Woah, put your pitchforks down people. Before I start my little rant here, let me say that wearing t shirts or not is 100% your choice. Wearing t shirts does not make anyone “less fashionable” than I, nor does me not wearing t shirts make me in anyway inherently superior. Also, many t shirts are very cute and I will be referring mostly to a specific type of t shirt in this post.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m starting college. I recently finished up my orientation and what prompted this post was the free t shirt that was given to all of us incoming freshmen. Ah yes, the Free T-shirt, the first of my college career and I know it certainly won’t be the last.
The thing that really gets me though, is not the style or fit of this shirt (although that’s definitely part of it, more on that later), it is that we are supposed to wear this t shirt to our convocation in the fall. As explained by my academic advisor, convocation is like graduation but it’s a welcome instead of a farewell. It’s just as special, there will be speakers, including the university president, and faculty will be in full regalia.
Yes, full regalia.
And we’re all supposed to be wearing t shirts. It doesn’t make sense to me.
Going to and graduating from a private school, there was a very strict dress code that had to be followed, especially during the closing program and the graduation ceremony (these were 2 separate events). My school had such a stick up their ass about the dress code that they could and would punish you for not wearing the right dress code.
No tie or belt for the boys? Detention. Summertime be damned darned. (We don’t swear at a Christian school.) Skirt too short for the girls? We’re sending you home to change. Wearing a polo instead of a button up? You’re not walking during graduation.
I honestly don’t want to wear a t shirt to convocation; I’d rather dress up a bit and wear a dress or skirt. But you can see why I’m hesitant to do so. I doubt the university will punish me for it and it would be easy to say I lost it over the summer and during my family’s move. If I do wear a dress, I won’t be stupid. The shirt is black so I’ll pick a black dress so I’ll blend in. Still, I am hesitant.
The other thing about t shirts, especially the group ordered, free kind is that they really just suck. The Free T-shirt is abysmal. Here are 4 reasons why I hate the Free T shirt.
1. The Style
The style of these shirts is always “unisex”- boxy, straight cut down the sides. The free t shirt is never cut for the feminine form, there is never any gentle slope inwards at the waist, let alone the good, tight fit I prefer. Also, the collar is always a high crew neck which feels as though it’s chocking me and, IMO, having 100% of my décolletage covered is not a good look on me. I don’t know how to describe it other than frumpy, and even that word doesn’t fit as well as I’d like.
For me, I feel that at least my collarbone should come out and say hi to the world unless I’m intentionally wearing a turtleneck. I think the issue is that the higher the neckline, the lower the bust-line appears to be. No one wants to create the illusion of saggy boobs.
2. The Sizing & Fit
“Unisex” sizing for shirts pretty much always mean they will fit best on a classically male body shape and the sizing is not women’s sizing.
I usually order a small or XS when I know the group is getting t shirts. This still does not give me the flattering fit I am looking for. The neckline becomes smaller, exacerbating the choking feeling I mentioned in point 1. The hem of the shirt becomes tighter and refuses to accommodate my hips, the only option then being to wear the hem of the shirt at the tippy top of my waist band, giving the shirt a “puffy” look since it won’t lay flush against my body- not cute. And don’t even get me started on the sleeves! They are always too long and they never hug my arms correctly; they end up looking like Hoover flags but for my arms.
I hate when shirt sleeves are too long like this and aren’t fitted to my arms. They end up just flopping around and it feels weird to me. Yes, I could roll them up but having a thick wad of material under my armpits is not comfortable either.
3. The Material
Think of your favorite t shirt. I’m willing to bet that it’s made of a soft, knit jersey or modal fabric. It is probably light weight and has a good amount of stretch but not at all paper thin. Now think of the normal Free T-shirt material. Yes, it is 100% Cotton but it’s most likely heavyweight and scratchy with very little stretch compared to your favorite, super soft T-shirt. The material of the Free T-shirt compounds the issues of point 2. Since the material lacks sufficient stretch, ordering down a size won’t help any.
On the off chance that the material is not a heavyweight cotton, it’s probably a polyester, sweat wicking, “exercising” material that’s from an athletic club or a race you participated in. Keeping these shirts for exercise is up to you but that doesn’t change the fact that they still probably came in a boxy crew neck style and don’t fit correctly for a feminine shape.
Personally, if I’m going to the gym, I wanna look at least somewhat cute and a nice outfit is how I compensate for lack of makeup and messy hair. The free exercise type of T-shirt does not help my cause here.
4. The Fact That It’s Free
I know it’s totally #firstworldprobs to complain about free stuff but hear me out. The fact that it’s free creates an expectation within yourself to wear and keep it. Sure you may have to wear it at least once to your event but after that I start to think to myself, “I guess I’ll keep it, it was free!” The same thing happens when people give out free stuff at college or conferences. I also got a lot of free stuff at college like sunglasses, pens, bracelets, a drawstring bag, notebooks, etc. I don’t need any of this stuff and it’s just junk and clutter to me; it will end up in my donation box or in the recycling bin. And when it comes to free stuff, any hesitation to accept the “gift” you’re being given is usually met with, Are you sure you don’t want it? It’s free!
As the Great Closet Clean-out continues, t shirts are the last thing I’ve been hanging on to. I’ve given away my only pair of jeans (don’t choke when you gasp, now) and the only reason I hang on to my t shirts is because I use them as pajamas. I have to wear a clean shirt every night or I’ll get bacne. Cute, comfy, and affordable pajamas are hard to come by (I’m very picky) so for a while, the t shirts remained.
Thankfully I’ve found some super cute and comfy pajama sets at JCPenney and a couple of lace-y full slips so most of my t shirts can be given away now.
JCPenney Liz Claiborne Pajama Sets
Gossard Lace Full Slip
The rest, which have sentimental value (like the one I tie dyed with my 10th grade chemistry class) will go into my archives (my mother has a box for each of us kids of all the sentimental stuff we don’t need but keep because the feels are too strong).
I’m so happy to be putting all my Free T-shirt’s in the donation box today. I don’t believe T-shirt’s in general fit with the personal style I want to have even though many T-shirts can be very cute (I have this super cute one from Express that is a t shirt on the bottom but with sheer material across the décolletage, all the way around the upper back and for the sleeves; it’s more of a blouse than a bona fide t shirt though).
Now the only problem is trying to survive college without the dreaded Free T-shirts creeping their way back into my closet.