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Retro T Shirts

September 4, 2016

Retro T Shirts, everyone should have at least one! This popular and simple item of clothing is one of the most versatile items in your wardrobe. Named after the shape of it, the T being the profile of the body and sleeves. Its simple design has given clothing brands a blank canvas to showcase their creations for many years. T-shirts are the perfect staple items to match with many outfits. Offering a way to showcase your personality with a range of colours, slogans and brands. As 90s fashion is coming back into the mix, retro tees have been revived with quirky and funky design.  Take a look at how past t-shirt trends are shaping vintage buys and modern t-shirt design.

History of retro t shirts

T-shirts were first created as an undergarment and were popular due to their affordability and comfort. Workers wore them as outerwear during the 40s and they became a popular item with people wearing them for everyday casual use. Due to their simplistic nature, they became a great opportunity for self-expression and advertisements. Slogans started to appear making them an affordable way to show your individualism.

Retro sports t-shirts

Sportswear utilised the t-shirt for many purposes. Not only did they provide comfortable clothing for training and sports kits, they offered a chance for fans to wear the same. Sports t-shirts gave the perfect advertisement and created a following and fan base for a number of teams and brands. Recent trends have seen sporty brands brought back into the limelight. Iconic sportswear such as Reebok, Adidas and Fila give you a 90s vibe paired with modern twists. There are plenty of retro t shirts available to recreate the vintage sportswear look.

Retro Adidas t shirt - trefoil

Retro Adidas t shirt – trefoil

Slogans and Branding

Decoration on t-shirts is a popular way to make them individual. During the 50s several companies made retro t shirt designs to advertise resorts. Yet this also gave the wearer a chance to take home a souvenir from their holiday. Iconic branding such as the Walt Disney characters started appearing on retro t shirts and they offered the perfect marketing tool. During the past few decades there have been several iconic brand names featuring on this garment. Coca Cola, Nike and Chupa Chups are just a few examples of wearable branding.

Retro slogan T Shirts

Slogan T Shirts

Retro band t shirts

One of the most popular ways to recreate a vintage look is wearing a retro band t-shirt. Rock bands have been creating iconic merchandise alongside the music for decades. It is now fashionable to get your hands on retro t-shirts with well-known bands and mixing it with current trends. The resurgence of 90s grunge style has offered the perfect opportunity to hunt out a band tee and pair with some tatty ripped jeans. Whether you like classic rock bands like AC-DC or prefer to moshing out to Slipknot, there’s a perfect retro band tee out there with your name on it.

Pop culture also has a vintage following with iconic slogans proving a must have retro throwback. T shirts from the 1970s including bright yellow happy faces, the Rolling Stones ‘tongue and lips’ tees and slogans such as ‘I heart NYC’ are sought after retro t-shirts.

Popular Rolling Stones vintage t shirt logo

Popular Rolling Stones t-shirt

Expressing yourself

During the early noughties, slogan t-shirts were a big trend. Anything with a quote or statement was in and this trend has seen a comeback in recent years. Although times have changed and we’ve seen a revamp in popular wording, this memorable time saw us donning t-shirts with a range of witty slogans and messages.

Retro slogan tees

Retro slogan tees

Reworking retro t-shirts

The diversity of this statement staple item means it’s a great garment to customise. A popular way to put your own stamp on them and relive a vintage throwback is by tie-dying them. This method of dying fabric originated from cultures in the Far East, Caribbean and African continents. During the 1960s this form of customisation became extremely popular especially amongst the hippie movement. It now offers a way to recreate this popular design on your very own retro t-shirt. Other ways to customise a retro tee include adding patches, embellishment and printing to your creation.

Customised tie dye t shirts

Customised tie dye t shirts

Styling a retro t-shirt

With the recent popularity of 90s trends, styling a retro t-shirt is really easy to do. The unisex nature of this versatile garment means it’s equally as simple to style for both men and women. Making your retro tee the centre of attention is a great way to create a vintage style and teaming it with other vintage goodies or modern pieces gives you the perfect on trend look.

So for the ladies, first make a choice on styling it super girly or give it a little edge. For a feminine twist, team a tucked in retro tee with a pleated midi skirt and cute pumps. Or give it a little edge and team your grungy retro tee with some ripped denim and bright Doc Marten’s.

90s grunge style t shirt

90s grunge style t shirt


For the guys, t-shirts are possibly part of your everyday wardrobe so pairing something retro will be super simple. For a preppy look, opt for a casual retro sports t-shirt (think Lacoste, Ralph Lauren) and mix with some chinos, you can also add a varsity jacket in there for good measure. For a grungy look, rock some acid wash ripped jeans with an on trend band tee and retro high tops to complete the look.

Styling a band tee

Styling a band tee


The beauty of the retro t-shirts trend is it will always come around. Brands, slogans and statement quotes have provided memorable fashion trends for the past few decades. New brands and different wording may change going forward but retro t shirts can still reflect past and present trends. Vintage style t shirts are ever-changing yet the basics stay the same and will always give us the perfect fashionable item to team with the variety in our wardrobe.

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