Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles

Singletude is a positive, supportive singles blog about life choices for the new single majority. It's about dating and relationships, yes, but it's also about the other 90% of your life--family, friends, career, hobbies--and flying solo and sane in this crazy, coupled world. Singletude isn't about denying loneliness. It's about realizing that whether you're single by choice or by circumstance, this single life is your life to live.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Singles Clothing and Accessories: Be Single in Style

Next time you go out, instead of advertising your favorite sports team or fashion house, why not advertise yourself?

Move over, Craigslist Missed Connections! Singles no longer have to rely on subtle glances and preening gestures to make our intentions known. Now we have t-shirts, hats, rings, even buttons to do the job for us! Apparel and accessories for singles range from the subtle and sophisticated to the in-your-face and proud of it to the cute and flirtatious, but these products all have one objective, to broadcast our single status. The rationale is part badge of honor, part icebreaker in a world in which we're increasingly connected to devices and disconnected from each other.

A few months ago, Quirkyalone blogged about tees for singles, and that started me wondering just how many choices there are for trendy unattached types who want to make a fashion statement. Turns out there are quite a lot. I've compiled a list of those I tracked down, complete with ratings, here:


Probably the best publicized retailer of singles merchandise, SingleTease offers two basic women's t-shirt styles in eight earthen tones and a selection of slogans from the frank "say hello." to the coy "support your local library (check me out)." There's a significant jump in price from the affordable baby tees, which are $20, to the full-length tees, which are $28. Adorable, but the limited number of designs (six) and colors (each tee is only available in one or two) are disappointing. And why no shirts for men?

These unisex tees have snappy slogans, although their meaning might be too obscure to those who aren't already clued in to their purpose. For example, "Long Term Lease Available Inquire Within" and "You Never Know Until You Ask" are cute, but outside the context of a singles bar, passersby might think you've printed a t-shirt to advertise your room for rent. Also, the slogan's placement on the back of the shirt may hinder the opportunity for a stranger to make eye contact across a crowded room. The selection is even smaller here--just four designs to choose from, and they only come in one color scheme--but at $14.99, the price can't be beat.

--Other Retailers with Singles Lines
My search turned up lots of designers and distributors who don't specialize in singles apparel but have one or two t-shirts that celebrate singlehood. Many of them operate through CafePress, Zazzle, or other print-on-demand sites. Here are some of the isolated designs that popped up in Google:
Ask Me If I'm Single
Date me I'm single
Happy Single Awareness Day!
Hi, I'm single.
I think, therefore I'm single.
If You're Hot, I'm Single
If You're Rich...I'm single!
I'm Rich and Single
I'm Single Let's Mingle
It's Summer. I'm Single.
Kiss Me I'm Single
National Singles Awareness Day
Single Awareness Day
Yes I'm single...And I like it that Way!
You Make Me Happy I'm Single.


--Just Looking Singles
The most popular singles-themed adornment appears to be the bracelet. Made of black rubber, this one is more utilitarian than decorative and costs $14.99. Your single status is supposed to be advertised by a silvertone-plated hieroglyphic eye, and for $4.99 each, you can add hieroglyphic silvertone charm plates to symbolize your interests, religion, astrological sign, etc. Unfortunately, the overall effect is less likely to initiate conversation than it is to initiate you into the Golden Dawn.

Arguably the most widely publicized singles accessory, the Singelringen, which hails from Sweden, is marketed in 28 countries and has been spotted on the fingers of celebrities such as Paula Abdul, Mario Lopez, Wilmer Valderamma, Naomi Campbell, Juliette Lewis, and Maria Menounos. But unless they're celebrity watchers, will singles on the street recognize this sterling silver ring with a turquoise acrylic outer band? I suspect not. And it could be just my American sensibilities, but although this is advertised to both women and men, my guess is that many guys will find the sleek style and delicate color too feminine for their tastes. Besides, as attractive as the ring is, $69 seems like a rather hefty price tag for sterling silver and acrylic.

--Singles Bracelets
At the other end of the spectrum, the Singles Bracelet eliminates the guesswork entirely. These no-fuss reversible bangles, which come in color combos of pink/black, blue/black, red/black, or yellow/black, announce to the world that you are "SINGLE" or "TAKEN," depending on your relationship status, your mood, or your interest in the drunken bar patron in front of you. You can order them here at $4.99 a piece. They're far from couture, but they know their purpose and live up to it, and the price is right.

--Singles Jewelry
Now here's a site I like. They offer sterling silver rings and pendants, both engraved with the tag line "Single-Unique-Individual" encircling an embossed "S." Though they resemble class rings more than anything found behind the counter of Tiffany's, they look solid and polished and, most importantly, they get the message across in a tasteful way. They're also customized for men and women. At $24.95 for a pendant with chain and $49.95-59.95 for a ring, these are priced to sell to singles who want quality at a reasonable rate.

--Wrist Twist
These wristbands, debossed with the product's logo, are available in six different marbleized colors, which signify the age group that interests you, for $6.95 each. Similar to the Singles Bracelet in quality, they once again rely on a gimmick that's the equivalent of a secret handshake.

As with clothing, singles jewelry lines are also carried by some merchants that serve broader customer bases:

--Generous Gems
This online jeweler sells 14k white and yellow gold charms featuring singles-friendly phrases. They're elegant and affordably priced in the $21-42 range. Plus, they're noticeable but don't spell desperation in the way that some other singles accessories do.

