Labels in clothing

Ever since mass produced clothing has been around and there has been a middle-class of folks that need to do their own laundry, there have been labels in clothes that are supposed to offer information that should be valuable for as long as you own your clothes. These labels usually consist of a piece of material sewn into the collar or waistband of the clothing.

In the past (post industrial revolution, pre-twenty-first century), these were necessary evils that allowed folks to know care and handling instructions for garments. And, as middle age encroaches, sizes seem to be more and more important as you migrate to different sizes of pants and underclothes over time…
Not to mention that on groggier mornings, having a guide as to which way the garment should be worn can be handy.

However, how many people have purchased a garment that had not one, not two but three or more tags. Offering no more information than the single tag but, presumably, there was some advantage in the manufacturing process if the information can be spread out over multiple tags.

Otherwise flawless garments are disfigured with the outline of the tags bulging at the back, or worse, who hasn’t seen an attractive woman, dressed to kill, with the clothing tag sticking up against the nape of her neck prising the image of sophistication away from her and ensuring that she remains in the realm of the rest of us mere mortals.
When I kiss my wife goodbye in the morning it’s almost reflex for me to reach around behind her neck and tuck the labels from at least one of the minimum of 3 layers of clothing she’s wearing back down inside the garments.

For guys, since it really isn’t as important how we look, the biggest irritant of clothing tags is that they’re, well… irritating. I have a pair of Nike running shorts (yeah, yeah I know, buying into crass consumerism – YOU find a decent pair of running shorts in under 15 minutes) that has labels sewn into both sides of the waistband at the back. Ironically, the inner tags are of no consequence, but the outer one, being made of a durable fabric and sewn such that even the four horsemen of the apocalypse would be stymied in trying to remove it, chafes when I run. I actually need to hike my underwear up in the back or tuck my shirt into my shorts – neither of which are images you want to hold in your mind for very long – in order to run comfortably.

I remember actually ruining a shirt by trying to cut out a tag that was integrally sewn into the seam at the back of the neck. I got a little too close to that damned seam and split it.

Recently Mich bought me some undershirts that have all that tag information printed on the inside back. Omigod! So the technology is there now where we don’t need to have those miserable labels at all. Their function, important as it is, can be done without being irritating or detracting from the garment purpose.

This technology may have been around for decades and I’m just noticing it now. I don’t have a great interest in my clothes except that they be comfortable and not too worn to be used in public places (for Mich’s edification at least).

Starting with my underclothes, I’m now emphasizing No Tags! Fruit of the Loom’s undershirts are a first step. All other things being equal, if their underpants are available in a label-less format (your guess whether they’d be boxers or briefs) then they get my patronage too.

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