Why Can't We Just Have Normal Shirts Anymore?

So extra.

Outerwear, Sleeve, Jacket,
(Image credit: Getty, design by Monica Park)

What is very weird about fashion right now is that while some people still live in fear of being basic, those among us trying hardest to be cool do so by appropriating the instruments of basic-ness. This can be done by wearing T-shirts from heritage brands like the Gap and Fila, styled to simultaneously transcend their intrinsic historical blandness, because you have to be pretty cool to know about the urinal.

But at the same time, we have another, less labor-intensive way of demonstrating one's extra-ness: renouncing all shirts that don't come sheer, ruffled, printed, embroidered, cropped, ripped, pre-knotted, fringed, off-the-shoulder, underboob-baring, puff-sleeved, EXTREME VOLUMNIZED, with a soup-to-nuts backstory and standard third-row seating, animal-style, extra hot sauce, hold the pickles, please.

Orange, Fashion, Street fashion, Clothing, Shoulder, Yellow, Eyewear, Fashion model, Haute couture, Glasses,

(Image credit: Getty)

Think about it: When was the last time you saw someone in a plain, black or white, non-graphic-printed T-shirt not at the gym nor part of a uniform-dressing program? A) You haven't. B) You have, but it was a dad of the non-cool variety. C) You have, but only because the individual in question chose it as a palate cleanser between channeling Poppy Lissiman and Alessandro Michele's Gucci.

What triggered this mini extinction event surrounding the regular shirt? For starters, there are enough very nice tops with windmill sleeves and parachute shoulders out there to make anybody weep like Daisy Buchanan. For a middler, a shirt with its own pulley system is the wardrobe in the drama of celebrity. But outside of what's new and exciting on the market, there's the sense that, at this particular moment, a run-of-the-mill crewneck is not enough—not when it leans closer to the opposite of the collective feeling, which is to turn to individuality, not anonymity in these End Times. There might also be the sense that we're on deadline, as in, when we could all be vaporized by North Korean nuke next Tuesday, will you have regretted not having tried a denim origami-crane by Marques Almeida or another Hanes from the boys' department?

It could be less than it. It could be more. Either way, maybe we shouldn't be wondering where all the regular shirts have gone—may we should just be out there enjoying every last one we can get our arms into while we still have the chance.

Shop for some friends for the end of the world here.

Clothing, Outerwear, Sleeve, Pattern, Pattern, Robe, Blouse, Jacket, Top, Sweater,

(Image credit: Courtesy, design by Monica Park)

BUY IT: 1. H&M, $50; hm.com. 2. Mango, $50; shop.mango.com. 3. & Other Stories, $60; stories.com. 4. Topshop, $65; topshop.com. 5. Zara, $50; zara.com.

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Chelsea Peng
Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at MarieClaire.com. She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.