The clothes we wear are an extension of ourselves. I don’t even remember if anyone actually said this, but hey, we can’t lie about the truth behind it. Hoodie and sweatpants combo? You might be all about comfort. Plain tee and baggy paint-splattered cargos? Probably don’t give a flying fuck about most things.
For some, silhouettes and shades help convey their personalities, but for others, they unconsciously (or consciously) do it through their tees. Yes, I’m talking about those vintage graphic merch tees. But what is “vintage” to begin with?
While “vintage” in fashion refers to anything made 15 to 20 years ago, the definition keeps moving as the years pass, and it’s the same for these tees. Sure, dark base tees sound easy to replicate, but there’s more to just making the mix-and-match game a lot easier.
Rips, bleach stains, loose necklines and cracked prints, which are often frowned upon with other clothes, make up a good-looking vintage graphic tee. Their worn-out aesthetic elevates any outfit from looking like you just randomly picked it to actually handpicking the shirt. Get the difference?
And although we’ve seen a lot of ‘90s-inspired tees (you know, the ones with vibrant colors and big typography), real vintage pieces today cost more than your regular retail purchases. Why? Because they are just like any artwork. The value of these shirts is dictated by the history that comes with it. Look at NBA merch for example. Graphic tees that showcase the Chicago Bulls’ recent lineup would only cost a fraction of the shirts made to celebrate their first three-peat. We know that it may look like an unnecessary flex for an ordinary shirt but for die-hard fans, these are statement pieces worthy of being stored as their holy grail, or better, the missing piece to their collection.
So if you’re looking to invest in one, don’t worry, it’s not impossible to come across one. There’s surely a vintage graphic tee for any genre or vertical you can think of. You might even already have one from your glory fan days back in grade school or highschool. If you’re lucky, you might even have one with pictures on it. Yes, pictures of your favorite whoever (or whatever) on your shirt. Talk about the best conversation starter ever. Plus, you even get to help the Earth by reusing old tees instead of buying new ones. Girl, spell sustainable!
And with the hype not looking to go down anytime soon, maybe you should consider keeping those vintage Marvin and Jolina shirts too just cause in a few years’ time, they might just be worth a fortune.
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Art by Jannina Cardastro