"Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense," $24.13, at (
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Thursday, September 25, 2008

This summer, we set our sights on those artist-designed T-shirts that the Gap was selling as part of its limited-edition Whitney Biennial Collection. We were particularly drawn to the one by Chicago artist Kerry James Marshall, which features a drawing of a pigtailed girl, fist raised in defiant optimism, declaring, "EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT. I JUST KNOW IT WILL."

Every time we wear it, we get a little happy buzz of contagious positivity. When we wear that tee, we feel like maybe, just maybe, global warming can be averted, peace will break out in Iraq and everyone will start reading newspapers again.

Today's graphic tees have come a long way since those one-size-fits-no-one monstrosities announcing "I'm With Stupid." Now you can wear your philosophical heart on your chest with a lot more sartorial flair. These tees both flatter and fit, from fangirl rocker numbers to tees decorated with original art or Warholian renderings of John McCain and Barack Obama. Pair one with a pencil skirt, booties and a leather moto jacket, or tuck it into high-waisted trousers for an updated take on Katharine Hepburn.

And if you're so inclined, you can spread the love and do a little good at the same time you're expressing yourself: One3snapshot's tees are created by an arts collective committed to creating art for social change, while proceeds from CommonThreadz's eco-friendly tees provide uniforms for orphans and needy children in developing countries.

A modest plan to save the world, one T-shirt at a time.

-- Teresa Wiltz

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