Why is everyone so obsessed with clothing tags?

It seems to me that the tag in my whatever shirt I’m wearing is always hanging out. I’m constantly bombarded by people stating, “Your tag is hanging out,” and–worse yet–people who have the gull to just reach out and tuck the tag back into my shirt for me. That drives me absolutely insane because, as much of an extrovert as I am, I don’t really like to be touched by people I didn’t expressly invite to do so. Most of the time, people don’t go around touching people without their permission. They only do it when the tag of your shirt is sticking out of your clothes; only then do they overtaken by this moral obligation to reach out and adjust the tag for you. Even guys will do it to women! The same guys who would look away embarrassed when they accidentally bump your foot under the table during a work meeting.

This morning I’m wearing a summer top with a neckline that bunches like a turtleneck at my throat. Because the fabric is rather loose, the tags are always falling back out. Every time I wear this shirt, I get multiple polite reminders that the tag is out and/or uninvited assistance to fix it. I was on my way to the office “commissary” to buy coffee and a coworker (female) says, “Your tag is out. Do you want me to adjust it for you?”

At least she asked. “No,” I replied gingerly. “And it doesn’t matter; this shirt’s tags always come back out.”

As I made my way towards coffee nirvana (we brew Starbucks at this office, which is one of the only benefits of working here), I began to ponder, why it is that people are so obsessed about the tag of your shirt being exposed. Yeah, I know, it probably looks dorky to have it hanging out like that. But why the compulsive need to fix the situation?

I can’t think of a single time I’ve hassled anyone about their tag being out much less felt at liberty to reach out and touch them to fix it. In fact, I am not even sure I see it that often. Maybe most people remove all their tags. Maybe I just have weird clothes. Maybe I’m just dumb when it comes to putting my clothes on.

Are we such an anal society that just some small little thing out of place causes us to become so focused on fixing it that we lose all sense of social graces (ie, reaching out and fixing it) to “put it right”? What’s so wrong with the tag of your shirt showing? What if I decided to wear all my clothes inside out? What would you do then?

At the same time, I have to admit that I might be a tad oversensitive when it comes to people making comments about my personal appearance. I do get annoyed when people point out other imperfections in my clothes, such as a coffee stain, or a lingering crumb or cat hair, or when someone tells me there is something on my face. Granted, in the end, I’m grateful when someone tells me that a spot of food is lingering on my face or that something like that. I just don’t like being gently reminded at the time because it feels like mothering in the way that instead of pointing out the good aspects of how you look, a mom will only focus on the parts that aren’t right. Like, “I really don’t care for that color on you, dear.” I spend a lot of time fussing and worrying about my appearance that when someone points out an imperfection, I’m flustered. How did I miss that one thing? Why is everyone so focused on it? And what’s the big deal? Why are we so judgemental with each other about how we look? Why does a little thing like a clothing tag put everyone so out of kilter?

It just strikes me as funny. Maybe it’s Monday and everything makes me irate after a night of disturbed sleep (due to local t-storms that kept me from actually falling asleep for an hour). Still, I seriously thinking about cutting all the tags out of my clothes. I’ll no longer know how to wash my best clothes, but at least I won’t have those nasty tags sticking out and bringing out everyone’s compulsive behaviors…

5 thoughts on “Why is everyone so obsessed with clothing tags?

  1. I’m really not troubled with shirt tags. The thunderstorms were annoying, however. I rode back from Milan yesterday which was quite tiring and I really needed some sleep, but every clap of thunder caused an 80 pound retriever to land on top of me in my bed. After you solve the shirt tag problem, please do something about the thunderstorms.

  2. Haha! I’m so glad my cats are oblivious to thunderstorms… I dont need them cowering with me! My mom’s lab FREAKS OUT during thunderstorms. To the point of being a real pain in the ass!

  3. Is this truly the secret why I dont see tags out on everyone else? Am I the only hapless dork who has not removed all of my tags? ;)It would be nice to not be reminded daily of what size something I’m wearing is… ;)

  4. Its better for the environment to wash everything on cold, anyway, so there’s a double-bonus. You’ll save money on your utilities bills (probably electric or gas or whatever powers your hot water).I wash in hot occassionally if I have a batch of smelly socks, but that’s only once in a while.

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