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clothes in my house that refuse to die

1. Finn’s Detroit Lions t-shirt


I have a small to medium-sized phobia of black cotton t-shirts. Even the best black cotton shirts are bound to fade, and once your black t-shirt fades, you might as well cut the sleeves off that bitch and pull on some jorts. Needless to say, Finn loves this shirt. He likes to pair it with his too-short sweatpants and a pair of striped knee socks from H&M, and the whole ensemble cuts me like a knife, every time. If this shirt had cost money, I would have burned it long ago. But unfortunately, it was free, as Tom likes to remind me. It came with Finn’s Sports Illustrated Kids subscription, and Tom carefully checked the box for the Detroit Lions, and the rest is history.

I’ve actually tried to throw this shirt away. Finn found it in his trash can and lovingly folded it back into his drawer.

2. Tate’s Gangnam Style t-shirt


I’ll take any opportunity to inject a little Korean flavor into my kids’ lives, which basically means that we eat a lot of Korean bbq and that I get mad when my kids ask to take Karate lessons and say they want to be goddamn ninjas. Gangnam Style is Finn’s favorite song and has been for a good six months. Finn learned the Korean word “yuh-ja” from that song, which means “woman.” He has taken to greeting me with “What up, yuh-ja,” which is technically not incorrect, as I am a woman, but sounds very rude. Whatever. Even I have to admit that the song is catchy.

But there is a big difference between the song and this shirt, which, let’s be frank, is racist. I can’t even really point to what’s racist about it, but it feels racist. Does Psy look that pig-like in real life?? I can’t be sure. I understand that Koreans designed and manufactured this shirt, because it was procured in Seoul, which makes it worse. Also, my mom bought it, which confuses me further. I mean, she’s more Korean than I am. Am I not getting the joke? I want to get the joke.

3. This shirt



Tom and I turned on the TV the other day and caught ten minutes of the Walking Dead. I know everyone loves that show but if you’ve never watched it before and then you watch ten minutes of it, you might be forgiven for having the reaction that Tom and I did, which was to look at each other and laugh hysterically. I only mention that show because this t-shirt looks like something a zombie would wear. But it’s not. It’s actually something that my husband wears.

Whenever I complain about it, he leers at me, lifts up his arm, and asks if I find the direct access to his armpit sexy. He doesn’t use those words, but that’s the gist. I like his armpit, as much as I like the rest of him, but I don’t want direct access to his armpit. I just don’t.

4. Tate’s AC Milan shorts


These shorts are fresh out of the wash. I have no idea what those stains are, but they aren’t coming out. I’ve tried. These look like they were worn by a guy manning the deep fryer at KFC. But when would my three-year old have been around a deep fryer?

Every morning, Tate wakes up and wants to put on a “soccer shirt” and these “sport shorts.” Tate’s actual interest in soccer or sports is arguably less extant than even mine, but his brother wears sports clothes, and he wants to be like his brother in a very bad way. Speaking of brothers, these were part of a complete kit bought for Tate by my brother Mike, a huge AC Milan fan. And I guess that’s why I can’t bear to throw them away.

5. Go Blue


There’s a whole lot of maize and blue in my house. I don’t buy it, but still, it arrives, via Tom and his relatives.

Here’s the thing about the color maize. No one looks good in it. Especially not Asians (me, my kids) and extremely fair people (Tom). Sometimes the designers like to keep things fresh by replacing the maize with a lighter shade of yellow that you might call “cornflower” but which I call “pancake batter.” No one looks good in that either.

Anyway, we get a fresh influx of Michigan clothes anytime Michigan wins something or, in this case, gets close to winning something. Michigan made it to the NCAA finals this year, and it was a great run. I would never destroy this shirt even though it is intensely ugly. Because I love Michigan. And because it would only replicate itself if I tried to destroy it.


**Tom said I could only use the photos of his t-shirts if I also provided this link. Enjoy.

6. Tom’s pick


Tom got annoyed when he saw me taking pictures of his ugly clothes. So I told him to pick the thing he hated most from my wardrobe. So here it is. This offensive J.Crew cardigan, which I’ve had for eight years. Tom says it’s “Talbotty.” Meow.


27 Comments Post a comment
  1. I tried to throw away a pair of my husband’s favourite socks that were worn though on the bottoms… he became quite upset and informed me that they were “still good on top”…

    As another mom of boys, I’m very pleased to have found your blog!

    July 23, 2013
    • that’s really funny. so they could be like anklets

      July 23, 2013
  2. Will #

    You should not throw away your husband’s shirt. That’s mean.

    July 16, 2013
  3. Wandering Voiceless #

    “kitschy travel t-shirts” — On our trip to the Bahamas I bought a white tank top sporting the Warner Bros cartoon logo on it and captioned “If you see da police… Warn a brother.” I find it hilarious despite (or because?) of the fact that I work for a police department. Of course, it’s a sleep shirt, not a wear in public shirt… but still. Hilarious.

    Great post.


    July 16, 2013
    • i find that tom has trouble distinguishing between regular shirts and sleep shirts

      July 23, 2013
  4. Andy M #

    This is hilar. I was about to LOL, but I had to suppress the OL part, because, you know, work, and the subsequent snarf made me snot on myself. Thankfully I had a Tide-to-go pen at the ready. When is your life going to be turned into a sitcom? I hear that Ryan Gosling is interested in playing Tom.

