replacement. Pay the extra money and get their shirt, don’t buy a knock off.
If you follow these tips, and a few more that you will learn over time, you can be cool; if not, be prepared for eye-rolls and people saying poser under their breath. And yes, poser, cool and dorky are very 1997, but that’s what makes shirts cool, deal with it.