--Dian Malouf
Her "Unhitched" ring is on display at, although you'll have a tough time finding it on her site despite the link. I couldn't find it, but the site provides enough contact info that you should be able to request it if interested. Designed with the male of the species in mind, this heavy band is sterling silver with an optional 14k gold face and is one of the few singles items aimed squarely at the high-end consumer. The review lists the price range as $350-2,300, presumably dependent on the upgrade to 14k gold. This seems excessive to me for a ring that is mostly silver and not all that classy to boot, but it gets its point across. It's a shame there's no ladies' version.

Other Accessories or Miscellaneous

SHI Symbol
It's an interlocking male-female symbol that Prince would love, and you'd better know what it stands for because unless you choose an item that spells it out, no one may ever guess that it means "Single-Happy-Interested." It does, however, appear on an impressive array of merchandise, including t-shirts, chains, pendants, earrings, pins, belt clips, key rings, and even cufflinks! Many products have his and hers versions, and there are variations for singles of different sexual orientations. Be prepared to pay a pretty penny for the privilege of wearing The Symbol, though; t-shirts are $35, and many of the 9- and 18k gold pieces cost hundreds.

Again, some sites don't just cater to singles but incorporate some terrific singles products nevertheless:

This giant web outlet carries items for every occasion and persuasion. Among its offerings for singles are tops, hats, buttons, tote bags, mousepads, mugs, bumper stickers, and more, all sporting catchy phrases like "I'm just not that into you," "single serving productions," and "Wanted: Single, straight, solvent male. Apply within." Both sexes are represented, and prices are on par with most discount and department stores. Best of all, they're funny without screaming "loser."

*=poor **=fair ***=good ****=excellent

Ratings are based on design, selection, relevance, and pricing of the product.
Singletude has no direct experience with any of the above products or retailers and cannot comment on actual quality of the product, customer service, or shipping and handling.

Now you may notice that my ratings were conservative. That's because I think a lot of these web shops could do a lot better in terms of quality, selection, and sometimes cost. There's a fine line between products that are humorous and products that make singles the brunt of the humor as well as between products that tactfully communicate single status, those that blare it out like a fog horn, and those that try so hard to be subtle that the message is lost. Most retailers haven't figured out the difference yet. When they do, the singles fashion market could really take off. Until then, there aren't a lot of truly wearable options.

For the record, I probably wouldn't buy any of these items since I don't like to attract attention to myself in public places. However, for singles who are serious about meeting as many people as possible, some of these products seem like fun, flirtatious conversation starters.

What's your opinion on singles-oriented clothing and accessories? Would you buy or have you bought any products for singles? If you have, what kind of reaction did you get?

Fun Link of the Day

Do you have a product for singles that you would like Singletude to review? Contact Elsie!


Cat said...

Yeah, not so sure I'm ready for the single wear juuuusst yet!

Anonymous said...

Thought this list was a great idea. Thanks. Have seen a few of the ideas, but the one I love and use is the SHI Symbol - you know the one you think is a bit expensive. Well, it's not really. I have a Sterling silver symbol and it was only $70, looks classy, is stylish and attracts some looks which is what it's all about to start the conversation going. I like the reactions I'm getting so I'll keep using it. Bernice NJ

doubtful dater said...

I think that the idea of single wear is ridiculous! I would not wear it just on the pure fact that yes I'm single but I am not going to advertise it!! I don't know if that's really going to help people get more confident about being single or not. It just seems desperate...

Clever Elsie said...

Cat and Doubtful: I have to agree with you ladies that I wouldn't be anxious to try the singleswear (heh heh, I think we coined a new term!) myself. For me, part of the problem is that I'd worry about random guys I had no interest in seeing the shirt, bracelet, or whatever as an excuse to bug me. Another issue for me would be that, as you said Doubtful, there's an air of desperation about a lot of this stuff. I think it's possible for some of it to be cute and subtle, like the t-shirt that says "hello." or the blue singelringen, but then the problem becomes that if it's subtle enough not to seem desperate, it's also probably too subtle to send the message that you're single and looking. The closest I'd get to buying one of these products would probably be the humor tees.

Bernice: It's good to hear the perspective of someone who's actually bought one of these items, and that's terrific that you've met some people this way! :) I know it's been a little while since you left this comment, but if you happen back this way, could you share which of the SHI products you bought? I know they offered t-shirts and some different jewelry designs. Anyway, I hope your SHI Symbol continues to spark some great conversations!

bobbyboy said...

"What's your opinion on singles-oriented clothing and accessories?"

I think it's a great idea! You did make me think when you said:

"There's a fine line between products that are humorous and products that make singles the brunt of the humor as well as between products that tactfully communicate single status, those that blare it out like a fog horn, and those that try so hard to be subtle that the message is lost. Most retailers haven't figured out the difference yet."

Indeed, you have a point. And it extends to other merchandise as well.

"Would you buy or have you bought any products for singles?"

I haven't bought any of these type products. The irony here is that although I am single, wearing some of these products could bring attention to it, which makes me a bit nervous lol

Clever Elsie said...

Bobby: See, exactly! That's just it! Such a paradox!

And then part of me pipes up and berates myself for preaching that there's nothing wrong with being single while hiding my own single status in practice! :O Although I think it's less that I mind being single and more that I mind appearing to solicit dates.

Anonymous said...

Elsie I finally got back here and saw you asked me what SHI Symbol I had. I originally bought the Sterling Silver Pendant because it looks really great and is quite classy but I find I can wear it at dressy things and in casual situations just as comfortably. The great thing i found is that I can take it off the chain and put it on my bag or somewhere and it is just as subtle but still a talking point. The other thing I since purchased was a T shirt because I go to the gym and this is a really easy way of striking up a conversation. The symbol is on the back of mine and is easy to see. I've met 2 nice guys thanks to wearing SHI Symbol since I last left you a note, one I am quite interested in and it seems mutual - so far. - Bernice