The cheapest fashion

White T-shirts are all the rage

Fairfield Daily Republic ©

White T-shirts - the latest frugal fashion for male teenagers.

If you think it's gang-related, you're wrong. Everyone wears them - whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, 4.0 GPA students, soccer players and nerds. The nouveau fashion doesn't discriminate.

It's really not that noticeable because we're so infected by teens donning shirts that promote free advertisement to various entities that we ignore their style of dress.

Well, folks, these shirts advertise only one thing - themselves.

"I think of all the fashion things teens have done in the last 10 years, this is the best," said Brad Stanhope, associate editor for the Daily Republic, my cubicle neighbor and father of two teenage boys.

I didn't realize it was such a big thing (maybe I'm in a bubble?) until he told me about his son wearing an over-sized white T-shirt to school - it's especially cool to have the "X-Large" adhesive strip still stuck on the shirt, by the way.

Trying to investigate this fashion while taking advantage of an opportunity, I checked out the students sitting somewhat diligently at B. Gale Wilson middle school during an assembly this week and realized, yes, it's the new fad. Various boys from sixth to eighth grade were wearing the over-sized shirts layered over other T-shirts. It's true!

Once confined to undershirt status, the tees have surfaced above all brand names to create its own entity; to slam the overly-priced shirts (four white shirts for $10) and bring justice to the simple life of white tees and jeans, just like the good ol' days. Well, maybe that's a stretch.

Apparently, there has been mayhem in other areas of the country regarding this latest fashion, such as in Pittsburgh, Penn., where upscale clubs, restaurants, stores and schools have banned white tees in their dress codes.

In North Carolina, school administrators handed a 10-day suspension to a student wearing a white tee. And in Cleveland, a city council member claimed young men in oversized white tees were terrorizing his neighborhood!

Why, you ask?

The style came to fruition thanks to rap groups, such as Dem Franchize Boyz, who wear 4X-Large tees and express in their most passionate voice:

"I slang in my White Tee. I bang in my White Tee. All in the club spitting game in my White Tee. I bling in my White Tee . . . "

Given this, it should be no surprise that law officials are now on white-tee patrol in some states. According to the Washington Post, "Some law enforcement officials consider it the street uniform du jour for drug dealers, gang members and thieves, a criminal ensemble featured in maddeningly broad radio dispatches: 'The suspect was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and dark pants.' "

So what does that say for your son, who you feel pretty confident doesn't participate in gang activities, is not in the hood or hasn't broken any laws?

"What else could we ask for? It's the cheapest fashion!" Brad bellowed over the cubicle wall. "Now if we can just find some way to make PayLess Shoe Source tennis shoes popular, it will be a perfect teenage fashion world."

Or it could be that teenagers are putting an end to societal classes, uniting lower-, middle- and upper-class selves under the sheath of white cotton.

What do you think?