Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Pain In The Neck

You know how someone can be really attractive, but then you realize they think they are too, and it turns you off? Happened that way with the Flax shirts. I'm in the store and all the prettiest shirts were from Flax Design. I checked the tags. That's when I saw the extra tag on each one, and boy, were they into themselves. "I AM BEAUTIFUL JUST THE WAY I AM," said one. "I LOVE MY BODY, I LOVE ALL OF MYSELF," said another. That's a lot of yapping going on for something you just planned to throw on for the sake of decency. Like there isn't enough self-promotion going on in the world.

First thing I do when I get a shirt, anyway, is to rip the tag out of the neck. It's just a little kernel of irksomeness. I also cannot tolerate a crumb in my sheets, which will keep me awake until I evict it. I've been referred to more than once in this house as a "princess," without any of the finer connotations. One could say I don't show any signs of having been born of pioneer stock, but I'd be fine with wrangling an obstreperous mule or keeping rattlesnakes off the chilluns. Ain't none of them dames had to contend with tags inside their homespun.

A little information is all well and good. Mostly we do know how to wash our garments, and mostly we can tell what size they are, and only certain kinds of people care to know who made them.

There is such a thing as printing the information right on the fabric so as to avoid tags at all. That is a big selling point for the underwear Michael Jordan used to wear in those ads that kept me watching sports on TV. I think he was hawking the underwear. I would have bought a fur-lined battery-operated set of Croatian encyclopedias from Michael Jordan if he came to the door in his underwear.

I got a shirt once that had a tag made of burlap, folded over, with extra bits stitched onto it in horsehair. That one had to be nuked out. It was a flannel shirt, and must have been going for a rugged theme. Why stop there? Why not stitch on a little baggie of wasps? My recent purchases from Columbia Sportswear are more humane. There's something printed on the neck fabric so you can tell front from back, but the tags are on the side seam toward the bottom. They're huge, but they're made out of butterfly breath. I can't feel them at all. Flax Designs should be moving in that direction. If they add just a little length to the tag, they could swing it around to the front and tack it to the shoulder like a pageant queen sash. "Miss Overweening Self-Confidence," it could say. "At Least My Shirt Likes Me," it means.

I am at a loss to understand what kind of person who needs a little boost of self-esteem could actually get it from her shirt tag. It's pathetic. I have my down days, but I'm not going to respond to a pep talk from my clothes. Dave's "Friend Of Pootie" shirt always cheers me up, but that's different.

Any shirt I buy might as well have a tag that says "HELP ME! I'M BEING ATTACKED BY A SEAM RIPPER!" It's out of there--I don't care if it says Dolce and Gabbana. Which it won't.

78 comments:

  1. I don't know what size I wear, because manufacturers don't have a clue about sizing. I do, however, need size tags to tell me if that's my shirt or my daughter's. Trousers are a little easier; she has a good six inches or more on me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've also probably got a good six inches on you. Oh. You mean vertical?

      Delete
  2. Sadly, I'm not all that in love with my aging, sagging, bulging body. And a label stating otherwise would just make me all the more self-conscious. Like you, I rip them out anyway so they won't irritate my neck. But what I really hate are those more "natural" shirts which bleed and permanently wrinkle the first time they're washed. Give me the old, artificial permanent press garments which I can wash and wear. I gave up ironing many decades ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ironing. That's what you do when you're piecing a quilt, right? You can do it to shirts, too?

      Delete
  3. My latest Columbia shirt also has the label printed on the back, but the side tags hit right at the waistline when I tucked it in, so I had to cut them out anyway. They didn't feel anything like feathers. I like the idea of a natural shirt with a baggie of wasps to make me feel more outdoorsy. The sound would be a turn-off, though. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A collection of thistle burrs could be substituted.

