RIP, Extreme Makeover. As a shirt, you were perfect, and as a shirt, you will be missed.
(note upon posting: what follows here is a discussion which revolves around certain personal feelings I have which I choose, generally, not to discuss with many people and which I have not ever really delved into publicly on Hubski. these feelings are difficult to put into words. please respect me, and them. this is also, i acknowledge, an overly wordy exploration of them.)
Bought in 2005 for less than ten dollars, on post-Halloween clearance by my mother in a J. C. Penny's for me while I was "reading in the car," aka texting my first real boyfriend and, I remember clearly, having honestly one of many unpleasant little mental crisis-moments endemic to the fun and vicious control/self-loathing issues from which I suffered at the time, "Extreme Makeover" waltzed into my life, a love story on the sly. At first I was nonplussed. It's unusual for my mother to peg my style so completely, even to this day, so my first reaction to the shirt was lukewarm. It was unlikely to even be the right size, knowing her.
But "Extreme Makeover" turned out to be the perfect size, not only a medium (as was correct) but a comfortable medium, a loose medium that was not too loose, a shirt that I could wear when I felt fat but which was never so big that I felt it made me look fat. The skull combined with its quippy caption only became more amusing, more in line with my sense of humor, over the years. The shirt itself was black, which was essential if I was going to love it, and simple, which you can tell because after describing the fit, front decal, and background color I have nothing left to describe about "Extreme Makeover" at all. Which is hard for me, because for me, for years, this was The Perfect Shirt, and this is its' eulogy, and I want you to know why.
Wouldn't you think a Perfect Shirt would have a million awesome descriptive elements that a person loved about it?
I'm sure part of what made "Extreme Makeover" so perfect, for me, was its simplicity.
Forgive me as I segue into overly personal and revealing backstory.
I have difficulty with getting dressed. Or maybe I have difficulty with confidence, or maybe I have issues about appearance and presentation. I should stop trying to put this into words and instead put it into examples: sometimes, I've been known to get dressed in a comfortable, cute outfit to go out to the bar with my friends, drive 45 minutes to the bar, get out of the car, and walk past the first reflective storefront mirror-window on the way to the bar. By that point I will "realize" ('determine' is probably more accurate) that my outfit is terrible, it will attract too much attention, I feel uncomfortable in it, I cannot go out like this, and my full-body reflection in the glass windows will only serve as evidence towards this. Sometimes I walk up and down a block or two of sidewalk, determined to meet my friends now anyway, then turning around as I change my mind. Sometimes I do this a few times. Sometimes I get in my car, drive home, and change. Sometimes I make it to the bar and fret about what I am wearing, constantly.
For more context: I live and bar in a college town, where I am surrounded by lithe carefree late-teens-and-twenty-something ladies who I see on Main Street sporting literally every possible combination or lack of combination of outre, on-trend, revealing, attention-grabbing apparel which you could ever imagine. Realistically, this is an environment which, if I could base my comfort level rationally on my clothing-surroundings, I should feel able to wear anything. For more, more context: Items which have caused such a crisis as I've described above include, for instance, a pair of denim short shorts. A black sundress. A retro blue-and-green-swirled dress which went to the knee and had sequins on it (the sequins contributed to the dilemma). A pair of 3-in wedge heels. What I am trying to say is that I understand everyone, to some degree, may relate to the feelings of mine I describe; however, for me, these feelings seem to come more frequently, influence my mood more severely, and generally unduly able to disturb my intentions compared to the 'norm.' Whatever that is.
Call it what you want: I have difficulty getting dressed. (You should hear the "professional officewear" side of this conversation!)
As such, over time, I've discovered there are certain pieces of clothing which can save my mental life. I call them "safe" clothes. They're pieces which, no matter what, I can throw on, go out in public, and feel comfortable. They must, of course, also confirm to my aesthete; I'm sure it's a combination of "I agree with the vibe this shirt is putting out" as well as "I never have to question how I feel I look in this shirt" which leads to these perennial, and mental-life-saving, favorite "comfort clothes." I need such pieces, or there would be days I would not go out in public because of how I felt about myself and how I looked in all the rest of my perfectly normal, perfectly-fine-fitting clothing.
"Extreme Makeover" was the first such piece of safe clothing, for me. It was a safe shirt for years before I realized that's what it was; before I realized the concept of "safe shirts" and before I began consciously trying to make sure I always had a small collection of them in my wardrobe; before I began to identify their hallmarks and seek them out.
It is no surprise "Extreme Makeover" has thrown in its proverbial towel; what is more of a surprise is how well it's held up to the frequent wear for the past 13 years. I remember reaching for this shirt constantly. I remember how "Extreme Makeover" resolved every single put-on-every-single-shirt-you-own-and-hate-the-way-you-look-in-all-of-them session as soon as I saw it, grabbed it, pulled it on. Really, each time it was a sigh of relief.
This shirt represents mental security to me in a very real and (I suspect) deeper-than-the-norm way.
Thank you, "Extreme Makeover." Sometimes idiots thought you were a Punisher T, and I suspect lots of times people didn't properly get what you were about.
Today I held you up to the light and I could see straight through you. You'd gotten so old your decal was wearing into holes. Your letters have been discolored for a long time. I knew this day was coming. And I have other safe shirts now, other shirts I can trust the way I learned I could trust you. Implicitly. Forever.
Thank you, Extreme Makeover, and RIP.