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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Her "Unhitched" ring is on display at 101Wedding-Idea.com, 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
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!
Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Next time you go out, instead of advertising your favorite sports team or fashion house, why not advertise yourself?
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Okay, all you budding writers! Sharpen your pencils and don your thinking caps because this is your chance to flex your literary muscle on Singletude! That's right, for one day, the homepage of Singletude will be your platform to sound off at the world!
Do you have a pet peeve about the single life? Maybe you love your job but want to tear out your prematurely graying hair every time your coworkers skip out early to pick up their kids. Maybe your patience is wearing thin on the scraps of time your coupled friends are feeding you. Maybe you fantasize about advising your nosy aunt to get her proboscis out of your love life and back in her knitting. Nicely, of course. There's no telling what damage she could do with that schnoz.
Or, keeping in mind that this is supposed to be a positive blog, after all, maybe you'd like to share with our international audience, especially those married cynics who can't (or won't) imagine us enjoying ourselves at a chill lounge or comedy club while they're wrestling two tantrum-y tots into bed, what really rocks about being single. Perhaps you'd like to tell us about the new business you started after your last break-up, the exotic vacations you jet off to without worrying about anyone else's schedule, the unbreakable bonds you have with your circle of singleton friends, or even something as seemingly minor as your full nights of dreamless sleep, uninterrupted by someone snoring, tossing and turning, stealing your covers, or shoving you into a remote corner of the bed.
Whether you have a rant or a rave, as long as it's about the single life, you're invited to submit it for possible publication on Singletude and dazzle the readers with the prowess of your pen. Your rant or rave can be long or short, formal or conversational, wickedly humorous or sweetly sincere. My one request is that you write it with a PG or PG-13 audience in mind. I reserve the right to edit submissions for content, clarity, and length, though I will make every effort to leave them as untouched as I can. I'll also include a link to your blog or web page so that people can find out more about you.
If this gets a good response, the rants and raves will become a regular feature, and I may even run a contest for all published submissions. (Yes, that means prizes for you!)
So make a date with your word processor and send the results to Singletude! I look forward to reading your rants and raves!