favorite shirt hanging in tree

Farewell, my lovely shirt

by Michael on July 7, 2013

I believe a garment should last at least a decade, sometimes even longer. It’s a trait I inherited from my father who held onto his 1970s-era wide ties forever, predicting they’d make a comeback someday along with sideburns and powder-blue leisure suits.

favorite shirtAnyone who is a regular reader of this blog may have noticed that I’m wearing the same shirt in practically every picture. It’s a fairly nondescript Columbia shirt, tan plaid on a black background. At first it wasn’t particularly one of my favorites, in fact it doesn’t even fit properly. I bought it when I weighed about 20 pounds more than I do now so I am swimming in it. But it was easy to maintain and went with just about everything I own.

After a few years I grew attached to it. By the time it reached the magic ten-year mark we were practically common-law spouses; but I always knew the day would come when I’d have to say good-bye. A prospect I didn’t relish.

favorite shirtIt was one of the four shirts I brought along on this trip (two long-sleeve and two short-sleeve). But after a year around the world it was finally fading and breaking down. By the time we reached Africa, near the end of our journey, I reached a sad conclusion. This shirt wasn’t coming home with me.

But how do you get rid of a favorite garment? Is there some sort of ceremony that covers this situation? Larissa suggested burning it (along with a few pairs of socks that could practically walk on their own). Along the way I’d seen a few interesting trees that were covered with discarded clothing. In the Australian Outback we spotted what was literally a shoe tree, that is, a tree covered with shoes. Further into the Outback we passed by a bra tree; draw your own conclusions what that one was covered with.

favorite shirt

Now we were staying deep into the Erongo Plain in Namibia, a long way from anywhere. I took the tree outside and hung it up for a few photos and a teary-eyed farewell. Then I left it there. I hope someone comes along who’ll treasure it like I did. Or perhaps in a few years that tree will be covered with other travelers’ shirts. Either way it will be a fitting memorial to a shirt that never let me down.

What items of clothing have you held onto forever and why?

Paige Conner Totaro July 7, 2013 at 9:14 am

I can so relate to this! We have been traveling for ten months, and my one pair of long pants us about to bite the dust. I just repaired a second hole last week so we could get through one more week of cold weather in Bogotá before heading to warmer climes, and then home. I think it may be time to say goodbye now. But yes, it does seem like some sort of ceremony is in order.

MissElaineous July 7, 2013 at 10:49 am

I dunno…..I could swear I saw this shirt in Cincinnati circa 1 month ago…..or perhaps you suffer from what a lot of men fashionistas do…same-basic-shirt-over-and-over-syndrome.

I still hold onto my West Norriton softball T shirt from 7th grade. I was so proud of it as it was the ONLY athletic team I was ever on. I don’t wear it, just can’t get rid of it. Maybe I need to try the storage-locker-for-a-year-approach.

Michael July 7, 2013 at 10:53 am

The shirt you saw in Cincinnati was the replacement shirt. It’s also in the picture up on the right of this page where I am standing next to Jimmy Carter. It does look pretty similar and hopefully I’ll still be wearing it in 10 years. I guess I’m not so fashion forward.

Michael July 7, 2013 at 10:54 am

Let us know what type of ceremony you come up with.

Anonymous July 7, 2013 at 11:05 am

I’m looking forward to new pictures without that shirt. And without the other 3 as well !
What is the replacement shirt ?

Cat of Sunshine and Siestas July 7, 2013 at 11:54 am

My boyfriend is the same way – he can never bear to part with anything until it is literally threadbare! I’m a bit more wasteful, I admit, but I’ve always donated my things when I can. Something I have yet to part with is a purple beach towel a friend bought me for my birthday – 13 years ago! It’s still in pretty good condition, and it’s just a special reminder of a friend who has, like her gift, stayed with me for ages.

Michael July 7, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Hi Cat,

My favorite beach towel was 25 years old. I guess I don’t go to the beach much. Unfortunately it got lost in one of our purges.

Michael July 7, 2013 at 5:32 pm

It looks remarkably similar. Same colors but the squares are slightly different sizes. Can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Savi of Bruised Passports July 10, 2013 at 6:23 am

This post made me chuckle 🙂 Jokes apart, it was such a refreshing change to read this in the age of fast fashion

Steve July 18, 2013 at 5:02 pm

You know, Larissa’s probably right, the socks should go to.

Marian July 22, 2013 at 8:59 am

I had a lovely turquoise suit I bought in the 70;s when I was 25 poiunds lighter. I keep it because there is always the hope that it will fit one day. Not a total waste. I sill wear the jacket over a turquoise dress of which I have many in the closet. You may notice that my favorite color is turquoise.

Previous post:

Next post: