In this section we highlight the vintage shirts you simply must have in your poly-cotton arsenal. Some are hot commodities while others are speculation on a future trend.
Halloween Selection: Vintage Novelty T-Shirts
Looking for a last minute and inexpensive Halloween costume? There’s a vintage t-shirt for that. You want to experience the high of being a pilot or pharmacist? There’s a tee for that. Want to be the fan of a really bad team or have a slim physique with a nice rack? There’s a tee for that too.
Info: The novelty tee is a deceptive t-shirt design which mimics the appearance of clothing, skin, internal organs or bones. The fad began to flourish in the early 1970s and was invigorated when rock tee designs followed suit. Countless new designs were released throughout the 1980s when printing and graphic innovations improved the realism of the effect. The fad fizzled quick while manufacturers were still trying to release the newest and greatest novelty design ever. The massive overstock was then re-purposed and customized for tourist shops and other related businesses. Eventually the novelty design found a niche amongst specific industries as promotional schwag, ie pharmaceutical or sports. In modern times these silly gems have became a staple in most collector’s closets.
HOT: If you want to spend an arm and a leg there’s the sought after 1970s Love You Live Rolling Stones tee designed by Andy Warhol. The simple black and white design features the bands faces across a faux neck-tie. Good luck finding it – the shirt is a limited print that was a promo party giveaway. Next in line is Alice Cooper’s Greatest Hits t-shirt that has an over the shoulder gun holster. You’ll have better luck tracking this one down on eBay, but it wont come cheap. Due to rarity we don’t have photographs of either but if you’re curious they are featured in the Vintage Rock T-Shirts book we reviewed.
If you’re feeling a little more risque there’s the rare Seditionaries tee that features bare breasts. Just make sure they’re real because Seds t-shirts have been counterfeited as of late. If you don’t mind dropping a few hundred bucks and wearing yellow the Neil Young suspenders t-shirt from his 1978 Rust Never Sleep tour makes regular appearances on eBay.
BUY LOW: Any shirt that isn’t rock related you’ll most likely score for the opening bid. The most classic and classy of all novelty designs is the tuxedo which has been an indie rocker favorite for years. The skeleton shirt saw a resurgence a few years back when Jake Gyllenhaal went skeleton in film Donnie Darko. Neither shirts will ever sky rocket in value but the savings from renting a tux alone makes it a wise investment.
We think the more ridiculous the theme the better, especially if there’s lots of attention to detail that would never actually occur in real life. Check out this veterinarian’s coat novelty t-shirt:
View the previous Essential Selection: vintage lightning bolt t-shirt.