      Delete
  4. While we're on this subject, why does every pair of jeans nowadays have godblesséd lycra woven in? I hate the way THAT feels on a hot day in the northeast woods.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those stretch jeans were a revelation for me the first time I tried them on--comfy but still looked like jeans, unlike the stretch-pants women wore in the sixties. Then they stretch out and fall off your butt.

      Delete
  5. True confessions time... I've worn FLAX for years. Mostly because I used to go to their big FLAX sale in Ithaca every year and buy their seconds and leftovers... cheap! But I'm with you on the tags... those sucker have got to come out right away! Tags are evil! They must be stopped! (Especially the ones that try to cheer me up.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What? Is there a FLAX outlet in Ithaca? Do tell - I'm heading up there in a few weeks!

      Delete
    2. Apparently I'm not the only delicate flower out there.

      Delete
  6. The lycra in jeans? It's so they will stretch out and slide down by the end of the day.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I weep when people tear out tags. Being a thrift store shopper and all, I really NEED that information. And I have seen the printed-on ones - cool idea, but it makes it very difficult to get your pajamas on right-side front in the dark.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The last thing I want to do is make you weep. So I suggest you toughen up.

      Delete
  8. Oh how I dislike tags. I have several inexpensive summer tops which have the info printed at the back of the neck and no other tags to be found. I love those tops.

    I don't know if it's just me, but I have a heck of a time removing tags from clothes. No matter how carefully I extricate the offending label, I almost always leave a gap in the seam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not your fault. Some of them are riveted in there with carpet thread.

      Delete
    2. Fishline, I think. That's what makes them so stabbity.

      Delete
  9. New problem with labels and my Incredible Shrinking Mommy. She's 93 and in an Alzheimer's facility and has to have her name written in all her clothing. God forbid that her floral blouses should wander away from the laundry and into some gentleman's closet. So now I can't tell what size anything is anymore, because I wrote her name on all the labels.

    She keeps getting shorter and a little smaller and I don't know what size she is. Maybe I will have to do like she did for me when I went to camp and order special labels from the label-making company and sew them into her clothing in an unobtrusive spot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what a loving daughter would do. I have a feeling you're up to the task. Good luck, sweetie.

      Delete
    2. You can do it faster (but still be loving) with the iron-on labels. My mom had those, even on the socks.

      Delete
  10. If shirts must come with affirmations, how about, "Proud to be American Made," or, "Worth every penny, even at full retail price." If I want a shirt that says, "The universe is a beautiful place," I'll grab a sharpie and embellish an old t.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Can I get a Friends Of Pootie t-shirt? And why do I have the feeling that's a one-of-a-kind item? I want one anyway!

    An on that other topic: I can't for the life of me understand why TOWELS need tags.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are at least a half-dozen one-of-a-kind FOP shirts out there, and I do have plans to make one for the general public, as soon as I get one of those Round Tuits.

      Gaaaah! Yes! Towels!

      Delete
  12. I'm also a member of Hate The Tags. out they come. and I'm with you on the whole princess and the pea thing. I sweep out the bed before getting in it and if one tiny little speck manages to migrate between me and the sheets during the night, it will wake me up every time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are not Princesses. We merely have refined sensibilities.

      Delete
  13. Some tags love me and some hate me. Not sold on the stamp on kinds but have a couple of Ts like that. Your FOP Ts Could be a big seller to all your fans - Buy one or get blocked from the site is a sure fire threat to make me cough up.
    I like the stretch waist band on blue jeans as it allows me to breath.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a huge breathing fan, too.
      I am going to have to get moving on the FOP T-shirt. Actually threatening people with them was not something I'd considered, until now.

      Delete
  14. I'm no Michael Jordan but it just so happens that I have a set of fur-lined battery-operated Croatian encyclopedias. Are you interested?

    ReplyDelete
  15. I almost spit my coffee on my laptop when I read the baggie of wasps description!! Yes! Yes! Some of them hurt like hell. I get rid of tags right away, too. Love the new clothing with no tags. If I don't have them on my mattress, I don't need to carry them around with me on all my clothes, either. This was great! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wait. You don't have them on your mattress? You could be going to jail, dearie.

