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Tuesday 5 May 2015

Would you wear swear words?

Do you remember this dress - I mean these dresses? I frankened two Desigual dresses (gifts from Ariane) into one maxi I call "Teacup" (here). I adore Desigual's colours and patterns so much I can live with their occasional sweet text, such as "Happy", despite my knee-jerk reaction, "Kiss my...." Which brings me to another topic - swearing on clothing: is that any worse than pushing a Stepford vibe? Think about it: how many men's shirts do you see with Happy?

For clothing that speaks my language check out Lyn Slater (Accidental Icon) as she appears in a Grey Magazine editorial shot by Ari Seth Cohen, which he posted on Advanced Style here. Maybe you've seen it already. Scroll down and look for the sequins. You'll know the one I mean. (And given that the piece costs US$1,050, I would amend the text to indicate things are comparatively worse.)
Bag and a Beret, Desigual maxi
Turnip Head fills in for my own head.
Outfit details: 2-in-1 Desigual "Teacup" maxi, vintage mint-green bolero jacket, mantis DIY pendant (Liz Claiborne Christmas ornament with bug), whale airship pendant, magic loupe, black tights, geta-ish sandals. 

When I wore this out for the first time, I got these comments: Love your jacket, Great pattern, Love your pendant, Love your colour; even, Love your shoes. Upon reflection, one comment was conspicuously absence: Love your dress! Haha. I have an over-abundance of that sentiment myself not to feel the absence too keenly. I am still Happy (rassen frassen succotash).
click to enlarge
Teacup's fetching wide thigh architecture will ensure plenty of wear. Next time I'll try the dress with my fringed platform booties to avoid the plank-foot effect.
Bag and a Beret, Kobayashi journal sketch
Journal sketch from January. I had just bought a lovely non-text pailette top.
Despite my bravado, I probably wouldn't publicly wear a garment with curse words or potty words on it, except for "pissed off," which is a ubiquitous term for angry; except, if I were gifted such a $1,050 Ashish sequin top, yeah, I would wear it (here too, but I think it looks best on women +50). It would be rude not to. But I wouldn't wear the statement on cotton - that would be tawdry (heh) - or even on a sequin baseball cap. However, I saw a man the other day with a "Go f*ck your selfie" cotton T-shirt and laughed. 

When I do wear text on a T-shirt, it's usually a DIY by me or a friend. But a corporation, a  big brand, churning out masses of happy garments with happy writing and happy logos from their Orwellian happy factories to make women happy?
You want me to be Happy? Show me a kitty. 

I don't get pissed off if I see a woman wearing happy text unless her eyes are glazed over, she's holding out a tray of freshly-baked cookies as she jerk-stop bridal walks down the sidewalk, has sparks coming out of her ears, and there's a happy man with crumbs on his face and a remote control behind her. Fecker.
Bag and a Beret, Teacup maxi made from 2 Desigual dresses
What say you? Are you a happy-shirt or curse-word-shirt person? Should more men's shirts feature words like Happy, Beauty, Joy (Nausea, Gagging, Retching)? 


  1. Hellooooooooooo!!! Ha, that dress makes me laugh! I love the top bit- not so sure I like it being all in one like a Diddyman- too hard to go to the loo!!!
    I am definitely a nice logo person rather than a rude one although I had a fantastic Toby Mott t-shirt in 2000 that said 'I hate work' 10 times on it. Twas appropriate as I worked in a hotel switchboard and wore a pea green synthetic uniform xx

  2. mwahaha, if I need a Happy t-shirt, I'll make it by myself! (using my own concept of happiness, indeed!)
    But I can enjoy a good joke on a t-shirt!
    And I love your dress, so fabulous prints and graphic designs!, gorgeous, and absolutely genuine!

  3. Hell yeah, I'd wear a swear shirt (not really, I am far too polite). But I will give serious side-eye to any HAPPY tee shirt. I will. Love, love your outfit and cartoon. xox

  4. If there is an inscription on the tee I'm wearing, it is one I made myself. I have textile paints at home so writing something down is almost too easy...but I don't do it often.

    I did, however, wear a protest tee when I attended my BA graduation. I protested against the firing of one University professor and she got her job back shortly. It wasn't entirely due to me, but my tee did cause quite a scandal and it was the fist step. I can't remember exactly what I wrote, sth along the lines 'Today Iva, tomorrow us!'...Now that I think of it, I'm glad I did it...too bad there wasn't anything to protest about when it came to my M.A graduation;) If I sell my kidneys to pay the expenses, perhaps there will be a PhD graduation someday that I can protest on.

    I'm not really a fan of swear shirts because to me they feel like trying too hard but I don't like overly happy ones either. I think swearing is almost an art..and when it is overused it loses with writers who use the f*** word too much, it becomes just a symptom of somebody's lack of inspiration.

