SERENDIPITY HEADER--Flare-AtteanView_003

Just as self-publishing has redefined authorship for many people, so has the “design-your-own” clothing business changed what we wear. Specialty shirts for teams, schools, and organizations have long been an industry, but in recent years “swag wear” has become ubiquitous. It’s everywhere. There’s slogan clothing for anything you can think of. And a whole bunch of stuff you would never have thought of.


You can find a commemorative shirt for movies, authors (living and dead), as well as every book and concert tour … not to mention TV shows and their individual characters, historical, alive, or fictional — and any combination of the aforementioned.

I don’t remember exactly when tee-shirts with clever sayings became the clothing of choice for everybody, but if I had to take a guess, I’d say about 30 years ago.

Marilyn and Garry by Bette Stevens

Marilyn and Garry by Bette Stevens

That’s the first time I remember buying a tee-shirt that had people stopping me on the street so they could read it. It gave humorous definitions of world religions as they relate to the word “shit.” The only problem was it took a while to get through all the words, so I had to stand there and wait for people to finish reading.

Since then, the world has burst into a blooming bouquet of slogans and logos on all kinds of clothing, though not yet (but never say “never”) on business suits. It will happen. Just please, not yet.


Somewhere along the line there came into my world “CustomInk” who can make anything you want in the way of a tee-shirt, sweatshirt, mug, mousepad, pen, calendar, or poster. You name it, they can put your design on it.

Use a photograph, drawing, or use the company’s design tools to create something that says “me” or “you.”  I’ve done both. I’ve designed special shirts as Christmas and birthday presents … and of course for Serendipity because … well … why not? Of all the enterprises in which I’ve participated throughout my life, this one is the most “me.”


There are hundreds, probably thousands of places doing custom design and printing. CustomInk happens to be the one with which I have worked. Despite sticker shock, I’ve never been disappointed with the quality of the product. I tend to reward companies that do good work by continuing to give them my work … however little it may amount to in the overall scheme of things.

Since the subject in this week’s “Discover” challenge is essentially “clothing that defines us,” what could possible define us more than unique clothing we design and create?

I should also point out what I kick I get out of designing stuff. I’ve always enjoyed design, whether it was illustrations for a technical guide, a book cover … or a tee-shirt. There’s a special satisfaction in designing apparel. It’s not high fashion, but it’s my fashion. These days, you don’t have to wait for someone else to come up with your perfect fashion statement.

You can make your own statement. Using your own words and pictures.


Categories: discovery, Fashion, Humor, Photography, Sayings and Platitudes

Tags: , , , , , , ,

12 replies

  1. love those shirts. so great to have something so personalized!


    • The sweatshirts were my first stab at making something for myself — us, really. They were really expensive because they are printed front and back. The t-shirt was a reboot. I printed ONLY the front and a tee is a lot less expensive than a sweatshirt. I saved both designs and I would happily do more, but making one or two — or in the case of the tees — four — pieces is not very economical. It is, however, a LOT of fun and I do recommend it as gifts for people you love. I made Garry a “Living Legend” shirt and the “Overlord” shirt for my granddaughter. Unique, at the very least.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I never wear T-shirts anymore because I like the open neck of a polo better… but I had a few when I was a kid, and the one I remember best was very popular with Cardinals fans back in the late 80’s when he had a bitter rivalry with the New York Mets. I think it was launched by a local radio station, and it had some green blotches on it with the words “The Mets are pond scum!” Classy, I know, but every once in a while I’ll still see someone wearing one at the game!


    • I think Garry has every baseball cap and t-shirt he has ever owned. Some of them are held together by lint, but he treasures them. He hasn’t changed size more than very slightly since high school, so he never throws anything away on principle … and nothing baseball or movie related because, well, a man has to have priorities!


  3. Nice shirts. They would probably sell like hotcakes.


  4. Great post! I couldn’t help but think of my two favorite personalized t-shirts…well, one was a sweatshirt.

    When Michael left for college I was given a sweatshirt that said,

    “Your nest isn’t empty until their shit is out of your basement!”

    Wish I still had it so I could wear it around my house now. (Michael and his sons are living in that basement.)

    And my all-time favorite: my sister, while working the front desk at the Sheraton Waikiki, would get mercilessly teased, by tacky customers, for her inherited, uh, shall we say MASSIVE bosom. (She’s my half-sister so I’m assuming the genes came from her unrelated-to-me ancestors!)

    Anyway, in a show of support, her co-workers had a t-shirt made for her with the following command strategically printed across, well, you know.

    It said “Don’t stare! Grow your own!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Until pretty recently, there was no such thing as “slogan clothing.” Imagine that. All those centuries when you couldn’t make your statement on your shirt and had to find a way to slip it into conversation 🙂

      (My son and his family lived in our basement for a full decade.)(And the rest of the crap is still there.)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I should really get moving to have something printed for me. Have a few ideas. In the meanwhile I have enough to wear for the time being. My favourite shop with my size and needs in town as now closed down due to online competition. I can order a lot of stuff online, but it is not always the quality I want.


    • The first time I did it was as a Christmas gift for my Granddaughter. She had an “alter ego” she called “Overlord.” Overlord had a separate voice and attitude and would pop out of Kaity at family gatherings. I’m not sure every family would have quite understood that our granddaughter has two personas, so we suggested that Overlord stay home and not go to school with Kaity. I made her an Overlord shirt 🙂


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