There's No Business Like Shirt Business: A Crash Course In The Matt Reigle Shirt System


I don't know what people think when they see me for the first time, but I have a guess: they probably think, "He's a shirt guy." This is because the vast majority of the time, I'm wearing a shirt.

It's something I put a lot of thought into. In fact, it's often the first thing I think about when I wake up, so I check the weather to determine whether I need to opt for short sleeves or long.

I don't discriminate when it comes to sleeve length (although I never go sleeveless because that doesn't make sense to me. Short sleeves are short enough for this hombre), but I do discriminate when it comes to whether or not a shirt has the misfortune of having been relegated to the "Around The House" drawer.

My shirt game features a relegation system, not unlike a lot of European sports leagues. The upper echelon shirts are part of what I call the "Going Out" tier of the Matt Reigle shirt system, meaning these shirts are permissible when out in public. It doesn't mean they're "fancy" it just means that they have been deemed by me to be "socially acceptable." Most shirts will start in this tier, however, in the twilight of their careers, or because of consistent poor performances (i.e. stains, a messed up neck hole, damage, etc.), a shirt may find itself relegated to the "Around The House" tier; shirts whose sole purpose is covering my torso while I watch TV or clean. Shirts that if I spilled coffee, bleach, or beer on them I wouldn't even give it a second thought. 

A shirt could theoretically make its way back through the ranks and back to Going Out status, but I have yet to see it happen. I'm open to it, but it's unlikely. I've always found that relegation is a major hit to my confidence in a shirt's performance, thereby tanking its chances.

While harsh, I do my best to give every shirt an opportunity for a solid career. I try to refrain from wearing a Going Out shirt when I would normally opt for an Around The House shirt. There are two reasons for this: 1). I don't want to take playing time from the Around The House shirts and kick them while they're down, and 2). I don't want to tarnish the reputation of a Going Out shirt. As you can probably tell, I'm a moron, and if I wear a Going Out shirt while hanging around the house, I subconsciously come to the decision that that particular shirt is now an Around The House shirt, even if if it doesn't have any of the typical hallmarks that would normally call for a shirts relegation. It's been worn around the house, thus it's an Around The House shirt.

This is by no means a perfect system. Sometimes I need an around-the-house shirt, but they're all in the laundry. The laundry is equivalent to injured reserve if we're sticking with the sports analogy. Such a situation calls for a Going Out shirt pinch-hitting for an Around The House shirt. I don't like to do this, but it does happen.

Now, I know what you're thinking: is there a tier below Around The House shirts? I'm afraid there is: the dreaded Rag tier.

The Rag tier is so low that the shirt is no longer considered a shirt at all. It's nothing but a utilitarian piece of cloth whose purpose has dwindled down to washing cars. 

It's unfortunate, but no one ever said shirt business would be pretty.

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