Have you ever thought about what a t-shirt is? It is a style of fabric shirt named after the T shape of its body and sleeves. Simple as that. But why is the t-shirt the single most popular item of clothing? Because it’s easy. It’s versatile. It’s cheap. It is exactly its simplicity that makes the tee so popular with everyone.
However, over the years the t-shirt has become a prominent item in high fashion. While its easiness, versatility and lower price point are valid reasons for its overall appeal, are those reasons still valid when it comes to fashion? An industry that is notoriously complex, expensive and often inflexible. Our guess is not.
Over the years we’ve asked many of our customers what fashion is to them. Most of the answers revolve around art. The art of expressing oneself. Then, if fashion is art, the t-shirt is for sure the most accessible canvas. And here we are. A canvas. A piece of fabric to put on whatever you want and make it yours. Let it represent your thoughts, believes, your inner world to the outside one. Think Vivienne Westwood wearing the “Climate Revolution” t-shirt at London Fashion Week in 2012. Or Katherine Hamnett’s “58% don’t want Pershing” which she wore as an anti-nuclear protest when meeting Margaret Thatcher in 1984. Both communicated strong messages with a simple t-shirt. When it comes to fashion, the t-shirt is a medium of self-expression, of belonging. A graphic print can easily communicate a little piece of who we are, of what we love and believe to the world. In that lies its power.
Are graphic tees still trendy?
Iconic items are iconic for a reason. They never go out of style. Rather, they get reinvented. They get adapted from generation to generation and that is how they stay cool. Today, graphic tees are still popular with people from all ages and genders. Everyone wants to express a unique side of themselves – whether it is a band they like, a slogan they live by or their inner creativity, graphic tees are up for the job.
When it comes to what graphic tees are trendy in 2023, we can clearly see a shift towards retro-inspired and vintage pieces. This is a trend led by gen Zs’ and young millennials’ nostalgia over the 90s and early 00s. The undoubtedly cool times of carefree shenanigans, when everything felt new and exciting.
Since we are talking all about self-expression and uniqueness, it is important to note another trend. Customised graphic tees are becoming more and more popular. It may be the thrill of wearing something nobody else has, or the accessibility of printing your own artwork. Or a combination of both. But customisation has been in for a few years now and it is staying. It’s just cool to wear something that is just yours.
How to style graphic t-shirts?
Now that we’ve established the importance of the graphic tee and why you would want it in your wardrobe, it’s time to look at how to style it. Frankly, there are infinite ways you can style a graphic tee. This is how versatile they are. We will highlight our favourite outfits and give you some cool tips and tricks.
The Punk-Chic look is the perfect mix of two pretty different styles. The result is a classy outfit with a lot of edge. It is youthful, bold and ambitious.
To achieve this look, choose a more punk or metal-inspired tee. Go for regular fit or slightly oversized. Black or dark grey. It’s best to pair it with formal trousers with a loose fit. This look is effortless so you should be able to move freely in your trousers. If you choose black trousers, the outfit will be more formal and sleeker. However, if you’d like a more casual and dynamic look, go for a contrasting colour. Think beige, military green, light grey.
Now accessories. This is one of the cases where more is more. Chic is about glamour. And nothing says glamour like jewellery does. So, layer your necklaces. Put on a pair of bold earrings. Dress your hands in rings and bracelets. It’s a party.
What about bags? Choose a fancier purse or tote bag. Don’t go for a casual bag or backpack because this will take away too much from the outfit. Moving on to shoes.
When it comes to shoes, flat sandals are ideal for this look. They can best communicate that this look is easy-going. Effortless. Cool.
The Punk-Chic look is definitely one of our favourites. We love mixing styles and we live for bold and edgy outfits.
Feeling more casual today? Then you may want to go for the nonchalant look. This one is chill, playful and not as dramatic as the Punk-Chic look. It’s perfect for when you’re just wandering around town but still want to look stylish.