    Also that cartoonized Psy is mad racist. Why is he even a cartoon? Couldn’t they screen print an actual photo? It’s like reduced him to very basic, sometimes ethnocentric, attributes, which other-izes him to (maybe) make white audiences more comfortable, but also (definitely) reduces the scope of his humanity, so that he is only an object for consumption. It reminds of the problems around the fictional corporate mascots Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima.

    I was all about to churn out a compare and contrast essay on the problematic History of Popular Depictions of Song-and-Dance Men: From Psy to Bill Bojangles Robinson and how they never do this to white people, but then I googled “cartoon one direction” and lo I found this: (, which is maybe the creepiest thing ever.

    July 15, 2013
    • you raise a good point. it is totally redundant to cartoonize psy, since he is essentially a cartoon. and that bag is not creepy, it’s totally cute, which is only further evidence that white people come out smelling like a rose every single time. i might need to buy that bag. ryan gosling’s abs are not hard enough for him to play tom

      July 15, 2013
  5. i love coming to read your blog especially when your hubby gets involved, it reminds me of the great comedy me and my husband share!! yay him for putting in his 2 cents!!

    July 13, 2013
  6. This is great. I so can relate. I went to visit a friend a few years ago, and she had in her closet a sweater she wore in college. In 1994. Some deaths are long overdue. Thanks for the laugh. Spectacular writing.!

    July 13, 2013
    • my friend linds has clothes in her closet from 2004, with the tags STILL ATTACHED. i could rant here about her inability to return things but i’ve done that elsewhere on this blog. thanks for the comment

      July 15, 2013
  7. Just found your blog a few days ago and I love it! I’m simultaneously cheered and depressed by your clothes-that-refuse-to-die post. In 30+ years of marriage to my husband, I have attempted to weed out some of the most awful things he wears only to find them back in the closet and him lecturing me along the lines of “waste not, want not” as if I’m the one who has holes in my head. Usually these items are at least a decade old. I’m not kidding! So this post cheered me in the misery-loves-company kind of way. Now let me tell you about depressing! My husband’s make-do ethic extends to the cars he drives–I’ve described the difference in our approaches to car maintenance in my recent post “Adventures in Car Ownership, Part 1” on my blog,

    July 12, 2013
    • Some men seem to equate age with value when it comes to clothing

      July 12, 2013
  8. Shoe #

    #bestnewword talbotty! Bravo TRJ.

    July 12, 2013
    • he also hated my silk pajama shirt but he said it had a “hugh hefner charm.” occasionally, he’s spot on

      July 12, 2013
  9. Talbotty? I think Tom’s my new hero…

    July 12, 2013
    • it pains me that it is tom, once again, who gets the kudos from a post

      July 12, 2013
  10. I feel your pain. Some of the winners my boys wear: a lime green (you need sunglasses) too-small shirt that says, Jamaican Me Happy! written across is garish yellow, the free shirt from camp that reaches their knees that they tie-dyed (because it’s not hideous enough) with just a phone number scrawled across the back but perhaps the worst (that he wanted to wear in his grandfather’s 70th birthday family photo) was given to him at his pre-school “graduation” that looks more like a dress with a stretched out collar, disgusting food stains and the words “I Matter” printed in blue across the front, taunting me every time he retrieves it from the trash. How does his radar pick that up?

    July 12, 2013
    • lol. i actually love kitschy travel t-shirts so i kind of love the jamaican me happy shirt (sight unseen). i had a t-shirt from hawaii once that said “here comes trouble” and i was really sad when i lost it (or tom threw it away)

      July 12, 2013
  11. “Talbotty”! Really Tom? REALLY? Because I happen to have several items of clothing that I purposefully, knowingly, actively bought and paid for from Talbots. AND I think I look damned fine in them.

    Then again I am one hundred fifty-nine years old and wear tankinis. Again, on purpose – nobody holding a gun to my head or anything like it. SImply the desire to keep certain parts of my anatomy under wraps as my attempt to beautify (or at least not uglify) my immediate surroundings.

    The only shirts I ever threw out (as many times as it took) were a series of Big Johnson t-shirts which trended with high school males back in ancient days. I tried to stay hands off editing clothing for my teenaged son hoping that whatever rebellious instincts he needed to nurture would stay in that relatively tame realm. But those particular t-shirts were so misogynistic (among other offenses) I refused to have them in my house (or on my kid).

    July 12, 2013
    • talbots, like chicos, has a purpose. i fully expect to wear both at some point in my life. the thing about those big johnson t-shirts (if i recollect correctly), is that they were offensive AND hideous. i applaud you for taking action!

      July 12, 2013
      • Reading between the lines…”At some point in my life” = when I’m too old/demented to care how I look, like you are now. Which we will now christen that “Talbotty Stage”.

        Aaaargh. Yoona! Dammit! Why do you want to be making me hate my clothes!?!?

        July 12, 2013
      • No no no! Talbot’s is cool. I’m no arbiter of taste. As Cuz says to me when she disapproves of my fashion choices, “you do you.” If we all wore the same stuff that would be boring

        July 12, 2013
  12. haha Tom is not a fan of Talbott’s I presume? I love that you compare one of his shirts to wardrobe for The Walking Dead, I think I have a few looks like that…

    July 12, 2013

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