Are the music and band shirts dead?


Fashions come and go by definition, however there are some garments that never completely go out of style. Usually an innovation emerges or a peripheral trend draws them back into the public eye. For example, I’m thinking of denim jeans that have been a dominant and iconic garment for decades, but that seem to come and go depending on other factors, such as celebrity endorsements or innovation in cut styles. Another fashion classic is the music or band t-shirt. Are the gang shirts dead? Should they be sent to fashion salon 101 along with shorts and thick cardigans with leather elbow patches? No, says this fan of musical t-shirts. Music and band t-shirts are still in style.

Where the t-shirts started

T-shirts used to be underwear. Nondescript clothing items and nothing to scream about. All that changed when James Dean wore his classic white T-shirt in Rebel Without a Cause. Suddenly T-shirts because a youth garment, a rebellious garment that defied the formal shirt and tie of the previous generation. However, the shirts were plain. Mainly white in fact. However, in the late 1950s, things were about to change with the invention of a new material called plastisol ink that made it possible to print durable designs on clothing. T-shirts remained the dress of the rebels throughout the 1960s, when tie dying and other processes gave them a new rise in popularity. Bands also began using T-shirts as a means of promotion, as did concerts where they were sold as souvenirs.

Musical T-shirts hit the mainstream

Thus, T-shirts went mainstream as dress styles moved away from the formal suit and ties of the early 1960s to a more casual style. Iron transfers came in the 1970s, allowing t-shirt shops to open in all cities and shopping malls printing almost unlimited t-shirt designs. No trip to the beach was complete without acquiring a cool new t-shirt, custom printed.

The punk explosion of the mid-1970s gave t-shirts a new life with designers like Vivienne Westwood who adapted and created outrageous new t-shirt designs using pop art imagery, safety pins, and striking prints. Once again, they became a potentially edgy and important fashion statement.

Throughout the 1990s, t-shirts became less of a fashion statement and more of a safe middle-of-the-road clothing staple. All bands now promote themselves, their tours, and their albums by wearing T-shirts in conjunction with other outlets. In fact, t-shirt sales are still a major source of income for band tours, and many tours are accompanied by exclusive concert t-shirts that cannot be purchased anywhere else. They are still strongly associated with music, but also with any other form of popular culture. While teens can show their allegiance to beliefs, bands, or television shows by wearing button-down badges, most adults now do the same with T-shirts, as button-down badges are generally considered less acceptable to the older generation. Because band and music t-shirts have been around since the 60s, there are now over 50 years of designs for music t-shirt companies to loot and reissue, and there are still plenty of classic t-shirt designs available today. Major bands like The Beatles and Pink Floyd have dozens, if not hundreds, of officially licensed T-shirts for sale from a wide range of sources. TV shows like Southpark, The Simpsons, and Family Guy are also popular targets for t-shirts and adults of any age can proudly and subtly (or so they hope!) Show off their modernity by sporting a particular t-shirt when they’re out and about. home. Workplace casual wear Fridays (where business wear is typically worn between Monday and Thursday) are a great opportunity for those who consider themselves congested and out of touch to correct what they might consider to be a misconception. In the UK, T-shirts are more popular than ever at the moment, and fitted T-shirts are particularly attractive to slim youngsters, while the broader folks among us still opt for plus size to XXL. All the hippest bands, whether young or old, new or established, have t-shirts available. Lady Ga Ga, The Killers, Lily Allen, Snow Patrol, Morrissey, The Gallows, etc. For fans of Heavy Metal, t-shirts, usually black, have been a staple from the mid-70s onwards and there are some fantastic metal t-shirts available for fans of bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slipknot, Slayer, Motorhead, etc. and the graphic designs on these t-shirts are legendary and unique among the music t-shirt industry as most other genres tend to focus on band photos or album covers.


So what will you wear on your vacation this summer? Well, you could buy yourself a nice Hawaiian shirt or a boring high street polo shirt. But I think you want to express yourself and carry your heart on your chest. There is no better way to do this than through a band or musical t-shirt. Show that you care, show that you are great. Buy a hip band t-shirt from a site like and you can’t go wrong. Casual but deliberate. Comfortable but elegant. Are musical t-shirts dead as a fashion item? Yes, but only if you are too square to wear one.

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