I noticed the other day that, when I thought about it, a good number of my t-shirts are directly tied to a memory of a relationship. Now I do not mean that I remember wearing them in association with a particular moment of a relationship, I mean that literally, I would not own said t-shirts without having been in a particular relationship or arrangement. Some of the oldest are my basic black t-shirts. I bought these while I was dating in college because I needed something to wear out, but also had no money to spend. While they have probably become an affectation of faux-simplicity, they are also nostalgic in that sense.
More specific shirts I know even better. I bought my M83 t-shirt with the “fry kids” from their Junk album at a concert with someone that I had, at one point, hoped to end up spending the rest of my life. It is possible I would have gone to that concert with someone else, but in all likelihood I would not have bought that exact t-shirt. Another, I bought at the movie theater when I went to see Interstellar. The actual shirt is a merchandising tie-in with Pacific Rim, but it was on sale in the lobby and looked like a great memento of the occasion. Another shirt I bought at a concert for City and Colour. My ex on that occasion was an ardent Dallas Green fan, and I liked the design of the shirt.
I realize that this entry would do well with some pictures, and I may come back and add some when a better photographic opportunity arises.
Another ex-affiliated shirt I wear regularly is an overlarge Champion-brand Brevard College t-shirt. I bought it as a memento of the beautiful time spent in the foothills of Pisgah natural forest, even though said ex ultimately never completed the degree program there. Yet another t-shirt I bought at Express, because yet another relationship I had involved innumerable shopping trips to the mall and to that store in particular. I am a sucker for sales and dark blue, and so ended up with that shirt and a bright red one of similar textile quality.
There are other t-shirts, from other memories, but I think that it is noteworthy that unlike many many other objects I own, be they books, carvings, rugs, furniture, or what have you, the most emotionally charged are ones that I wear on a daily basis, washing and wearing and wearing through as time passes, until perhaps one day I will end up telling the full stories associated with each shirt like a qipu knot of utilitarian fashion.