The BRAILLE Dress Shirt

BRAILLE Dress shirtWelcome to Level 2 of my design skills, symbolic design!

This is a simple dress shirt. Black with white cuffs and a white stripe over the heart side of the chest (as well as on back). On the stripe are some red heart buttons, set out in a formation that spells out LOVE in Braille, a tactile writing system for the blind and visually impaired.

Why LOVE? Well, you know what they say about love being blind, don’t you?

That’s how my head works when at its best, by abstract associations like that.

Then, on the right cuff is Brailled for ” I “, while on the left is Braille for ” U “. More than just for reading left to right when seen from the front, I am right handed so I do extend the ” I “ out to shake others’ hands.

Braille alphabet

Braille alphabet

I debated a lot between using just red buttons and red hearts buttons, but opted for the hearts to hint at what theme the shirt had for those who don’t have the chance to ask me. They’re also cute in hope of people will ask me what they mean, if they don’t connect the patterns to what might be Braille.

There is no Braille on the back because it’d probably be too uncomfortable. I suppose I could have embroidered little red circles or hearts on instead of using the buttons, but that’s too much trouble for me right now. I’ve got to get a whole bunch more dress shirts done for work.

As for the placement of the LOVE in Brailled down the stripe, being “love”, it had to go over the heart on the right side of the chest. More strategically, though, one could only read it properly by running a hand down the stripe.

To further the theme of touch on the shirt, the black portion is a flower jacquard with a lot of relief on its surface. You might well be able to tell what it is and imagine the whole shirt, if told it were black with white cuffs and stripe, and let the blind person figure out the rest. A Celtic like heart button entwined with flower to match the jacquard accentuates the collar button, with the other buttons hidden so only the red heart buttons would stand out.

I LOVE this shirt in so many ways. However, I am not big enough in stature to be so wide as to have that white stripe run down all width on the flat part of my upper body. I made the completely rookie mistake of eyeballing it instead of trying it on or making a muslin. The white stripe, sadly, curls just a tad with my body on the side. I feel I will have to redo this, with a different black fabric because I don’t have enough of the same black jacquard left. I got it as leftover from somebody’s stash. However, I have something like black suede with dark grey paisley jacquard printed on it. It’ll feel nice as well, just not in a way that can translate visually to someone who is blind. But the shirt fits magnificently otherwise!

So for the misalignment of fit, I’m going to give this a silver rating, not gold. But it’s like one of those silvers you lost the gold to get, not one of those silvers you win… cause the gold was yours for the taking and you just blew it!

Also, too bad I didn’t have a design line or studio cause can you imagine how many shirts I could make on this Braille theme? Probably with embroidery Braille rather than button Braille. It’d sure look a lot less tacky than dress shirts with regular lettering to spell out the same thing! Don’t you love the power of symbolism?

Please click here to see other garments I’ve made and fashion related articles I’ve written.

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