      Delete
  16. Hey Murr! We are cut from the same cloth, you and I. And I guarantee there's no labels stitched to it. As for Vulture & Banana, mention them not! Roth x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't think I HAD, but now that you mention it, I guess I did.

      Delete
  17. You mean the rest of us can wear F.O.P. T- shirts? Where's my sharpie?

    One Halloween I wrote "Enron" on a shirt and went as a really scary pirate.

    On second thought, wearing a t-shirt that reads, "Friend of Pootie" might lead to mis-understandings and old-fashioned looks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Either "Friend Of Pootie" or "FOP" will have that effect. No extry charge.

      Delete
    2. Old-fashioned look? Haven't heard that wonderful phrase since I left Maine.

      Delete
    3. Old-fashioned look? Haven't heard that wonderful phrase since I left Maine.

      Delete
  18. Another can't-stand-lables person here. Stamping the stuff on the material wins my vote and patronage. I cut the bags of wasps off the side too. If I'm going to be poked, it's going to be someone I know and love, not something that was on a factory floor in Pakistan. Those Flax lables are nausea inducing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please tell us who you would like to be poked by, and how.

      Delete
    2. No double entendre intended. My lads like to give me a poke in the ribs with their long fingers when they're being silly.

      Delete
    3. p.s. I meant to say how much I liked this post, Murr. Those of us with refined sensibilities have needed a champion for a long time now. Thanks!

      Delete
  19. Fine post, fine comments, but I still haven't heard how to actually remove the little buggers without leaving either a little saw blade in the seam or a hole. Of course I don't read Murr for household hints, just for political guidance. And hilarity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mrs. Seam Ripper, and a boatload of patience. Goes better after the first beer. I am plumb full of household hints. Ask me how I get my dinner cooked for me every night. (Marry a hungry man and don't learn how to cook.)

      Delete
  20. Tell FLAX I would be more likely to believe "I AM YOUTHFULL" if they spelled it right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See, there's where we differ. I think that makes it all the more believable.

      Delete
  21. Most tags don't bother me, except the kind that always stick up out of my neckline and I don't notice them flapping until the end of the day, but I do remember "invisible" thread in the 70's or 80's. It was like very fine fishing line and as scratchy as the dickens. I'm glad its use didn't last long.

    If it weren't for tags, I wouldn't know which was the front/back of my shirts :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It WAS fishing line. Some people still quilt with it. It would be invisible if it weren't, uh, real shiny.

      The front of my shirts is the side with all the food stains.

      Delete
    2. Ha! Okay, I'm good to get rid of all tags now :)

      Delete
  22. I hate tags at the neck as they always feel so rough and irritating. Wonder if silk would feel good? I do like the idea of printed on info. And who says you cannot turn a light on or use a small flashlight to find the right side front that suburban correspondent spoke Well, maybe someone who has been out late having fun and does not want their spouse to know how late they were in coming home...hmmmm????

    ReplyDelete
  23. Forget the tag and stuff. I was wondering if you got high from smoking or eating those shirts?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Oops - in the 2nd photo, I thought the last affirmation on the tag read "I am bovine beauty."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least that wouldn't embarrass me so much.

      Delete
  25. I, too, volunteer at a Thrift Shop... those tags are a must.
    Also, I get dressed in the dark, I feel my way into my clothes in the morning. I hate not having tags. I do not like the printed on stuff either, often it shows thru and who wants that 3X to be read by the next person in line?
    I used to care for a blind lady... labels were crucial for her independence. When clothes came out with no tags, she had us sew little strings onto the backs of her things so she could continue to dress herself. Funny how somethings work for some folks and not for others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Fruit Loops could be substituted. Eh?

      Delete
    2. Fruit loops! OMG...there's a whole blog post in that, surely?