    Inspiration is not something you're lacking...this fabulous outfit is quite inspiring:) I love the print on that dress...and the illustration is lovely!

  5. I got confused because I've just had two bowls of homemade yellow chicken curry with two glasses of white wine... But, I'd like to definitively say that if someone wants to give me the sequin blouse the Advanced Style lady has I'll take it!

  6. That outfit is a work of art, both on your real self and your cartoon self. A pithy swearword or two wouldn't hurt either...

  7. I'm with you and Ivana above - if I ever wear anything with a message on I'm likely to have scribbled it myself or it's something that's been made for me.
    But I love the idea of some subversive bits of sloganeering - can we add a couple of old/forgotten english words to the list? Begrumpled (means sad), Blatteroon (a senseless boaster), Fratchley (irritable) and Ramfeezled (exhausted).
    Brilliant to see the Teacup out and about too.

  8. The punk in me loves text on clothes...depending what it is. I puke at all that positive thinking drivel around - hate those aspirational slogans in home decoration too. There is something so sinister about it all. Double think anyone? A friend of mine knits hilarious slogans - you would like her stuff and does paintings of them too. I love her "love cures F#*K all vest and her "rags to riches" scarf.

  9. Haha! I don't have words on my clothes, unless I put them there myself obviously! I've seen a few self-made "poetry" dresses where the maker has scribed poetry in beautiful script all over and you have to search for the one or two F words that are scattered faux-innocently in amongst the more flowery language... that always gives me a laugh too! and I'm tempted to copy the idea for myself! Also thought about copying some particularly cliched and steamy mills and boon text in the same manner on fabric and making it into a dress. D'ya think anyone would notice?!


  10. I love it when I post an outfit and someone comments on my cat or the plant in the pot behind me.
    I quite like the anti-capitalist tee shirts with slogans like McShit or Fuct but nah, I'm not really one for words or even tee shirts.
    I'm with Sister Outlaws, too. I hate those aspirational slogans in home decor and even worse, the ones people insist on posting on social media. xxxx

  11. You are one of the few people who has readers, whose comments I read as well as your post. Almost always original and funny.
    The dress: for sure I have said that I liked the dress. And much more than when they were the original two. I like the shape you created. The little jacket goes well with it.
    And I am looking for a T with text for a long time now. Not easy. I want very good quality and a neckline which suits me. And... a text with clever wit. I rather have clever wit than swearwords or "happy" (brrrrr). But I would most certainly wear that expensive sequin top.
    Beautiful illustrations Melanie. You are above all, an artist.

  12. I used to wear slogan teeshirts back when I wore band tees (often the two went together) but once I got past my early 20s I stopped; I find them kind of obnoxious now. I do still have a few little slogan badges, they can be quite fun to accessorise with, without being so confrontationally IN YER FACE.

    Loving the sketchbook peeks as always!

  13. I couldn't make it past the $1050 USD. That's like my wardrobe budget for like ten years! Wowza.

  14. Love your frankendress! I never wear slogans...or any pre-printed tees, they drive me up the wall. But will wear stuff painted or whatever by myself.

  15. If it makes me laugh, I'll wear it. If only as pyjamas. Thank you for channeling Sylvester. And I agree, totally, about the kitty. Baby baboons do it for me.

    I love your art.

  16. I'm one of the few people here that don't mind swearing on their boobs. I guess I'm trashy like that.

    I think that the vast majority of swear words have lost their punch. Used to be when I was a kid you'd get your mouth washed out with soap if you even said "Damn". Now though you can turn on any TV station or radio even and hear swear words being thrown around like rice at a wedding. No one cares anymore. It is mainstream. Half the time people don't even register that it is a swear word.

    I wear my Badass blogger tee...lots of people would consider that a swear word. Heck I'd even wear a "happy" tee. Even one of those minion tees from Disney! I quite like slogan tees. Most days when I'm at home I'm wearing a tee and jeans. Today I'm wearing a tee from Universal Studios that has the pug from Men in Black on it. I'm a sucker for anything with a pug on it.

    And now I have officially written the longest comment ever. LOL Ah...who gives a *&^%


  17. I LOVE that dress, and would have yelled it from across the street if I would have seen you. I have some t-shirts with graphics on them, but I really don't want messages, happy, or otherwise on my chest. I remember wearing a t-shirt to high school that said "When God made man, she was only joking", and I never heard the end of it from one of my male teachers.

    I would have laughed at the "Go F**k your Selfie" shirt too ;)

  18. The bucket for every woman ! The world will be better - or cleaner ?
    You are amazing Melanie <3

  19. I'd wear a shirt with fecker on it.

  20. Difficult to match garments with mood because the sentiment can be changed during the day. I have been angry with white waving flowers in my hair. Getting the wrong effect ...

