Clothes make the man?

shirtThere’s a great webcomic I came across the other day in which an introverted young man buys a t-shirt. The shirt features a large slogan, and the man has to talk himself into it as it would make him stand out, and that’s not normally something he likes. After much deliberation, he buys the shirt, but in the final panel, he puts it in his closet, along with a number of other similar shirts, and concedes that he’ll probably never wear it.

I’ve found myself in a similar position many times before. I love browsing etsy, RedBubble and other such sites filled with great creations by independent artists, and my mouse more often than not wanders over to the t-shirts section. I look through the offerings, but no matter how much I love a shirt, if I deem it ‘too loud’ or ‘too attention-grabbing’ I leave the page and don’t buy it. Good for my wallet, not so good for my self-esteem.

I’ve decided to try and change this though. I’ve been using the gym recently and have lost a bit of weight, with more coming off every week. This means I’m more comfortable with my overall body image and am looking for new clothes. Or, to be more specific, different clothes. Before, I would have opted for the safe options and muted tones. I still wear those, of course, but I want to try and mix things up. Draw a little more attention to myself.

The first step began at this year’s Star Wars Celebration, where I picked up the rather lovely Bantha Raglan t-shirt, and continued with acquisitions of Stranger Things and Close Encounters of the Third Kind shirts. The former is something to wear in the gym and the latter a big step forward because I bought it in red – a loud colour that won’t blend in anywhere. These shirts are subtler than many others, but they’re still making statements and will stand out in a crowd.

Along with Spielberg and Spielberg-referencing TV phenomenons, I’m also a big Disney fan and picked up a very awesome Big Thunder Mountain shirt off Redbubble. I’m going to follow this up with a few more. Disney has always been something I adore, but that I’m not wholly comfortable admitting I enjoy to random people. There’s a general consensus than Disney’s for kids (which it is) or just for women (which it isn’t). Being a man who loves Disney and has some Disney Princess merchandise feels somehow… I dunno. Not masculine? (I’m going to write about this at a later date).

But screw that! Disney have just released some amazing retro Walt Disney World t-shirts on their online shop, and I’m going to get at least one of those, and I’ve found some awesome offerings on the Society6 store of designer Rob Yeo. Again, these t-shirts aren’t especially loud, but they’re a step in the right direction, and a to the right people, they might grab a bit of attention and maybe even start a conversation. Which is what this whole thing is about really: summoning the courage to chat with like-minded people. Hopefully it’ll work.

What do you think about shyness and using clothes to boost it? Let me know!


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