Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Ripped Tee Shirt

Photo from JakandJil

Who would pay for a ripped tee shirt?  Lets face it we all probably have one lurking somewhere in the closet and it probably got that way without having to pay a hefty Balmain price tag for it.  Think combination of age, moths and catching on sharp objects rather than artful placement by Christophe Decarnin and team.  Want to give a formal jacket an edge?  Or imbue some rock and roll into a basic but otherwise boring blazer?  Here's a good way to do it - combine with a ripped up tee.  But having said that your old rag probably doesn't quite do the trick either - see above pic of Emmanuele working the look for the effect I'm thinking of.  Notice it seems to be equally battered as it is pristine white and luxuriously soft. 

Balmain's version of a ripped tee must be sending every fashionista running for their local army surplus store to pick up one in authentic army green in order to reproduce this trend at home for a fraction of the cost.  Quite right too - with all due respect I am sure there are better ways to spend £860 than on this.

Image from Net-a-Porter

While I'm not a fan of army colours like khaki, I do like the rock and roll feel of a ripped tee in either straight up black or white and one like Emmanuele's has been on my shopping list for a while.

Topshop obviously has its style advisers on the ball having produced this near lookalike to Emmanuele's tee copied down to the smiley slash along the neckline.  For me it's close but no cigar.  Its cropped cut makes it suitable for teenagers with washboard stomachs only.  More crucially the holes are a little too regular in size; the edges are too clean, hinting at the mass produced stamping process that was no doubt employed in production - which all combines to make it look a bit contrived.  There is a fine line between looking like a slice of Swiss cheese and a tee shirt.

Image from Polyvore

Herein lies the great irony of grunge trends - you want something that looks like you picked it up after hours of trawling through a vintage store or market, a one of a kind garment that has lived a few exciting lives before reaching you, a piece with history and a story to tell - not something trussed out with an identikit pattern.  If you aren't able or willing to spend the time on this kind of hunt for authenticity but don't want to be seen in the very same tee every teenager in London will be sporting this summer what option do you have?  You have to cough up truckloads for the design of something only a privileged few can afford and which you feel you could achieve with a pair of scissors, which subsequently generates outrage at the price of designed vintage.  It is a vicious circle.

The question begs as to why I haven't made one myself.  I actually spend a great deal of time in old tees customised with scissors but nicks and holes suggestive of natural wear and tear are hard to fake well  (puncture jersey with a pair of scissors you'll see what I mean).  By the time I wait for my new white tees to decay to the state of Emannuele's they will probably be yellow with age and the ripped tee may or may not have came back round to grace fashion.

While I wait for time to rework new tees into vintage ones I have found a reasonable compromise in this black ripped tee shirt for six euros in the Spanish high street chain Pull and Bear.  It has just a few well placed rips with gritty edges on one shoulder, so it looks less like someone took to it with a machine gun and more like someone randomly stubbed a cigarette out on it.  Plus it is a decent length.  The semi sheer fabric has a subtle devore animal print and the diamante trim on the shoulders adds a touch of glamour to offset the grunginess of the holes.

While I wax lyrical about a few holes in a tee shirt you can't expect everyone to get grunge. I wore this out last night to a local gig with my boyfriend with bleached grey skinny jeans and a strong shouldered single breasted black jacket. When we got home he asked me in a slightly concerned voice if I had realised that my tee shirt had some holes and that it looked like moths had been at it!

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