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Rest in Pieces

by Will Harper-Penrose on May 16, 2022

A story about clothing mods & culture.

Words by Will Harper-Penrose
Images by Daniel Evans


Running is a form of expression for me and I care as much about what that looks and feels like as I do about my splits and performance.

Since I was a teenager and a drummer in a skate punk band, I’ve been cutting my clothes up, sticking pins in them and at times scrawling on them with pens and paints. I guess I’m still sticking holes through my clothes every time I pin a race bib, but that’s less expressive and more a necessity. It’s hard to rebel against that convention.

Chasing the runner’s high has replaced the endorphin rush of performing on a stage, for me. Music, running… it’s all art.

Cutting the sleeves off a T-shirt is a simple thing to do, but there’s no going back from it. You’ve got to commit. In running, commitment really is all we’ve got. If you want to be the best, you’ve got to put the work in and not make excuses. There is no substitute for hard work.

Maybe as a bit of a mutiny against the constant need to inject new technology into running clothing, it feels good to run in a cut-up cotton t-shirt, short shorts and some minimalist sandals. No compression, all expression. It doesn’t have to end with the sleeves, some of the greatest runners of all time have been shirt shredders too, running in self styled crop tops and even crops with western frills. Dan ‘LEJOG’ Lawson even dyes his tees with turmeric for its healing properties and radiant glow. There are no rules. This is anarchy, so let your freak flag fly.

A muscle tee is great to run in, even better with some go faster holes in the right places for airflow. Grab an old t-shirt, a pair of sharp scissors and get creative.

Scared? Here’s a beginners guide.

  1. Google search ‘Michael Versteeg’ or even ‘Jurek crop top’ for inspiration. 
  2. Pick an old T-shirt, preferably from a 90s metal band tour or similar.
  3. Lay it out flat and take one last look before you make an incision. 
  4. Start at the bottom of the sleeve just outside the seam. Don’t try to cut both sides of the sleeve at the same time, there are not short cuts here. Cut all the way around in a single layer, teasing the sleeve away from the seam as you go. Try to get as close the seam as possible so you don’t look like Fred Flinstone with spiky bits, unless that’s your vibe.
  5. Once you’ve jettisoned both sleeves, step back and take a look, throw it on, cut some shapes in the mirror… the running man perhaps. 
  6. To make the air holes, pinch the fabric with tweezers or your fingers and snip tiny lemon shaped holes in strategic places like the top of the chest, the ribs and across the back. Feel the breeze.
  7. If you’re going full crop or western frills, you’re brave and you’re on your own.

Thanks to Sam from Ponnek for allowing me to cut up one of his buttery soft Rest Day tees. I give you, the ‘Rest in Pieces’.

Show us your work with @ponnekrunning and #restinpieces #ponnekcustoms