What is a Vintage T Shirt? (I mean, really.)
So you’re into vintage? We’re going to assume you probably fall into the a late GEN-X category since you’re still digging for those killer vintage scores.
You probably started out as a youngster watching classic shows, subconsciously identifying with eras that tapped into your soul. The 1970s just seemed so cool. Chicks had feathered hair and wore bellbottoms. Dudes wore boots and corduroy and rock t shirts. They drove cool cars. They did what they wanted. Life was simpler. And you understood that, (well, you kind of understood it). Lets skip past the 80’s - that’s a conversation for another time - and slam right into the 90’s when grunge rock had oozed into the mainstream. You wore flannel and converse and shredded Levi’s 501’s. You bought CDs. Or maybe you were too young for all that and the emo wave hit you during the late 90s. Did you wear girls jeans and vintage kids size XL t-shirts? If that was you, thats fine. We understand. Every generation has their youthful peak and it doesn’t much matter whether you stood in line to see Black Sabbath at the palladium or stood outside of some church hall to watch at a shoe gaze band.
You see, the point here is where the iconography falls in the spectrum of your formative, teenage years. And, for you reading this, you know that the number one item in every vintage wardrobe is (and was) your favorite vintage t-shirt.
The vintage t-shirt is an icon. It’s not just a thing. And it’s certainly not just a shirt. (John Cusack did not simply hold a “boombox” above his head in the rain…)
Vintage Tees mean something because they basically fall into two categories:
1. It was Given to you and/or Stolen from your EX.
i.e. You totally stole his favorite Soundgarden T Shirt to sleep in and kept it for years even after the stupid break up. Yes, you did. And we hope you still have it.)
2. You found it in some obscure/dumpy/thrift-hole and considered it the score of a lifetime. There are two categories within this section -
First - While looking for kitschy wall art at the local Value-Village you decided to peruse the mens clothing bins. Inside said bins was a original, 1978 Neil Young Tour tee with a whopping price tag of .99 Cents. You forgot about your art.
Second - after scouring all 7 Goodwill locations in your hometown in a day-long thrift marathon, you finally found your perfect irony-laced-somewhat-smart-assed-goofy-logo tee from bank/sports team/elks lodge that probably said something like “We Finance Love Affairs” or “I’m So Horney, The Crack of Dawn Looks Good.” You wore that shirt every day, to every show and through every mosh pit until you - (Choose honestly!)
A. Got a real job and were forced to grow up.
B. Got a girlfriend who didn’t get your taste in music/films/fashion.
C. Got a little fat for it to fit.
D. Wore it out.
You see, those of us who lust after what seemingly looks like dirty old clothing are just reliving the same sentimental uniform attachments that every generation has had. The leather jacket, the poodle skirt, the flapper dress and the varsity sweater all relished in their eras. For us, the T-Shirt was king.
So now, by todays measurement, anything produced before 1999 is vintage. Which is a scary piece of context as most of you were either in or just out of high school at that time. Here’s something to try at your next trip to Whole Foods - dig out one of those old tees and wear it. See how many nods and looks you’ll get. It’ll give you a nice feeling that there are more of you out there than you think, and those times were the greatest, fashion choices and all.