Friday, August 3, 2012

5 Easy Guidelines For Sporting Geek Apparel

I was talking to a friend about a beautiful X-Men shirt he wanted to buy. It was a really nice shirt with great art, but he said he just couldn't buy it. I asked him why not? He replied "Because that would be a little too geeky, and I’m not sure I want to go down that road." While I understand his hesitation of being branded a geek, I'm here to tell you that geek is the new chic. And that's why I'm writing this post. You can be you. You can dress in geek clothing and make it look good if you follow The Jason Wasulko Fanboy Attire Guidelines®.

Now, I'm normally the last person to dish out fashion advice, but I know when it’s okay to wear certain shirts in public, and when it’s time to pretend someone planted it in your dresser.

1. It’s All About Percentage
When selecting a shirt, look at the proportion of the logo or print compared to the size of the shirt. This is the first trick in learning if it’s okay or not. I own shirts that take up 80% of the front, while others take up 30%. You've heard of less is more, right? Well I'm here to tell you that while 30% may be acceptable, 80% is taking it just a little too far.

Now you’re saying to yourself, “Self, you own shirts with massive screen prints on the front of it. What am I supposed to do? Toss them?” No! Simply, look to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Just as Indy cannot take the cup of Christ past the great seal, you cannot take that billboard you call a tee past the front door. If it has a massive print on the front, like my Civil War shirt with the every single Marvel character emblazoned on the front of it, then it must not cross the seal of my front door. It’s a sleep shirt. It’s a lounging around the house shirt. The print is waaaaay too big and it takes attention away from my handsome, geek-face. It’s also a black hole of branding myself an UBER-Geek, from which there is no escape. You know, the kind of person that lives at home with his mom and hasn't had "relations" with anyone other than... well... that drawing of Jean Grey.

2. Wear the Brand, Not the Man
So what kind of shirt can see the light of day? Stick to symbols and logos. No faces. Superman's, Batman’s, Spiderman’s, the Fantastic Four’s – these logos are all okay, permitting they only take up to (say it with me now) 30% of the real estate on the front of the shirt.

A Punisher logo that takes up then entire front and looks like a 3 year old splattered paint on it and magically arrived at a skull, is a sleep shirt. DO NOT LEAVE HOME WITH THAT. Yuck.

Additionally, the more obscure the symbol, the better. It’s fun to pick out the hardcore geeks out of an average crowd. I have two Star Wars shirts, one with the rebel logo, and one with Boba Fett's bantha skull on it, and it’s great. It’s like that scene in Fight Club, where people in fight club recognize each other outside of Fight Club. They're not allowed to talk about Fight Club (see rules 1 and 2), so they just nod to one another. A real nerd will nod at your shirt and keep walking. He or she just acted cool by acknowledging the awesomeness at your obscure reference, but decided not to declare it in public.

This brings up another good point. Please don’t shout, "Hey, nice shirt!” when wearing the same one as somebody else in the room. You might as well dress up like a twin in matching clothing with your significant other. You just crossed the line in every culture – much less geek culture. You don't have to call it out. Unless they're an idiot, they'll see you're wearing the same shirt. Be Cool.

3. Size Matters Alot
It’s true – size does matter. I don't think I need to go deep into this, but some geeks are bigger than others, and that's okay. We all come in different shapes and sizes, but it never looks good to wear a shirt that two sizes too small. I don't care if it has your favorite cover of the Silver Surfer on it. I'm sure it looks retro and all, but if it’s not in your size, it was never meant to be. Stick to an appropriately-sized polo until you find something that fits. Leave the spandex to our favorite comic book heroes and the high-end cosplayers.

4. WASH IT! (Especially before Cons)
To be fair, most of these guidelines can be thrown out when attending Comic Con. This one absolutely, 100% can NEVER, EVER be skipped. Just because you’re dressed like Wolverine, doesn’t mean you have enough reason to smell like him after taking down three Sentinels. Are you wearing your favorite Yoda shirt? You don’t have to smell like Dagobah. Good hygiene is just part of living in society. Don’t go to cons if you want to smell like the Thanksgiving dinner rotting in the garbage can a week before the garbage men dispose of it. Be respectful to your fellow nerd. Wash the shirt/costume.

5. WWHD?
Okay - stay with me here. Who is the coolest of all genre characters? Who is suave, confident, good with the ladies, charming and handsome as hell? Han Solo - that's who! So when picking out that shirt, whether it’s that vintage Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles logo shirt, or that full torso (abs included) Captain America shirt, I ask myself, would Han Solo wear this? Probably not. He’s too cool for any of it. But would he smile and wink at you? If the answer is no - then this is the not the shirt you’re looking for. Move along.

Pop Quiz!
Q. I own a schematic shirt of the Millenium Falcon. The schematic takes up about 90% of the shirt. Based on the Jason Wasulko Fanboy Attire Guidelines®, should I wear this?

A. Based on the percentage rule, the answer is no. But based on my first rule - would Han Solo buy this? Probably not. He's too cool to wear any geek shirt. But if Chewbacca buys it for his birthday, I'm certain he wouldn't be upset that he owns a shirt of the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.

So there you have it, 5 easy guidelines for sporting geek apparel. To sum it up, ask yourself these five things. Does the print take up most of the space on the front? Yes? Fuggedaboutit! Is it a  picture of the Joker smiling at you? The jokes on you. Never wear the character, only the symbol. Is it in your size, or would it hold you in like a pair of spanks? I don't think I need to provide you with an answer to that. Does it have a mustard stain from SDCC ’07? Take a trip to the Laundromat! Would Han Solo say "I have a bad feeling about this?" If so, drop it in the rancor pit. 

So next time you see your version of that beautiful X-men shirt, buy away! Let your geek flag fly – just please remember to wear it responsibly.

Jason Wasulko
Contributing Writer

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