      Delete
  26. This column brings to mind the saying "Birds of a feather flock together." How did so many tag-hating persons know a "Hate a Tag!" meeting was being called?

    I love my tags. If I would have time I'd sew in designer labels just to confuse a friend who's always dropping designer names on me...

    But in real life, tags are a reasonably small issue. How about some political irony again, please, Murr?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, you know they're coming. Let's see: I'll pencil you in for the first of August.

      Delete
  27. When I was sewing for a small clothing manufacturer I learned that cheap tags are made of stiffer material and do not ever soften... and for a bit more, you could order better quality tags. Amazing how many expensive shirts and cheap tags! I vote for printed on tags myself AND jeans with a bit of stretch, especially the brand I buy which has me in a size smaller than I know I am (talk about making you feel good). I like to breathe and don't like to itch.... and cannot bear a crumb in the bed.... and Jerry would LOVE a FOP t-shirt!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sooner or later, Jerry shall HAVE a FOP shirt.

      Yeah, I can wear the same pair of pants and feel different about them if they say size 12 or size 8. I'm kind of surprised that fashion hasn't started getting into Size 9.98. If it works for prices it oughta work for sizing.

      Delete
  28. Wait! Wait! You have no idea what a blessing it is for us horse people to have lycra stretch jeans. If you've never tried climbing on a 16 hand jittery Thoroughbred in regular 501 Levi's (sp?)in front of a side-clutching, hysterically hooting audience you really haven't lived! I'm tellin' ya, I hope there's a special place in heaven for the inventor of that yarn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like me a little lycra. I like lycra in a shirt to sort of intimate that I have a waistline, as long as it doesn't hug EVERYTHING. (Does the Michelin Man need to wear lycra? No.) Incidentally, no, I haven't tried climbing on a 16 hand horse. Don't they come with ladders? And seat belts?

      Delete
  29. At least clothing tags don't threaten you with death or incarceration if you remove them like pillows and such do!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know. You do not want to know what happens to people in prison who are known mattress-tag felons.

      Delete
  30. Another perfect post! I remove all tags because they drive me insane. Some seem designed to be as uncomfortable and irritating as humanly possible.

    Even the tagless tags, the inked on type bother and itch me, I can feel them. But I am the princess and the pea. I too will hunt down the errant grain of sand or crumb in the bed because it will ruin my rest. And should a hair get loose inside my shirt - I've been known to perform some inappropriate fishing down my bra in public because that hair has the power to drive me insane.

    I'm glad I'm not alone in my deep sensitivity to these things, and surprised to learn I've missed out on the inspirational tags. I need to get out more!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But sometimes the loose hairs in your pants can be kind of fun. Oh wait--is this thing public?

      Delete
  31. I completely agree with the clothing tag, but I get all kinds of nervous when Paul starts ripping the tags off of pillows and mattresses, which he does with gusto. We have not been arrested...yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dude, you just busted yourself. I can't be responsible.

      Delete
  32. Little baggie of wasps! I almost spit wine on my keypad. Bwilliant.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hate labels too. Not only do they stick out but they scratch too. Which annoys me to death. Which is not fun for anyone around me.

    And labels stating: "I am divine beauty" ? That's just stupid.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think just plain "I am divine" would be better.

      Delete
  34. Labels are inherently evil. I especially hate the ones that are stitched in on the side. What I hate even more are the spaghetti strap type things that are stitched into shirts so you can hang them. Does anyone really keep those in? I rip everything off asap.

    I think the peeps who wrote those self affirmations on the labels have way too much time on their hands - and a big budget! They should donate it to us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are those spaghetti straps so you can hang them? I always thought one of them was to make you look like you're coming apart in public and the other one was to trail around on the inside and make you think you're dribbling. OK, out they come.

      Delete
  35. You had me researching Flax. Seems I have not come across that brand. I try to leave some labels in but they need to be soft! silky is fine. And small!

    ReplyDelete