Vintage t-shirts are one of the top men’s fashion trends of the summer, along with camp collars and loose-fit jeans. It’s a natural evolution of the tie-dye t-shirt trend of Summer 2020, and it’s also a longing for the “before times” after a stressful year. On top of that, we’re allso dressing more casually now than ever before.
Much like graphic tees, vintage t-shirts are a symbol that warm weather is here. It’s like the minute the temperature goes above frigid, t-shirts seem to flutter through the air. Vintage t-shirts always add a punch of color, style, sass and recherche to bygone brands and events. And they’re fun to wear too. Rather than digging your way through a vintage clothing shop, or rooting through the bins at a thrift store, we’ve hunted through the ‘net and found cool new vintage style t-shirts to add to your existing t-shirt collection.
As for styling a vintage t-shirt, that’s easy peasy. Throw one on over a long sleeve tee — that style’s back again. Wear over an open Hawaiian shirt, under a blazer or hoodie, or by itself. Vintage t-shirts can be worn with almost any type of pants, except dress trousers or tuxedos.
Scroll through for a trip down memory lane and grab a tee or two for yourself.
1. JAWS Classic Tee
When Jaws hit the silver screens back in ’74 two things happened: swimmers stayed on the beach, and everyone snagged a tee with the movie’s poster on the front. Weirdly, the movie has become a perennial summer movie. Much like the movie’s shark, this vintage-style tee keeps popping up.
JAWS Classic Tee
2. That 70s Shirt Happy Face T-Shirt
The smiling happy face was everywhere during the 70s; its inane grin could be found on any and every product. Then, it mercifully disappeared. The 90s and its sense of irony brought it back. And now it’s back again! This distressed and aged-looking vintage t-shirt celebrates the smiley face’s eternal optimism.
That 70s Shirt Happy Face T-Shirt
3. NASCAR Daytona 500 Vintage-Style T-Shirt
BEST FOR RACING FANS
As mentioned above, during the 70s and 80s it was cool to snag a souvenir tee when traveling or going to an event. This distressed tee features a classic muscle car and an even more classic race on its front. While I feel there’s a “Ricky Bobby” joke somewhere waiting to show up, I will behave. Suffice it to say, you can wear this car-themed tee anywhere.
NASCAR Daytona 500 T-Shirt
4. Ripple Junction Atari Pong T-Shirt
BEST FOR GAMERS
Pong was the first video game created, and it goes back to sometime around 1958. After computers and gaming systems became smaller, this game found its way into homes and caught on nationwide. Heck, even SNL did a skit on it. This vintage style cotton blend tee celebrates all things gaming and computers.
Ripple Junction Atari Pong T-Shirt
5. Playboy x Alpha Matchstick Tee
This collab between Playboy and Alpha Industries earlier this year threw us for a loop in the best way possible. These tees? Absolutely fire. A must-buy. A future must-have that’ll likely sell on Depop for hundreds upon hundreds of bones in the future. They have that vintage aesthetic we’re into so much and are super fashion-forward.
Playboy x Alpha Matchstick Tee
6. D.A.R.E. Vintage Wash Tee
Everyone and we mean everyone wanted a D.A.R.E. tee in elementary school. Owning one was like having stock in Dogecoin back when it cost only like, $0.0005. The iconic tee of your childhood dreams is now available for purchase right at Urban Outfitters. It has a worn wash to it and comes in white or black depending on your preference.
D.A.R.E. Vintage Wash Tee
7. Goat Crew Leo Vintage Tee
BEST FOR MOVIE BUFFS
Who doesn’t love the Leo remake of Romeo & Juliet? This cult classic takes on the OG story with an at-the-time modern twist fans geek over until this day. The late 90s-esque approach to the Shakespearean play really hits a nostalgic part in our hearts, so while this tee might not be as vintage-inspired as the rest, it still works.
Goat Crew Leo Vintage Tee
8. H&M Stay Pretty T-Shirt
Vintage t-shirts frequently celebrate funky comic books and equally funky counterculture art. Ofttimes, the two were entwined. Spongebob Squarepants gets reimagined as a 70s character on this pale yellow cotton blend tee. Luckily for us, every season H&M creates retro-styled tees at reasonable prices. It’s hard not to snap up the entire collection.
H&M Stay Pretty T-Shirt
9. Coca-Cola Vintage Logo Tee
Vintage t-shirts and soda seemingly go hand in hand, it’s an ever-present theme when it comes down to retro styling. This tee from Amazon accurately captures that nostalgia in their cotton crew neck by cladding this tee in the classic Coca-Cola logo. It’s incredibly straightforward in its appearance and is perfect to wear in warmer weather.
10. Balenciaga Oversized Distressed Printed Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt
This is the most random vintage-inspired tee we’ve seen to date. Remember those random t-shirt printing stands in the mall? You know, the ones that don’t have an actual storefront but awkwardly sit in the middle of the hallway? The shirts on display are fully customizable and portray “I <3 Grandma” logos with dolphins jumping and weird pet portraits that could have been designed in Microsoft paint. This tee right here pulls that aesthetic so perfectly it’s almost a joke purchase. Featuring four random photos of dogs, this “Love Dogs” oversized tee is so ridiculous that it’s perfect, making it a serious yes from us.
Balenciaga Oversized Distressed Printed Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt
11. Style Universal Totally Rad BMX Bike T-Shirt
BEST 80s VIBE
Channel 80s love of BMX and clashing bright colors with this vintage t-shirt. This cotton blend crew neck also comes in black, royal blue, heather gray and black. Wear it with any type of jeans or joggers.
Style Universal Totally Rad BMX Bike T-Shirt
12. Tee Luv Icee Polar Bear T-Shirt
BEST TASTE OF SUMMER
This is an officially licensed tee, so you’re getting a true vintage t-shirt style that’s brand new. Icees were made for hot summer days. The crushed ice and sugary syrup cooled you down and sometimes made your tongue bright red. Reviewers rave how the tee doesn’t fade and that it stays in shape, even after multiple washes.
Tee Luv Icee Polar Bear T-Shirt
13. HUGO Black Dozeki T-Shirt
You know when you go into a thrift store and come in contact with a tee that simply makes no sense? Like, why did someone choose to print whatever is printed on it? Who wore this tee? Why does it exist? This is that tee. Although it’s available at SSENSE and not your local thrift store, this vintage-looking tee will turn a few heads because, well, it genuinely makes zero sense.
HUGO Black Dozeki T-Shirt
14. Budweiser King Of Beers Retro Tee
BEST BEER TEE
Beer tees are some of the most iconic vintage tees that money can buy, but they’re hard to come buy in the wild when scowering your local thrift stores. Lucky for you, Urban Outfitters has a take on the vintage beer tee. This Budweiser tee looks like it was in your Dad’s dresser back in the 70s. It has a pre-worn design that feels dated and will look great in your summer attire this year.
Budweiser King Of Beers Retro Tee
15. Ripple Junction Schoolhouse Rock T-Shirt
BEST CHILDHOOD SINGALONG
A generation or two (or is it three?) of American kids grew up singing the songs from Schoolhouse Rock. Today, you can find their videos on YouTube, and someone told me the show’s a favorite with stoners. Whether you’re a long-time fan, love the graphics of the era, or whatever, this is a fun vintage t-shirt to own. This cotton blend crew neck tee has the show’s logo and characters that are framed by the phrase, “Knowledge is Power.”