When The T-Shirt Is More Than Just A T-Shirt

Image by: Spc. Elayseah Woodard-Hinton
By Phillip K. Issa

Beloved cultural icons have rocked them seemingly for their entire careers. For me, the three that immediately come to mind are comedian Louis C.K., music mogul and reality television sensation Simon Cowell, and finally, actor James Dean.

Each name represents essence of wearing a t-shirt in the proper context: Style, form and function. Three bold choices by three bold people who just love the feel of cotton.

And that’s what the blank t-shirt says about the wearer: I’m bold. I don’t need a logo on my chest. I don’t need print designs or clever words emblazoned all over my upper torso.

Or maybe it’s just laundry day.

Louis C.K.

The current king of the tee is indeed Louis C.K., the schlubby stand-up who stars in the hit half-hour comedy Louie on FX, as well as multiple broadcast and recorded comedy specials.

He is considered one of the funniest guys on the planet and guess what? He wears a black t-shirt. All the time. A run-of-the-mill tee and run-of-the-mill blue jeans, that’s is the Louis C.K. “uniform.”

In his bits, Louie describes his awful body shape lending us the clue that his t-shirt look is more functional than fashion forward. You know, to cover his lumpiness. The t-shirt look is also future-proof in a sense, as it gives Louie the ability to gain 20-30 pounds and it won’t be noticeable on him.

Simon Cowell

American Idol/The X-Factor star Simon Cowell has always gained great appreciation from me for wearing a classic black t-shirt while appearing on TV in front of as many as 3o million people a pop.

And while no one should pay attention to what Simon says, they should pay close attention to the way he looks: great in a fitted tee. And his fit is not too tight, either.

On Cowell, the t-shirt looks sharp, powerful and draws more attention to his face, which was probably why he started wearing them in the first place.

James Dean

Really, James Dean is more legend than fact. We’ve all seen those famous photos of Dean with his slick hair, denim ensemble, and sparkling white tee. But what do we really know about him?

Something about a car crash and unrealized potential … and he wore a white t-shirt.

Yeah, James’ fashion choice is almost as famous as he is. Need proof? He wouldn’t be in this article if it wasn’t because of his t-shirt.