  21. Loved your post! And Desigual, I really love it! Well, I think I am much more a happy T-shirt person :) I bought one that has "Good vibes" on it and I got a "you can't wear this T-shirt, Good vibes on that place? People will misunderstand you". It was right... I am a bit (just a bit) shy and avoided the Tee, but I will wear it again one day. I embroidered another one, with letters W and B and in the middle "icth" :) So, witch or bitch, that was the most I could do. I confess I have a Celine logo T-shirt, but it's mostly because it was to think of my grandmother's name. As I said, great post that makes us think!

  22. I have no problems with swearing, but I'm not keen on slogan t-shirts. I like Ulla-Marie's comment that your mood can change during the day, so the "Happy" or "Stop staring at my fucking chest" slogan becomes inappropriate!
    You can make all the statement you need through your creative, fabulous ensembles, Melanie.
    And sorry, but everyone IS looking at you, it's nothing to do with the toilet! xxx

  23. Gawd, no slogans at all for me, ever since I worked as a food sales person and had 'try before you buy' on my left boob I haven't felt ready, it all seemed to attract too much unwanted attention - Dave wears the slogan tee's and the kids (imagine lot's of surly teenage angst, I'm very fond of them) x x x

  24. Dear Melanie, I just love your writing, and this great dress (I remember when you showed it first - it's fantastic, and I adore it with the short jacket), and your drawings - the cartoon made me laugh, I can so recognize myself in it.

    As for slogans... The only words t-shirt I have has a statement that I've been to a naked spa, it was hard to not buy it just because I LOVE a naked spa. I also have a purse which has inspirational writing on it, and it's art, in my opinion (I showed it in this post - So I don't really wear such stuff, but if for whatever weird reason I had to :) - I would choose happy, inspiring and witty (Oscar Wilde would suit my fancy just fine). I do have different moods, including shitty moods, but I do not want to make statements about my shitty moods. I look for light, in life or art or clothes.

    Lots of love xxx

  25. I kinda hate shirts that have writing on them. The Happy kind seem like they're trying to tell you what to feel, and the Shit kind are just antisocial and unimaginative. But I love your teacup dress, and I love seeing your drawings!

  26. After checking my clothes I realise that I don't have a single piece with words on it. I guess it's not my style?

    It's like Ulla-Marie says, you can easily end up in situations where the writing is totally inappropriate.

    I'm also confused by the "happy" t-shirts - is the wearer happy, or am I as a "viewer" expected to be happy by just being the word? Because I'm not!

    On the other hand, there's a bit of anarchy in the "having a shitty day" which I like. Then there's some middle ground - not so long ago Judith, the Stylecrone wore a t-shirt saying "Old is the new black", and I really liked that. I actually might try and get one myself...

    Your silhouette in the teacup dress is very elegant, like a Japanese woman in a traditional kimono. The print and colours are fantastic, you've done an amazing job finding the bottom prints, they're perfect! Now I'll go and get my Desigual top, must wear it after seeing this dress :-)

  27. Not a fan of writing on shirts in general for me, unless it is witty or mine!
    Probably wouldn't wear swearing because I don't...raised on missionfield, nuff said!
    Happy etc only on women is insulting.
    Gorgeous post with TEACUP dress. My favourite of them all!!! xo Jazzy Jack

  28. I adore the teacup dress you made and I adore your sense of humor. I think the answer would be depends on my mood. I am moved only to wear words when I am in a bad mood as a way to show my grumpiness. Perhaps I would not feel a need to act grumpy. The Ashish shirt I wore in Grey Magazine said "Having a shit day, thanks". I so wanted to keep it and as you say it has got to be sequins or something other than words on cotton for me.

    Accidental Icon

  29. See I totally loved that dress the first time you blogged it and I still love it!! Don't think I could wear a T with swearing on it, but I certainly have laughed at some I have seen. My favourite would have to be, "do I look like a f@*#ing role model".

  30. I remember this dress well! Your brilliant design is unforgettable, and your commentary always amazes, amuses and makes me think. What a fabulous combination!

  31. Hi Melanie! I'm visiting because Kezzie recommended your blog on a recent post of hers. I found your post fascinating. I am "fashion challenged" so this is like looking into an alien world. But what fun!

  32. I really like the dress, it shows creativity and uniqueness. It looks perfect on you.

    I don't own and clothing with words on them, unless it's a band tee that I've 'borrowed' from the mister.

    Have a perfect weekend :)

  33. I prefer no txt at all and share your sentiments about Desigual.

    I own three or four Desigual coats and two Desigual bags. They don't have that 'wrong' element of Desigualness. But after a while I decided to forget about Desigual for anything else, because of the texts and the too recognizable Desigualness.

    That little jacket is phenomenal!


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