The perfect t-shirt and the reason I choose a life uniform.

Jonty Thompson
4 min readNov 11, 2021
Photo by Mediamodifier on Unsplash

In the later years of high school I made some decisions. Questionable ones. Ones that occupy a wooden chest at my mothers house. Slipped into envelopes or tightly bound in clingy plastic, memories that struggle to breathe and I’d rather let suffocate in the darkness. Photographic evidence of my emo phase.

I went to a country high school in the early two thousands and if you’re unfamiliar with fashion trends and the way they made their way from the city the method was that they didn’t. Articles like “How to be Emo” were loaded bit by bit on dial up internet and would be distilled into their essence and assembled from purchases made at Target Country which is just like regular Target only with less stock and no home entertainment section, I did it tough I know.

It was 2004, the height of the emo/pop-punk scene and I found a crushed velvet jacket in an op shop, calling to me like Jumanji, but instead of tribal drums beating it was the chorus from a Taking Back Sunday track. I would take a school button up shirt and slip a band t-shirt over the top or one with something ironic on it, my favourite tee had “lazy bored and hungry, seeking band or girlfriend” written on it, it was grim folks. Then came the loose denim, my prized American Idiot shoes with the red love heart grenade graphic and slip the velvet jacket over the top with a few band pins on for good measure. All this with my jet black hair that a girl had told me “would look great and it’s not even black it’s like dark brown”.. it was not dark brown, I’m pretty sure a darker black has never been found and my mum had several heart attacks.

And then I’d head to a house party and dance to Top 40 music looking like an extra from a Tim Burton movie.

I know we all have these moments, the moments we look back on and think “how did I wear THAT?!” and while I joke and mock my past self, I have no real regrets. Although there were a pair of bright orange Volcom three quarter shorts that would have been best left on the hanger at the store.

I mention this because my taste used to be maximal, while mostly black there was a lot going on. A school tie over a t-shirt with denim shorts and a skate belt with the end hanging down because apparently that’s what you did?

If there was one thing I do wish I had adopted earlier it’s establishing a life uniform, maybe in my early twenties when I’d still do something outlandish like wear a knitted jumper with an animal print plastered on the front like an absolute renegade (please note the sarcasm and self disgust in my words, I prefer to remember the emo get-up than whatever this phase was).

But I’m there now, it’s either a white t-shirt which is something my wife convinced me I look good in and now I’ll never take off, or a black one. That’s it. Two colours, two choices and either black jeans, shorts or if I’m at home my favourite track pants which I may have to write about later. It’s not only taken the pain of wondering what to wear away, but also stopped me from making stupid fashion decisions, mind you I have someone now who wouldn’t let me leave the house if I had.

And it’s been in the discovery that I am, in fact, allowed to wear the same thing every day and no one will care, that I’ve found the perfect t-shirt and one that, as long as the company stays trading, I will probably wear until the day I’m buried in it.

Norse Projects Short Sleeve White Tee

This white tee from Norse Projects. This is it. This is, in my opinion, the holy grail. Previously I’d gone through Uniqlo shirts at a great rate, and while they are great for the price they just don’t hold their colour or shape and I found myself replacing them every couple of months. But now I’ve found my shirt, that’s it. I have two black and two white hanging in my wardrobe and while that may seem very Patrick Bateman, I find it comforting.

Do you have a go to t-shirt? Or something you’ll continue buying until the very end? I’d love to hear yours!

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Jonty Thompson

Writer/Barista from Melbourne, Australia. Writing about pop culture and general geekery through an anxious lens while attempting personal development.