Icon Wear It On My Chest

 I am having ambivalent feelings towards a particular genre of garment. As I surf the net for new and exciting pieces to try/buy/wear/blog, I keep seeing this type of garment cropping-up. I would be reluctant to call this garment (and those like it) an actual trend…no, I don’t think it has approached fever-pitch popularity of that magnitude.  But nevertheless, there are constant examples presenting themselves before me.

Today, this one presented itself.

Boy. Band of Outsiders sweater
photo courtesy Moda Operandi

The lover of nautical-chic simplicity in me likes this sweater. It has clean lines, it layers, would work with just about anything, and the sailboat is awfully cute. I am drawn to it.

But… And it is a big but. (Insert your own “big but” joke here).

Apart from an almost childish quality imparted by the sailboat image, I can’t help but feel that the use of such a recognizable icon to convey the theme “nautical” is just a bit too literal of an interpretation of the genre to be chic. Kind of a self-styling cop-out, if you will. I know, I know…these iconic images are meant to be worn with a heavy spritz of irony, I get it. And so does Bill Blass, apparently.

Bill Blass Spring/Summer 2012 Colleciton (cute!)
photo Style.com

In art classes (recurring theme alert) they teach you to steer clear of the literal, to push yourself into conveying a message or feeling without resorting a literal representation of it. Maybe that’s where my problem lies. I have been pre-conditioned. Thing is, I think we are all just a little bit drawn to icons, as these two design houses are. But I for one, cannot get over the hump...I just can't go there. Continuing on in this nautical theme as an example, if I wish to convey the jaunty crisp and summery vibe of having just stepped off of a yacht  (and often I do), surely there must be another way besides tying both shoelaces in bowlines, hanging lighthouses from each ear, and covering my shoulders in braided epaulettes. Although that said, the eye patch, peg-leg, and parrot are all sartorial options that have not had nearly as much play as the aforementioned nautical cliches. Perhaps I'm on to something. Surely nobody has thought of that...

Oh.....Right. Forgot about him.
John Galliano, courtesy style.com

The other hangup I have with wearing a large icon smack in the middle of my chest is that it feels like you may be sailing dangerously close to the wind. The wind that blows you in this direction.


                                                 Crazy Cat Lady jersey tee by CafePress

Clearly I mean no offense to the designers (or cat lovers) of the world. I get that we, as humans, like to signal our interest in certain things by how we decorate our bodies. Fair enough. But I would just rather have someone's first impression of me be that I am chic and put together, not that I am a fan of a certain sport or breed of dog, because it is squarely imprinted on the centre of my chest.

Hello,  my name is the Highland Fashionista, and
I quite enjoy a spirited game of tennis.....

Still feel that niggling pull? Yeah, me too.  But alas, there is hope. You can do what I did when I found myself attracted to bird icons. Try a print instead. It's just so much easier, and those who see you coming down the street will see the totality of your look, and not just that thing in the middle of your chest. 

Old Navy

Lilly Pulitzer
at Palm Garden



  1. Totally agree and the photo of you with the tennis racquet is hysterical.

    1. Well it is Wimbeldon here in the UK..in keeping...

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. And yet would you wear something with some designer name, logo, or icon on it? It's just the same thing and people are paying for the privilege, worse yet! I really, really hate seeing someone's tusshie with "------ couture" on it. Talk about the absolute pinnacle of tacky in my dictionary. I saw a picture not long ago of a woman whose entire outfit was emblazoned with the Louis Vuitton logo everywhere, and all I could think was, she really shouldn't have worn something so tight. Like a tattoo, something very small and discreet is one thing. Having the whole circus tattooed on your body, and the tent equipment on your face, is something else!

  4. Mama frog, I couldn't agree more. Not only is wearing head to toe logos (high end or otherwise) tacky, I think it shows a total lack of imagination and insecurity in styling oneself. Although it does give us something to stare at and mock in airports, I'll give you that...


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