Have you ever put on a t-shirt and wondered if it was appropriate for the function or place you were wearing it to? We are a country of casual dressers and many times anything goes. But there are situations and locations to which wearing a t-shirt may be frowned upon. Whether a t-shirt is okay to wear is largely dictated by social norms and the need to make a positive impression.
In general, the top worst places to wear a t-shirt are:
1. A funeral
2. A wedding
3. A black tie charity event
4. An exclusive golf course
5. A Broadway play
6. A five star restaurant
7. A job interview
8. A presentation before the company CEO
9. A formal work function, such as the company Christmas party
10. A new client business presentation
As with many things in life, there are no definite hard and fast rules on where it is okay to wear a t-shirt. While the above cover the places where social norms would typically dictate that someone should not wear a t-shirt, there are always exceptions. To determine for yourself if a t-shirt is an acceptable clothing item to wear think about the following: what does the t-shirt look like, do the social norms apply in your particular situation, and do you care about the social norms?
Not all t-shirts are the same. T-shirts can range in style from fancy ones made of silk to ripped worn colored cotton ones. A fancy t-shirt, such as a silk one, can be paired with other more formal items to create a sophisticated look. Think a 2008 version of Miami Vice. Even a less fancy t-shirt can be dressed up and made more acceptable for an occasion by adding a sports coat.
Not all situations are the same either. Take, for instance, a presentation before the company CEO, if you work for t-shirt manufacturing company or t-shirt screen printer, your t-shirt may be part of your presentation. Additionally, a wedding on a beach in Hawaii may call for a nice Hawaiian t-shirt instead of a suit. Without considering the context of the situation, traditional social norms would frown on the above. However, by taking into account the particulars of the event you are attending, you can feel confident your t-shirt is not a faux pas, but in fact, a sound clothing choice.
One final item to consider when determining whether a t-shirt is acceptable for a particular function or situation is whether or not you want to follow social norms. You may want to set yourself apart and get noticed for your clothing choice. Or, you may want to make a statement or a point about an outdated tradition. If this is the case, a t-shirt may be the appropriate although not necessarily accepted choice.
Therefore, next time you pull a t-shirt out of the closet and ask yourself if it is appropriate to wear, consider the above factors. Often you’ll find that with a little thought and creativity there are few places that are truly the worst to wear a t-shirt to.