Updated: Feb 1, 2020
Vintage t shirts can evoke memories from a bygone era with words and pictures emblazoned on the front that remind you of a certain time in your life. They go back to the 50s, where they were little more than something you wore under a shirt, if you were a man, as an undergarment. Marlon Brando and James Dean wore the t-shirt as an outer garment and so started a trend that still exists today. Today we have celebrity slogan t-shirts, t-shirts with our favourite bands on, t-shirts with their latest album title across the front. Over the past 50 years we’ve seen the simple t-shirt go from undergarment to fashion staple.
It was the sixties that did it for the t-shirt really when it was seen as a form of rebellion, when a generation protested over Vietnam and demanded peace with pictures of their heroes emblazoned on the front. Tshirts were now worn by both men and women alike. Che Guevara is one of the most iconic images and one of the most popular to feature on the front of a t-shirt, even today.
Punk in the 1970s brought ripped t-shirts and pins and the 1980s gave us big baggy t-shirts with Frankie Says, and Wham with their Choose Life. Football teams took advantage of the t-shirt phenomena seeing a perfect opportunity to advertise their team’s achievements and soon clothes designers came along and produced their own. T-shirts with slogans and the eponymous tank top (not to be confused with double knits and David Cassidy) were now riding the crest of a wave.
If you’ve not lived through the first forty years of t-shirts and you really want a vintage tee, then take someone with you when you go shopping and do your research. You may be looking for a vintage band t shirt from the 70s, or a tee with a particular slogan, if you know what you’re looking for, you’re halfway there. The shape of a vintage t-shirt will be different too; they’ll be much baggier than today’s t-shirts which are usually skinny fit. The majority of T-shirts from the 70s on-wards were usually a loose fit, but you can always look out for the smallest size. You may also discover the delights of the cropped tee, only worn by those with washboard stomachs, but don’t match with a head band across the front of your forehead unless you really feel you must.
Surprisingly there doesn’t seem to be a plethora of online stores as there are for other vintage items. There might be some rooting around called for, but this is the joy and the fun of searching out vintage clothes, the battle to find that one true item you desire, then after hard work and determination, finding it. Don’t give up; they’re wonderful items of vintage clothing to collect and as with any other vintage piece need a lot of care and attention. So find that vintage tee and wear with pride!
Copyright 209 My Vintage…Written by My Vintage – www.myvintage.uk