For A Cool Shirt, Stick with Classic Icons

Novelty shirts are a bona fide mainstay in the “light-hearted options for fewer than 20 bucks” category of gifts. But the overarching category of “novelty, or “cool” (interchangeable) is not itself always a safe bet when choosing the right fit. They come in all sorts of varieties with all sorts of pop culture references (the one unifying factor in all such shirts is the graphical and/or textual shout-out to a facet of popular culture.) Anything from cereal mascots to ancient political campaign slogans can make their way onto a graphic T.

So choosing the right one for a nephew or a brother or a friend can be difficult because you want to make sure it’s not only the right size, but something they’d feel proud to brandish. You can count on the truth being that if they don’t like what’s on the shirt the only time they’re going to wear it is when they hang out with you. This is why I suggest vintage t shirts as the particular novelty shirt you should be browsing when picking one otherwise randomly. There are many reasons why but mostly because vintage t-shirts fall into a relatively safe category where they can either be cherished as beacons of a long lost entity of childhood ñ to an adult wearer, or a hip throwback to a time when things were simpler and less fake ñ to a teenager or young adult.

Other reasons include the decreased likelihood that what you’re going to pick is offensive or otherwise off-putting. A classic movie graphic or a corny pun about a forgotten personality or cherished character is far less likely to incite a confused response or never get worn in the first place. Even if you’re not a fan of history, history that can be brought to life even if it’s just a silly pop culture reference animates an inherent desire in us all to carry on traditions. Young and old t-shirt wearers are going to love to be able to “represent” a retro concept, for their own individual reasons but also because we simply like to keep those kinds of fires burning in the human timeline.

If you’ve settled on getting a friend or loved one a cool shirt but haven’t decided on what kind of cool shirt, I highly recommend vintage styles. They’re safe and always entertaining. Most importantly, they’ll actually get worn!

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