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Why Screaming-Loud Statement Shirts Are Trending in 2022
On Apr 23, 2022
Nowhere is this statement-sneaker approach more evident than in the men’s shirt department. Paris label Casablanca is known for its silk shirts with decoish resort iconography such as palm trees and tennis rackets. British label JW Anderson sells a springy button-up splashed with a giant, Dr. Seuss-style blue strawberry, while Valentino offers a purple short-sleeve shirt with a planet careening across the front, conjuring the cover of a 1970s pulp sci-fi novel. New York’s Bode takes a more pastoral approach to statement dressing with delicate, embroidered lace shirts that recall granny’s tablecloth.
I’ll save you from a design lesson that should accompany this article and just say... it’s not overly terrible. It’s not great either, and might be one of the most non-offensive offerings from the past 33 years.
It’s extremely boring, and it comes on the heels of seeing so many great offerings from Under Armour via Marcus Freeman’s coaching wardrobe (likely to be for public sale this summer). It doesn’t inspire any type of motion for me to grab my wallet and pull out that cold piece of plastic.
There are a lot of people that give this a failing grade because of a widely held belief that the shirt should always be green. While I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment, I’d be willing to bet that this shirt will have record breaking sales due to its unoffensive nature.
It’s not terrible, but it really isn’t good either. It’s just there, and after three decades, people just want to go along to get along for the most part.
HERE’S A lightly hyperbolic theory I’ve been mulling over the past few months: Clothes today are being designed like sneakers.
I’m not suggesting that every shirt or sweater is meant to be plopped on your feet. Rather, the aims of contemporary sneaker design—Inject it with color! Mix the materials! Have it dominate an outfit!—are bleeding over into the rest of our wardrobes. Today, luxury clothes like Bottega Veneta’s alligator-green, corduroy-esque trousers or Gucci’s geometric-motif, double-breasted suit throb with a hollering hype normally reserved for the sneaker section.
The attention-seeking shirt has plenty of precedent: Versace minted a fortune in the ’80s by shilling breezy and baroque silk tops, iterations of which are still produced today. Similarly, labels like Prada and Belgium’s Dries Van Noten have long made shirts printed with everything from bouffant sunflowers to lipstick to Marilyn Monroe’s face. And though the comparison is a bit unkind, today’s luxury novelty shirts sit on the same family tree as the garish “going out shirts” from the brand Robert Graham that are a flashing red sign of a midlife crisis.