Once upon a time the T-Shirt was an article of clothing used strictly for utilitarian purposes. Thru the years it has morphed into a trendy fashion statement. There is nothing like the look and feel of a retro or vintage tee. For a few dollars you are able to create your own personal walking billboard proclaiming your loves, hates and musings on this world we live in.
The next time you are in your neighborhood grocery store look around and start counting the number of sports team related, movie and TV related, or pop culture related t-shirts you see. If it is not way over half of the people shopping I would be shocked. What is the most comfortable and most worn article of clothing you own? I will bet you a 1998 Yankees World Series t-shirt that your answer is a t-shirt.
The terms "retro" and "vintage" are used interchangeably by a lot of people. In reality they are two different things. Something vintage is expected to be more than 20 years old. Retro would be something newer or something created to look vintage. With the increasing popularity of true vintage t-shirts retailers such as "Old Navy" started selling Retro tees made to look and feel like "true" vintage. Retro has also come to be known as not quite vintage but definitely not new, baby vintage if you will.
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(price as of Sep 9, 2013)
The thrill of the hunt is just as great as the pride of ownership for most vintage and retro collectors. Nothing quite beats the feeling of rifling thru a rack full of T-shirts at your neighborhood thrift store and stumbling upon a "Archie Bunker for President" from the 70's or finding that 1998 Yankees World Series tee at a garage sale.
Where do the oysters lay that contain these little pearls of fashion treasure. Thrift stores, estate sales, garage sales, rummage sales and flea markets are your most fertile hunting grounds These have been the best sources to add to both my personal collection and my stores inventory.
Wearing retro or vintage t-shirts allow you to keep alive a time gone by. You picked the tee because it brought back memories, you liked the look, it made you smile or you thought it was cool. As you strut around town wearing it you bring out these emotions in others.
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(price as of Sep 9, 2013)
One caution when looking at retro tees is to be aware that the tag size will not reflect actual size. These are pre worn tees and their original sizing will change as they are washed thru the years. The best way to avoid buying a retro tee and later find out that it does not fit is to take one of your current tees that fits comfortably and lay it flat and measure it across the chest from armpit to armpit, then measure from the back of the collar to the waist. Remember that cotton will tend to shrink less than a cotton polyester blend.
Another pleasant byproduct of owning vintage and retro tees is that they are increasing in value as their popularity and collector base continues to grow. As with anything else you buy for possible resale down the road pay close attention to condition. Rips, holes and stains will affect future value.
I hope that this has helped. If you have any questions or comments about this growing fashion niche feel free to leave them below.