Cross My Heart


Written by Tshepo Mokoena
06 Monday 06th February 2012

Only a few years ago, openly wearing a cross to express her devotion to Christ landed a British Airways air hostess in some pretty hot water when she was told she could face suspension for wearing a piece of religious jewellery. The airline wanted to remove as much religious imagery as possible from their staff and her rather dinky necklace sadly wouldn't make the cut. It's interesting to note now that quite the opposite is becoming the norm: atheist or religiously indifferent bloggers wear crosses with little intention of telling people they like a weekly trip to church.

Tees by Anti-Life, giving it that inverted cross hipster edge

Instead it seems that the cross is being reappropriated to show a certain edginess, and a slight lean towards referencing the occult in particular cases. A lot of it appears to spring from the recent style obsession with the nineties. While for some that might mean bold clashed prints, backwards caps and those weirdly baggy jeans that no-one makes anymore, it also means breathing life into the teen goth style that went relatively mainstream all that time ago. Any girl who watched The Craft and decided she wanted to pierce her nose and get a cross of St Peter tattooed on the inside of her wrist is probably someone who loved that dimension of the decade.

Lua from blog Le Happy, wearing a Multi-Cross Necklace by Regal Rose

So now we've got these crosses cropping up everywhere: from earrings and double-finger rings by the likes of Regal Rose, Urban Outfitters and Nasty Gal to distressed and customised micro-shorts from Bitching and Junkfood. The look sits somewhere between adolescent and teen witch, usually with dip-dyed hair and chunky creepers or Doc Marten boots to match. The key is a sense of frivolity and nonchalance, perhaps necessary with a look that depends on brandishing a heavily weighted piece of symbolism and trying to strip it of all significance.

Wearing a crucifix as a style item is more about engaging with the aesthetic of the symbol rather than taking on a personal link to what it stands for. Famously, the cross of St Peter has often been seen to stand for pro-Satanic leanings and demonstrate an anti-Christian sentiment.

It turns out that really it stands for humility, coming from St Peter's modest choice to be crucified upside down so as not to place himself on equal terms with Jesus. Well, on equal crucifixion terms. In any case, with the advent of witch house symbolism in 2009/10, all inverted crosses and triangles, the cross now has its own set of meanings in fashion terms that may not even be aware of its origins.

Blogger Alice Point, shot by Stockholm Street Style, doing crosses & sheer all at once

At the end of the day, people use their bodies to express a part of their character in fashion-oriented societies like this one. So does it really matter that a 17 year-old Tumblr fanatic wears oversized inverted cross earrings while to trying show the world she's giving God the finger? Probably not. But it's fun to take a look at anyway.

Don't Panic attempt to credit photographers and content owners wherever possible, however due to the sheer size and nature of the internet this is sometimes impractical or impossible. If you see any images on our site which you believe belong to yourself or another and we have incorrectly used it please let us know at and we will respond asap.