Vintage Clothing: An Extension of Self
Going retro? Well why not?! It's the one time you look most impressive "distressed" (queue the rim-shot).
In all seriousness, nothing says "I know my stuff" quite like a sun-faded, vintage t shirt seemingly lifted right off a thrift shop rack. Not only does it suggest that you were "there, man..." but it demonstrates a passion, opinion, and appreciation for the past.
That's the beauty of vintage tees - there are iconic vintage t-shirts to choose from for every passion and personality that is as tailor-fitted, scuffed, dirtied or ripped as you need to show your level of expert commitment. But what makes a vintage tee "vintage" in the first place, and why are they so timeless, really?
When you think about it, vintage clothes weren't always "history."
In fact, leading up to World War I, it was standard practice to issue uncomfortable and stuffy wool uniforms to the men in arms. Many pit-stains and sweaty backs later, Europe led the charge to issue cotton t-shirts to their soldiers, and the United States was quick to follow suit.
Suffice it to say, once t-shirts hit the scene and proved their worth in the early 20th century, vintage t-shirts were not far behind as time took its toll. Like trading cards or comic books, the older a design became – and the more iconic people wore it – the more t-shirts emerged as a crucial piece of the wardrobe.
Celebs Do It Best
There is something truly effortless about vintage t shirts. They exude confidence, familiarity, creativity and openness. There is also of course an unescapable "cool factor" about them that says, "This is me... big whoop?!" That never hurt anything either.
In so much, it's no surprise that opinion leaders and sex symbols expressed that quality best, and throughout the reaches of pop culture, t-shirts seeped into the cracks and fissures of creative thought on the backs celebrities.
Through the wardrobe choices of Marlon Brando, John Lennon, James Dean, Joe Cocker, Bob Marley and the all-too-familiar image of Che Guevera, t-shirts and their vintage counterparts became a mainstay in the closet of pop culture. And while it would be nice to say "the rest is history, it isn't necessarily true.
In fact, the true story of vintage t-shirts, one may argue, is just getting started.
Look the Part
No doubt, there are more vintage t-shirt options out there than ever before. Gamers, TV-heads, rockers, jocks and fast food junkies – you can name your poison and make it a passion with vintage tees! From vintage video game shirts and vintage movie t-shirts, to retro TV and brand logos, vintage rock t shirts, vintage military t-shirts and retro superhero t shirts, there is a vintage look for every walk of life.
So ask yourself, what's your passion? A very specific personality and aesthetic appetite is satisfied by vintage clothing, and any passion or desire can be met with the right vintage t-shirt.
For the Movie Addict
For a style that goes more than thread deep, look no further than vintage movie tees. When knowing all the lines by heart just isn't enough, how do you personify your passion for a film? It's what's between the lines that is hardest to express, and your choice in vintage t-shirts can help you express that thought.
If you are a Star Wars fan, what are you trying to say with your vintage Star Wars t-shirt? Is your take funny, ironic, literal or whimsical? So much can be said with just a few words, and it all comes out in the way you wear it.
Or consider what themes in Top Gun made you want that vintage Top Gun t-shirt in particular? Is it the love story or the tale of friendship or an unflinching desire to perform in the face of long odds? No matter what made you inspired by the classic flick, your choice in shirt should encompass that sentiment.
In a perfect world and with the right vintage movie t-shirt, you can take that feeling that drew you into the movie in the first place and turn it into a part of your everyday life. Indeed, passion and fashion are tied at the hip when it comes to vintage movie t shirts.
For the Band's Biggest Fan
Great music almost always takes the listener on a journey. It's that cathartic feeling that you get from a classic song that goes beyond words. Some bands left such an indelible mark on the face of music, not only are their songs vintage, but so is basically anything else they touched – including iconic scenes, logos and vintage band t-shirts.
One of the most perfect examples of a band that change the world is The Beatles. Whether you love them or hate them, you certainly know who they are and can respect the impact they had on music. It's no doubt to this day that some of the best memories surrounding their music are played out in the vintage Beatles t-shirts people choose to wear each day.
The Beatles weren't alone in leaving an everlasting impact on the world of music though. Bob Marley really hit it on the head when he said, "One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain." Perhaps it was the feel-good vibe of his music, or just his general aura as a musician, but one thing is for sure: Bob Marley fans are more than proud to sport his likeness.
Feel the tropical breeze, allow your toes to wiggle into the sand, and do it all from the office in your favorite vintage Bob Marley T-shirt. That is the whole idea – to capture the feeling you get when the music hits you just right.
