As a loyal viewer of What Not to Wear and a true life victim of my own fashion choices, I am a believer in the power of clothes.
Now, I love the Hartford Whalers. I don't care that they are no longer an NHL team. It's irrelevant. You are probably wondering what this has to do with clothes. Well, I recently decided I needed a Whalers shirt that is not the sweat-stained, paint-splattered, hole-under-the-left-arm "Top 10 Things to Love about the Hartford Whalers" shirt I got when I was 10 years old and now wear to the gym. I still love this shirt and will continue to wear it until it is no longer a shirt (my friend Becca once said, "pants are pants until they fall down"; I think a similar axiom probably applies to upper-body garments). But sometimes you want to show your love without the constant fear of people stopping you on the street to say, "Look into bleach."
So I found myself a new shirt. It is great. It is simple-- heather grey, just the logo on the front. I cut off the collar, as I am wont to do, and now it is perfect. The only problem is that when you work in an office and spend the majority of your weekend hours in your pajamas or your aforementioned sweaty, painty Whalers shirt, you don't have so many opportunities to wear your awesome new shirt. You can't necessarily wear it to go out on Saturday night--it's pretty hipster to wear the tee shirt of your now-defunct NHL team (though massively cooler than wearing the tee shirt of the band you're going to see-- don't be that guy). Which is why it was so convenient that I went to a party in Columbia Heights Saturday night. If you can't dress up as a hipster to go to Columbia Heights, then I don't know when you can. Okay, when you go to H Street, but I digress.
I should also note that this Whalers-centric outfit was a pretty daring (read: dubious) choice. Marissa almost talked me out of it, and were I a more reasonable person she would have succeeded. But as I said, I will only be young enough to make egregious fashion mistakes--like a Whalers shirt with a frilly, borderline-too-short skirt and heels--once, and I have to get them all out of my system now in case I am ever famous enough to get called out for these choices in a public forum. Plus, I know how I react when I see people who identify themselves as Whalers fans, and I sort of wanted to see what would happen.
What happened: people love the Whalers love. More importantly, the Whalers shirt lends itself to a conversation a little more than, say, the plaid skirt and draws comments from specific types of people:
a. Guys from Canada ("Well, you like the Whalers, so I respect you.")
b. Guys from New York/New England ("Are you from Hartford?" "No!" "Oh, okay.")
c. Guys from North Carolina ("[slurred, drunken teasing about the Carolina Hurricanes]")
Lesson: The Whalers shirt is always the right decision. I would never encourage anyone to pretend to be a Whalers fan. I get very upset by disingenuous wearers of Whalers gear-- really, ask the guy who was sporting a vintage-esque Whalers shirt last time I was in Front Page. When someone asks you about your shirt, the answer is never, "Oh, I don't even like them. I'm from L.A."
But if you can hum the Brass Bonanza, you should know that proclaiming your pride in your now-lost NHL team can have positive results. And if you happen to encounter a Captain No-Fun who leans over and says, "You do know the Whalers are no longer a team, right?" you can just smile and say, "They live on in my heart."
This will keep you from saying what you're really thinking (well, also thinking): "If you can't say anything nice, stop looking at my boobs."