For this outfit, grab your tee and a pair of mom jeans with a comfy fit. When it comes to t-shirt colour, choose whatever colour you like. You can’t go wrong. Since you are cool and carefree, tie your tee on a knot around your waist. This will highlight your shape and compliment the overall silhouette. If you don’t want to get it wrinkled, you can also tuck it in your jeans. But as we said, you are carefree, so you go and knot it.
This look is all about being casual, so our suggestion is to go easy on the jewellery. Pick just the essentials – a pair of earrings and a necklace. Best to keep it minimal.
You have more flexibility with the purse and shoes. You can go for a clutch or backpack paired with sandals. If you’d like to add a bit of spice, then ankle boots and a black hobo bag would do the trick.
What is so great about the Effortlessly classy look is that you can take it everywhere. It will never fail to impress. It is a look that you can wear to the office. Going out with friends. To any formal event. You will nail it every time.
Now how do you get your casual, slightly worn-out tee to look classy? Let’s pair it with the most formal look out there. A suit. Choose one with a comfortable, slightly loose fit that allows you to move freely. You don’t want to be stuck in your suit. You want it to feel empowering and for this you need to first be comfortable.
What is so great about this outfit is that it is unexpected. This is why it’s best to go for an unexpected colour for the suit. Choose pink, yellow, green. Whatever colour makes you happy and confident. But let it be bold because this outfit needs to shine.
A suit is so powerful and says so much that you don’t need to go big with anything else in this outfit. Go for casual, comfy sneakers and a discreet bag. Definitely don’t over accessorize. Anything too flashy will create a confusing clash.
This is another look where chic is mixed with a style from the other end of the spectrum. It is another great combination. This time between chic and activewear. The result is a youthful, sporty and super cool outfit.
For this look choose a longer and looser tee. We recommend white as it goes well with the active vibe. However, other light colours will work well too. Pair the tee with above-the-knee bike shorts. That’s right. As we’ve said before, every item of clothing can make an awesome outfit with the right styling. Bike shorts are no exception. Now, to elevate the look, put on a sleek, long line blazer. It has to have a loose fit. A blazer fitted around the waist will just look weird for this look. It’s best to colour coordinate the bike shorts and blazer to make sure that the outfit is cohesive. Likewise, you want to match your tee, socks and trainers.
This outfit allows for more jewellery. Think layered necklaces. If you’ve chosen a white t-shirt, then gold jewellery would look great. However, if you’ve opted for a colourful tee, silver is going to look better as it is a more minimal hue. Grab a fancier purse to match the chic vibe of the blazer and you have a breezy active chic look!
It wouldn’t be 2023 if we don’t include a Y2K outfit as well. This is an outfit all about being too cool for school. It is androgynous, comfortable and it simply says, ‘I do what I want to do’. It is inspired from streetwear and leisurewear and even if it looks so casual it is not that easy to pull off right.
To achieve this look, you need an oversized tee with a cool graphic, even animated print. You may want to go through your boyfriend’s wardrobe as well. Combine it with a pair of loose track pants. You can tuck in the tee a bit or let it loose – there really aren’t any rules here. Do what feels better to you.
It’s important to pick a pair of trendy, statement trainers that catch the eye. Shoes are extremely important part of streetwear and they do need to stand out.
When it comes to jewellery, purse, hair and make up, go for elevated, put together vibes. It’s a messy look but you still want to look stylish. That’s why you need to balance the casualness of what you have so far. Pick a classy purse, chic earrings and style your hair in a low ponytail or bun.
These are our 5 go to outfits with graphic tees. With all that covered, we’d also like to look at where to buy high-quality graphic tees.
What websites have the best graphic tees?
Before we delve into online stores (because let’s be honest, we mostly shop online now), it’s important to mention that one of the best places to find super cool graphic tees are vintage stores.
And when it comes to online stores here are a few suggestions:
blonde gone rogue
We have an awesome collection of high-quality tees. You can find minimal designs or big prints as well as blank tees in bright colours. All of them are made from durable organic cotton that feels soft on your skin. Our favourite style is the London Organic Tee
. