Friday, October 12, 2007

Girly Tees and Graphics: Classy Defines Cool

Girly Tees and Graphics: Classy Defines Cool

What do you look for in the way of decorated ladies wear? Is a kooky, humorous slogan what floats your boat? Or would you rather strike a pose in a simply decorated, no-text design—maybe something feminine, filigree and floral? If you’re like most buyers in this niche, your T shirt wardrobe runs the gamut between these basic extremes.

A great looking T Shirt on a great looking gal is a beautiful sight. Maybe it goes without saying that clothing often serves as an extension of self. Personality and identity are often all right out there, expressed in the clothes we wear. The elements of artful design brought out in graphic screen prints should serve to enhance the tee shirt, with an eye to complimenting the colors and fit of the particular style of shirt. Then the personality the wearer brings to the tee shirt is the finishing touch.

A design that’s well integrated with the style of shirt totally grabs the eye. Conversely, designs not well thought out that look cluttered and junky will detract from the overall look. I think this is especially true of ladies wear—the wide variety of junior sized girl-cut tees and tanks. Some very popular styles of late include baby doll tees, raglans, inside-out tees, spaghetti tanks, shirt-in-shirts, vintage heathers and vintage ringers. Since many of these girly styles are carefully crafted and tailored to be figure-flattering, it’s also appropriate that they display a great deal of thought and care was put into the screen print as well.

Of course, this means more exacting demands are put on the graphic designer to capture the heart of the ladies-wear market! Relying on the same old same old won’t cut it with today’s fashion-forward women consumers for whom quality is of the essence. Most designers like me had to notch up the quality to stay in the game when more and more girly styles began to flood the market. Now, both for me and for many other designers, the overall vision has become that classy defines cool—following this banner has always resulted in a product that looks simply the bombest on the gal.

Theme-wise, floral designs can be exquisite, in particular, single rose motifs are striking. A certain feminine fluidity seems to work well as the leading design element in floral prints. Metallic filigree also works well, particularly on dark fabrics and when a more or less symmetrical design framework is lending simplicity to help focus in on the beauty of the lace-like intricacy. There are lots of successful metallic graphic designs populating the fashion marketplace lately. O.K., so now, what about slogans on ladies wear?

One friend of mine says that she never wears a top with printed words. She is in fact expressing a widespread ambivalence many women can have toward the value of text in clothing design. Sometimes I appreciate text; sometimes I don’t. When I do, I find it’s the way a particular style font flows together with the art that grabs me. More often than not, this means I’m looking at artist- crafted, hand- lettered text. I’ll often notice the design elements of text before I’m even aware of what the words are saying.

Then when I do catch on to what I’m reading, if the slogan connects with me in some way, I’m even more into the design. Really great designs for ladies styles can range from classic to zany. Both of these extremes are relaxed, easy-going and steer clear of in-your-face offensive jibes. Enduring fashions rich with fun, artful, eye-catching designs are a joy to wear and make their own elegant statements.

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