by Tara Osipoff on July 12, 2012
French Graphic Tees… Eh.
I sit at my computer in search of how to begin a post about the French-Canadian influence on graphic tees in Western Canada.
I’m trying to decide whether to discuss the fact that Quebec—the heavily populated French-Canadian province—has tried to separate itself from Canada and become its own country, or whether I should simply leave that little tidbit of juice alone.
Nah… I’ll touch on it, since I brought it up.
Unfortunately, Quebec is like a little sister stuck in the shadow of its larger sister, Canada. However, no one can say that Quebec hasn’t tried to leave; the ‘80s and early ‘90s were filled with Quebec’s attempts to separate. Although wanting to preserve its French heritage and attributes by forming its own nation, Quebec was forced to realize that leaving Canada would hurt its social, political, and economic interests. It would be an expensive, self-inflicted segregation to say the least. So, after the dust has settled, how do Western Canadians feel about Quebec’s attempts to ditch us? Well, it’s like a poorly attempted break-up: Oh, we’re still together—but the relationship isn’t really the same. Quebec publicly rejected Western Canada, yet there is still something about them that draws us in. That sweet French language gets us all.
So now you are curious. “How the hell does this affect French graphic tees in the West!?”
Well, the interesting thing here is that even though Quebec shunned us, we are dying to wear its beloved French language on our tees. It’s almost as if this is our attempt to connect with our French-Canadian heritage. I mean sure, we could learn the language or move to Quebec and immerse ourselves in the French-Canadian culture. But for most of us non-Quebecers, we’ve decided what the heck—we’ll throw some clever French phrases on tee shirts, make them look sexy, and call it a day. We’ve done our part to connect.
Heritage and history aside, I enjoy my beloved French tees for countless other reasons. One main reason is that when someone asks me what those painted words across my chest say, I suddenly find myself bonding with them over our mutual ignorance for the French language. Another reason (and perhaps my favourite reason) for wearing these tees is the reaction I get when a beautiful French person reads the phrase spilled on my shirt. Lost in their accent, I find myself forgetting that the majority of French Canadians tried to leave us. Rejection should hurt, but when a Quebecer says “I want to leave you” in our nation’s second official language, well—it only makes me want you more. Gimme that French tee any day.
Most of my collection of French graphic tees comes from Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, and a few local shops. The beauty of graphic tees is that they are usually found in a loose, slouchy fit that is ideal for nearly every body type. These tees are beautifully suited with a pair of tight leggings and some rockin’ heels. (The leggings featured here are from American Apparel.) However, if leggings aren’t your style, you can also pair a French tee with a pair of vintage inspired jeans—and a few tears in these jeans never hurt! Accessorize simply with a fab pair of studded earrings, or take it from day to night by tossing on a great watch and some studded wrist accessories.
Whatever you do with these French tees, just own them. Whether you speak fluent French or can barely utter an intelligible bonjour, pick up a hot French tee and rock it like you were born to wear it.
Warning: If you do not speak French, then smoking a cigarette while drinking wine just isn’t as sexy on you. Sorry—but there are some things that our dear French Canadians just simply do better!
Be Kind, Be Happy, ‘Cause Life is Beautiful, so Dress for the Occasion…