How To Score The Perfect Rock Tee

Above: Justin Theroux, king of how to properly wear a concert t-shirt, shows a little love to Poor Righteous Teachers and Blue Oyster Cult
Above: Justin Theroux, king of how to properly wear a concert t-shirt, shows a little love to Poor Righteous Teachers and Blue Oyster Cult

It seems for most of the 2000s, hip hop and hip hop artists dominated the style scene. They influenced everything from art to design and fashion. But things seemed to have slowly shifted; in recent months, we have noticed that celebs, and even hip hop artists, are rocking rock tees. A day doesn’t go by that a celeb or famous model is captured street-styling a Metallica logo t-shirt or even the Grateful Dead. Even the Millennial kids have jumped on this bandwagon, they never even listened to Black Sabbath’s but they know how to rock the look. But we must warn you, this is tricky territory to navigate without looking like you are trying too hard. Here are our tips to help you navigate:

I’m with the band
This doesn’t mean you have to actually toured with the band but it does mean that you should be familiar with their music and can name at least one of their songs. There are lots of rock bands out there, so pick a tee from one that you are actually familiar with.

Hunt, hunt and hunt some more
Get to know your local thrift stores; this may be unfamiliar territory for you so do your research. Ask your friends who are more knowledgeable about thrift. Or search online, check out eBay or Etsy for ‘genuine’ pieces.

The worse off, the better
The main reason those tees look so great is that they are worn in. And we stick to the rule that the worse off, the better when it comes to rock t-shirts. Look for faded logos and fabric that has soften and gone a bit thread-bare from wear. A few holes? No worries. Buy it.

Know the difference between vintage and reproduction
An authentic rock t-shirt is usually from a particular year and is generally tied to a specific concert. Additionally, most true vintage t-shirts will have a label or mark on them specifically stating the date. Reproduction t-shirts, on the other hand, are the are found at Forever 21, H&M, and similar stores. These shirts are merely paying (and sometimes not even paying) to use the emblem of the band or artist. These are obviously not really authentic pieces. You want to hunt for the vintage; reproduction are for amateurs. And remember to look at the tags, a paper tag usually means its real.

You 100% want 50/50
Although we seem to live in a 100% cotton world these days. Most authentic rock tees from the 70s and 80s would have been made from a 50/50 cotton-poly blend. Normally, we don’t suggest you go with a non-natural fabric but you want it here. This is what contributes to the great wear. It just sits well on the body.

Don’t trust sizes
Over the years, sizes have change drastically; just because a t-shirt says that it is a large doesn’t mean it is truly a size large by today’s standards.  A 1970’s large may be a today’s small or a medium but it is hard to know for certain. We suggest that when dealing in vintage tees to have a high knowledge of one’s measurements – make sure you know your chest size for t-shirts. Rely on size measurements, never the  size on the label.

Get ahead of the curve
Instead of wearing tees from rock bands from the 80s and 90s, why not wear the same t-shirts those same dudes (and ladies) wore on stage. Check out Worn Free Vintage – the brand was launched in 2005 to reproduce some of their favourite’s they saw on stage.

Christian Dare

Christian Dare

Christian Dare spent much of his formative years working in the fashion industry as a Visual Manager before pursuing a Masters’ Degree in Design. He is the Principal at Christian Dare Creative, the co-founder of Stylist Box and runs a successful men’s lifestyle blog, Christian Dare Edited,focusing on menswear, interior design and craft cocktails. You can find him online at www.christiandareedited.com or follow him on Twitter @christiandare but he is more fun on Instagram christian_dare. 

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