While some trends only last a season or two, band tees have managed to stand the test of time, remaining as culturally and sartorially relevant today as they were in the late ’60s when printed T-shirts from shows first became popular.
Indeed, their cool-factor is so high right now that a number of retailers have tried their hand at recreating concert tees with all the faded, distressed markings of their authentic counterparts. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, sure, but with reproductions running anywhere from $40–$200, you’re better off buying the real thing.
Since time travel isn’t something technology’s managed to solve for at this point, you won’t be shopping the merch table at CBGB, but rather the internet and more specifically—Etsy. The online marketplace is my worst-kept secret when it comes to vintage shopping. Its offerings are so vast and limitless that you get what you came for plus (in my case) a bunch of stuff you didn’t even know existed.
When you’re looking for a vintage band tee on the website, the name of the game is refining your search. Use the toggles on the left-hand side (when searching for vintage always select the vintage tab), set a price limit, and even be selective about your color choices (especially useful when you know you won’t wear anything other than black). With this information, you can go forth and wander the world wide web, but just to make things a tad bit easier, I’ve curated a starting pack of 12 vintage band T-shirts, a combination of iconic and strange.
And some last tips to make your vintage T-shirt shopping a success—Ramones, Rolling Stones, and Beatles T-shirts are a dime a dozen (so don’t spend too much time or money finding one), ’80s iconic acts like Metallica and Joan Jett are always on the more expensive side, and your most affordable bet is rifling through your parents boxed away clothing in storage. The shirts I’ve selected are cheap ($25), affordable ($45), and then only reasonable if you have undying love and affection for the subject ($222).
12 band tees you'll want to rock
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