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A Guide for Buying and Styling Vintage T-shirts

Sheetal Mandora
Want to get your hands on some classic vintage t-shirts? Well, you're in luck because we have compiled a guide for buying and styling vintage T-shirts for you.

Where's the Authenticity?

To find authentic and vintage clothing, visit Goodwill or the Salvation Army stores as many people donate old clothes here. You can be sure to find one-of-a-kind pieces, and the prices will be so cheap that you'll have to return for more.
Vintage-style t-shirts or retro t-shirts are clothes from previous decades. They come in a wide range of designs like band names, movies, commercial products, superheroes, cartoon characters, movie stars, and other themes.
There are many people who have their own opinions about what "vintage" really means. According to some, if you say vintage, it would mean clothing that was produced before the 1920s.
On the contrary, wouldn't that technically mean "antique" rather than "vintage"? So, to not get confused so early on, when we say "vintage", we are talking about clothing that was produced after that time to 10 - 20 years before the present day.
Now that we have the "definitions" out of the way, let's focus on how you can get your hands on them, without having to spend a fortune. Trust me, if you happened to enter a store that sells premium vintage clothes, you might just have to fork out a pretty lump sum amount.
But that's not going to happen here because we will provide you enough tips and tricks that'll keep your hard-earned money where it belongs, in your wallet.

Guidelines for Buying Vintage T-shirts

The first thing you need to figure out is whether you want to purchase authentic vintage t-shirts, or the reproduction t-shirts that are manufactured to resemble so; the latter ones are actually new but made to look old.
And, one of the ways to understand the distinction between these types is the graphics on the t-shirts itself. Keeping this point in mind, let's take a look at some important dos and don'ts for purchasing 'authentic' vintage t-shirts.

Shop at thrift stores.

The clothes are sometimes sold in bulk for a very low price, which is an absolute bargain. Plus you'll have a ton of variety to choose from. Talk to store employees and managers to get tips on when high-end clothes will be placed for sale.

Check the label on the t-shirts.

Since the t-shirts have been either previously worn and discarded or are old, the labels will generally be faded. At times, they don't even have any brand stamps (t-shirts manufactured before the 70s).

Examine the quality of the print (graphics).

Most vintage t-shirts are a 50/50 poly-cotton blend, and the screen prints on the t-shirt have a rubbery texture. This happens because the polyester can't absorb the ink that is sprayed over the t-shirt.

The fabric will feel different.

Take the t-shirt in your hands. Does it feel soft, or thick and starchy? Well, if it's the latter, then perhaps you don't really have the right one.

Try on the t-shirts to get the accurate size.

Your regular t-shirts and the vintage ones will not be of the same size; the latter will be smaller. If you're at a store, do make it a point to try them on. And if you're making an online purchase, be sure to compare the chest size, and the length of the t-shirts.

A collector's t-shirt will sell for a lot.

Keeping the thrift stores and Salvation Army stores aside, if any stores or websites claim to be selling "authentic" vintage t-shirts, the price will give away its true value. A reproduced t-shirt will not be as valuable as an authentic one.

How to Style Vintage T-shirts

Over the years, you must've seen many celebrities, music artists, models, and even athletes sporting vintage t-shirts. And why shouldn't they? It's one of the best kinds of street fashion out there; and now's your chance to embody this trend, and make it a part of your wardrobe.
Wear your denim capris or crisp white pants with vintage t-shirts to conquer street fashion.
For Women
Modify your summer look with vintage t-shirts paired with cute shorts or a skirt.
Do you ever feel that you were born in the wrong decade? Does your current style remind everyone of the 70s, 80s, or any specific decade? Perhaps due to the longing to dress in a particular decade, or wanting to be different, many women are embracing the vintage style. You can revamp your wardrobe with a few simple alterations while pairing vintage t-shirts.
Hanging out with friends was never this quirky; wear your vintage t-shirts with linen pants or jeans.
For Men
These 'beach' boy looks never go out of style; try pairing your t-shirts with different styles of shorts.
Going to the beach or hanging out with friends, there's no specific reason or time to wear vintage t-shirts. Give yourself a fresh new look by wearing quirky vintage t-shirts with shorts, pants, and jeans.
And in order to pull the look off flawlessly, choose other clothing items with care. There's absolutely no need for layers, unless the weather pressures you into it. You want to capture the I-just-woke-up-and-put-this-on kind of sexy look.
And that's how it's done, people. Now you're armed with information, not just about how to go about purchasing these t-shirts, but also as a personal styling guide. We hope that you can find quality items, and perhaps create a unique style for yourself.