The graphic t-shirt may well be the international uniform of humankind. It’s truly gender-neutral and age defying; embraced by all races and religions without bias or judgment (depending on the message depicted, of course). While there is the somewhat cosmopolitan trope about a bat-mitzvah t-shirt from Detroit showing up in Africa, this iconic object is found on all continents, and even seems to be a regular part of the uniform on the International Space Station. It functions as a perfect canvas for forthright self-expression, speaking loudly before you even open your mouth. To celebrate this sometimes disparaged part of our modern wardrobes, we’ve gathered some of this season’s best graphic t-shirts for you to consider adding to your personal commentary.
There was a time when a Seventh Avenue designer would have looked down her nose and sniffed at the idea of including a t-shirt in her collection. Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McClaren changed all that in the 1970s, using them to push the punk scene’s anarchic messaging. Ever since then designer brands just can’t get enough of them, and don’t mind slapping a designer price tag on their creations, either.
It’s got the slightly oversized, grungy appeal of something from Justin Bieber’s wardrobe, partnered with a clean, bold graphic. We’re not sorry.
Puffy French chic meets Warner Brothers cuteness in this collaboration between Moncler and JW Anderson, perfect for après-ski or just about anytime a certain cool cat vibe is required.
James Perse tees are renowned for their soft finish and perfect fit. Here that luxury is paired with a severe graphic that describes Venice Beach, Calif., without the cheesy wave graphics.
So about those cheesy graphics. Free & Easy brightens any day with this 1970s-style sunshine and rainbows artwork that will help keep all of our modern anxieties in perspective.
It’s almost hard to imagine going for a nature walk in anything but a T-shirt. A polo shirt seems overdressed, and a button-down is really only right if it’s a flannel one layered over a T-shirt. We like outdoor-themed graphics, but they’re even better when the company that makes them does their bit to support the natural environment and uses earth-friendly manufacting.
Clean, fresh, barely there graphics are a trend across the design world, and Marine Layer’s Yosemite illustration nails it. The shirt’s made from a stretchy spandex blend that’s been peached for softness. It also features moisture-wicking.
Patagonia’s logo tee is made with 100% recycled materials, a fine blend of plastic bottles and cotton scraps, all while using 96% less water and creating 45% less CO2 than a conventional cotton t-shirt.
You can show off your National Parks pride with this National Geographic vintage art tee. It’s 100 percent cotton and printed using eco-friendly, water-based inks.
Whether music is your jam, or art inspires your world; you’ll find t-shirts that express your interests front and center. Everything from Beethoven to Metallica, Murakami to the Venus of Willendorf; from Maya Angelou to Sappho to Zaha Hadid to the Apollo Lunar Module; the classical muses from music and poetry to modern engineering are all covered.
Uniqlo has elevate t-shirt art to — well — an art form. The Japanese fast fashion giant introduces new collaborations every season in its UT collection. Own a piece of art for the price of lunch!
So we hear that one Woodstock t-shirt went for $10,000 on eBay a while back. We’ll settle for this natty repro for $40 and put the rest toward our laundry bills.
Comic books are your thing? Movies? We got you covered. Maybe your a hard core sports fan? You’re good. Maybe you’re just hopelessly devoted to a particular clothing brand? In any case, t-shirts are a great way for fans of any milieu to express loyalty to their community of choice.
We won’t tell anybody if you go hide in the treehouse for a few days wearing this t-shirt and taking a boxful of vintage comics so you can (finally) understand what’s really going on in the Marvel universe.
Warm up some wings and get ready for game night in this handsome shirt that is also a salute to our nation’s armed services.
Call me Ishmael. The Vineyard Vines founders got their start selling cute neckties from a boat, so we’ll give them props for starting an apparel empire that now counts thousands (millions?) of diehard fans.
You talkin’ to me? I’m walkin’ here. It ain’t how hard you hit…it’s how hard you can get hit. It’s not the size of the dog, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. Trying to let the world know just how tough you are (even though you always stop to help little old ladies cross the street, cry at romcoms, and drink Cosmopolitans)? These t-shirts let the world know you can take it and dish it out; with a side of kindness.
Drop and give us 20. But if you can’t, at least you can support your favorite leatherneck with this great looking tee. Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Veteran collections also available.
Tough enough to handle that dangerous break in the local wave pool? Dude. No worries. Grab this Hurley tee to wick away moisture, keeping you cool and dry under the most stressful circumstances.
Are you man enough to be a girl? Prove it. Grab this shirt for next time you’re out mastering your hard flip, or just flipping pancakes for Saturday morning breakfast.
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