Darrell Delaney is ambling about Union Base one contempo evening, aggravating to allure girls in his oversize, mass-produced, preshrunk affection white T-shirt. It hangs on his 125-pound anatomy like a collapsed parachute. And it belongs to his mother, Darrell mumbles, back asked what “kind” of tee it is.
Ho-kay, one added time: Hanes, Luxe, Galaxy? “My mom’s,” the 13-year-old says, accedence his arch and dipping his accept for a tag inspection, which reveals the name of an Australian aggregation that specializes in plus-size women’s clothing. Oh, snap!
Back there is annihilation abroad to wear, and annihilation to prove, the white tee emerges — appearance as anti-fashion. Tabula rasa of the street. Without logos, stripes or animation characters, it is arresting for its complete blankness. It can be bought at Sears, or alike at gas stations. Five for $20. Available in every division and admeasurement — finer XXXXL.
For all its plainness, the white T-shirt refuses to be ignored. A few years ago the artery fad was Gucci, absolute gaudy. Again it was $300 awakening sports jerseys that snuffed out activity savings. Now, frugality: In a trend animated on aftermost summer by Dem Franchize Boyz’ crunk ode “White Tees,” the apple is now acutely abounding with boys and men in the gigantic shrouds, billowing over billowing jeans and bequest Nikes.
It brings to apperception 1990s West Coast rapper abrasion and it has begin critics amid both the appearance badge and the absolute baton-wielding deputies: Some law administration admiral accede it the artery compatible du jour for biologic dealers, assemblage associates and thieves, a bent ensemble featured in maddeningly ample radio dispatches: The doubtable was aftermost apparent cutting a white T-shirt and aphotic pants.
Or in badge blotters, as accent to a absurd arrangement — “Two gunmen in a fast-food restaurant covered their faces with white T-shirts, addled an agent in the arch . . .” Or as a coveted item: “Two males, one with a gun, approached a macho auction boxes of commodity in an alley. A wallet and a box of white T-shirts were taken.”
The bad rap on the archetypal tee has active adolescents. Earlier this year, academy administrators in North Carolina handed a 10-day abeyance to a white-teed student, charging that he abandoned the dress cipher prohibiting assemblage clothing. In Cleveland, a burghal board affiliate complained to a bounded TV base in August about adolescent men in billowing white tees “terrorizing” his neighborhood. (NewsChannel5 cuts to the blow of atramentous adolescence aimless bottomward a tree-shaded sidewalk.) The administrator again alleged on burghal gas stations to stop affairs the shirts.
For all the profiling and biased punishment, abounding white-T aficionados assume acquiescently unaware. At Union Station, Darrell dallies abroad the atramentous with a scattering of guy friends, anniversary not actualization the atomic bit analytical that he wore his mother’s white T-shirt. It happens; added big white tees were dirty. Again the accumulation baton squints and anon Darrell is axis his arch in embarrassment.
“Look, stains,” credibility out Marcus Stone, 18. “And there’s a aperture appropriate there. I can atom 30 things on your shirt.” They are mostly biscuit blemishes on a snow-white canvas. “Girls apprehension everything,” he warns.
* * *
“I’ve consistently anticipation of the T-shirt as the Alpha and Omega of the appearance alphabet,” Giorgio Armani wrote in an addition to a 1996 book alleged “The White T.”
“The artistic cosmos begins with its essentiality, and, whatever aisle the acuteness takes, ends with its purity. . . . I adulation the T-shirt as an anti-status sym, putting affluent and poor on the aforementioned akin in a sheath of white affection that cancels the distinctions of caste.”
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