Monday, November 20, 2006

One-Shoulder Shirts: The Next Scarlet Letter

I know my limits when it comes to fashion and style since 99% of my clothing comes from stores found within every mall in America, but that doesn’t’ preclude me from asking a question…why do women still think one-shoulder shirts are attractive? Fashion fads come and go (they are fads after all) yet the one-shoulder shirt continues to be worn by all types of people…from the fashionably inept to those with even the most sensible fashion sense. What gives? I have five theories about this as I fail to comprehend the shirt’s attractiveness.

Theory #1: Different for the sake of being different. The shirt is so different from a normal (two-shoulder) shirt that you can’t help but be fashionably hip. The shirt looks like something on a fashion runway (preferably trampled). It could be confused with those runway designs that are completely impractical to mass produce and only serve to inspire a style made for the general public…or not. Just because it doesn’t align with the norm doesn’t guarantee greatness. A designer (or painter or writer or musician for that matter) working while on LCD doesn’t automatically mean their projects (though off-center) are worldly either. With plenty of one-shoulder shirts being worn, it’s neither rare enough, nor non-conformist enough, nor stylish enough to be hip. When the style is on sale at Old Navy, it’s safe to say that it’s not so unique that you have to go to a small boutique in SoHo to find one in your size.

You're better than this.

Theory #2: It’s sexy to tease with one shoulder. I really hope that this is not the case. Only someone with a serious shoulder fetish would be enticed by this. I have nothing against showing some skin, but why one shoulder? Nobody would ever say the sexiest part of their body was their shoulder…specifically the shoulder being shown fresh air. We’re not living in the time of Quakers where showing a shoulder was scandalous. Nobody ever tries to “put their best shoulder forward” (not that “foot” is much better) because nobody cares about one shoulder. It’s some skin covering your ball and socket joint…how hot is that?

Theory #3: 80’s exercise clothes are the latest fad. There is no need to buy a shirt that is so wide it can’t stay on both shoulders. You could probably save money by buying a smaller size that fits and rests on both shoulders at the same time. What a concept! If you wear a one-shoulder shirt, all you need to complete your “I’m a 1987 aerobics instructor” costume (Halloween is 348 days away) is a headband, leggings, and lots of spandex (preferably fluorescent for greatest effect).

Just add the shirt, mix well, and serve.

Theory #4: The wearer has poor equilibrium and must wear the shirt not to tip over. The first thing I think when I see a one-shoulder shirt wearer is that she’s going to tip over. The shirt forces her to counter-balance its gravitational pull. Since walking upright animals (let’s call them “humans”) have shoulders parallel to the ground and the shirt creates a diagonal from the top of one shoulder down to the opposite armpit, the wearer doesn’t appear to be level and is simply fighting the laws of physics by not falling over to either side. It has to be impossible not to favor one side over the other because the shirt isn’t equal.

Hurry...she's going to tip over!

Theory #5: It’s practical. Maybe the bare shoulder got too large from uneven weightlifting and can’t fit under cloth. Akin to guys wearing sleaveless shirts because their arms are too large (not that this couldn’t be avoided by just buying a shirt the correct size) (at least I have enough class to cut my sleeves off due to permanent deodorant stains), if a woman did enough shoulder presses with one arm, she would have no choice, but to cut the shoulder area out of the shirt before her over-muscled shoulder freakishly tears through when she lifts her arm. There’s a reason Hulk Hogan ripped his entire shirt from the center of his chest and not from his shoulder.

Listen to one-shoulder shirts!

The one-shoulder shirt is neither trendy, nor attractive, nor different enough from the norm that people just assume the wearer has tremendous fashion knowledge. Just as people use nicotine patches to quit smoking, it’s time to develop an over-the-counter cloth patch to repair all one-shoulder shirts addicts. We must break this addiction cycle and the first step is the offender admitting she has a problem with her eyesight and clothing taste. Now where’s my pitchfork and crazed mass of people to hunt these well-meaning, but poorly thought out one-shoulder wearers?

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