BAND T-SHIRTS: THE FIVE GOLDEN RULES
Last week, it was International Wear A Band T-Shirt Day. (It was also National Toast and Jam day and the International Day of Useless Made Up Days Day). Ageing men in IT and freelance graphic designers all over the world wore their Black Sabbath tees with joy. After all, band t-shirts are cool, right? They’re a bit grungey, a bit rock and roll, a bit sexy, right? Well, not always. Here’s my guide to wearing band t-shirts with style…
1. A band T-Shirt is for life
If you’re a band t-shirt rookie, remember – they’re not just clothes. They’re a statement of your love of music. So if you’re going to wear a ‘vintage’ faded band t-shirt from say, Urban Outfitters, featuring Led Zeppelin or the Ramones, make sure you have at least heard of the band. The shirts may be cool fashion items in themselves, but wear them without feeling and they are utterly meaningless. You may as well just get a t-shirt with a picture of some margarine, or a mitten, or a washing up brush, with ‘DONKEY’ written underneath.
2. Never wear a band t-shirt at said band’s gig
You love a band, and you want to tell the world. As a former admirer of Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, I totally understand. But when you go to see them live, leave the shirt at home, fangirl. It’s sad and a little bit creepy – like getting a tattoo of your best friend on your chest which says ‘I love my Best Friend’ and showing it to your best friend every time you see them. Two teenagers in the queue behind me at a gig the other week were aghast at someone wearing the band’s hoodie. It’s a huge cross-generational no-no. If you’re a fan, try a more subtle attempt at showing your devotion, like going through their bins, letting down the tyres on their tour bus, or writing your name in blood on their mum’s front door.
4. Do not accept imitations
There’s nothing worse than a hooky band t-shirt, laser printed at www.shittshirts.com and bought from the back of an unmarked van outside the venue. The transfers wash off, the stitching falls apart, there’s no returns policy, and all the money goes to a man called Dave with three teeth who has a lock up in Chigwell. It’s like buying a Frendi or a Zulberry bag, or walking around in Bivienne Bestwood. So not cool. Instead, go to the merch stall and buy the official stuff direct from the artistes. But wait until you get home to wear it. Don’t, whatever you do, put it on over your sweaty post-gig clothes, wave your arms around and go ‘whooooooah’. (see number 2)
4. Do not wear a band t-shirt after 40 unless you are a roadie
It’s a tricky one this, and I grapple with it every day. I may be an old boot, but maybe I WANT to wear an Azealia Banks T-shirt on the school run. But then I think, no, I don’t need to do this anymore. Young people need visual markers so they can find each other and have tedious conversations in coffee shops about the stuff they like, before settling down together to have tedious conversations about Ikea lamps. But as you get older, you don’t need to wear your heart on your sleeve. You’re an adult, and you have so many responsibilities that nobody really cares what you’re into any more. If you want attention, get a nice age appropriate outfit and hairdo instead – or failing that, a mobility scooter with a clown horn on it.
5. Remember, they are the female equivalent of Lynx and Rohypnol
Are you a lady? Got some pesky virginity lying around that you don’t need anymore? Want to get laid by a guy with a beer can village in the corner of his room? Wear a band t-shirt! It’s an AAA pass to amateurish sex. All you need to do is mumble ‘yeah, I really liked their early stuff, before they went all shit’ and a passably attractive hipster guy with a beard will show up to earnestly discuss My Morning Jacket with you while trying to put his hands in your licorice allsorts. Incredibly, they have the reverse effect on women, who take one look at a guy in a band t-shirt and think: I BET HE HAS B.O.
Lucy Sweet x