For the Brand Loyalist
When a brand has been around long enough to make it to "vintage" status, it often means so much more than just a swig of a soda or a way to pass the time.
That brand is a memory. It is that hot summer day that you got your first kiss while sharing that Pepsi. It is the time that after 16 straight hours of fending of Donkey Kong's relentless barrels, you finally rescued the princess on your Atari. It is an experience!
So what are you remembering with your vintage brand logo t-shirt or what made you choose a vintage Pepsi t-shirt in particular? And why does it make you feel nostalgic and loyal? These are the minute questions we ask ourselves without even knowing it when we find the perfect vintage shirt.
For the Comic Book Geek
What is it about superheroes and comics that get the adrenaline of true fans pumping? Maybe it's the smell of the comic book or the feeling of the pages as they turn in a dimly lit comic book shop.
One thing that is hard to argue against is that you certainly see yourself – your best qualities – in the heroes you admire. When Batman gets the bad guy, so do you. When a hero finally comes to grips with their own weaknesses, so do you. So when you go on the hero's journey with your favorite superhero, find the right superhero vintage t-shirt to capture that feeling.
Then of course there are the mega-classics. There's no superhero quite like Superman when it comes to superhero vintage status. Like a first edition still sealed in mint condition - and ideally protected behind bulletproof glass - getting the right vintage Superman look is like taking a page straight from history home with you.
Remembering your first brush with superhero-dom by sporting your favorite Superman vintage t-shirt, you will feel like there is no kryptonite in the world that could make you regret your choice.
For the Gamer
Now there is no way you could forget that first all-nighter... Your thumbs nearly bleeding, adrenaline running high, and a dark room lit only by the soft glow of the television as you played relentlessly through the levels of your favorite video game. Sound familiar?
Outside of Atari, Mario is a vintage videogame mega-icon that just keeps on giving. While gaming on your Next Gen gaming console, you'll definitely have no trouble remembering your roots with a vintage Mario t-shirt.
Or who could forget everyone's favorite pointy-eared Hylian – Link! Throw on a vintage Zelda t-shirt and you'll feel like you're back in your footie pajamas staying up past bed time. We can only hope you were a child when that memory was made, or this might be another discussion entirely!
For the Military Family
For those in the armed forces, phrases like "Hoorah," "Army Strong" and "Be All You Can Be" mean more than just words. Like the stars and stripes on the flag, the camo and slogans on vintage military shirts reflect far more than a smattering of colors and letters.
The ideas within the symbols are irreplaceable in the hearts of those who've fought in the Armed Forces.
Between their bravery and service, the right to feel nostalgic and proud about a most-earned badge of honor goes without saying.
Between remembering the fallen, and cheering on the men and women who fight for their country even today, it's no wonder that vintage Army shirts and vintage Air Force shirts are highly sought after for both those who've served and those who admire their sacrifice.
For the Old School Jock
If you watch ESPN highlights more than once a day, you might admit you are a sports-fiend. But don't feel bad, you are not alone! For millions of people worldwide, sports are lifelong love affair.
As long as there have been teams, there's been merchandise in plenty and none better than the oldest and most historical. The Bart Stars, Michael Jordans, Babe Ruths, and Wayne Gretzkys of the world are more than inspiration enough to relive your favorite sports moments with a vintage sports T-shirt.
There really are some moments in sports that are so great; you don't even need to be a fan to appreciate the magnitude of an athlete's stellar accomplishment. It's that precise quality – that hero mentality – where we all see ourselves in the athletes we admire.
We want a piece of that history, and for it to be part of our story. If you put on your vintage bulls T-shirt, you don't just remember the three peat, you remember that it's possible in the first place. Again, vintage tees and inspiration go together like rosy-and-retrospection. And there isn't any shame in coming out for the day smelling like roses in your favorite vintage sports tee.
The Future of Vintage Tees
Whoa, a paradox. The future of the past... Freaking us out!
But seriously, who doesn't want to take a relic and make it new, unique, their own?! Since wardrobe is an extension of self, matching passions to t-shirts is almost intrinsic. And one might assume that what is true today will carry on tomorrow.
In the end, the future of vintage retro t shirts promises wild possibilities and is most likened to what's "big" now. Could Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Duck Dynasty, Sherlock, The Hobbit and other modern smash-hits be tomorrow's vintage gold?
Only time will tell. But it certainly is fun to speculate – and admittedly, to picture us sporting vintage tees in spaceships instead of cars.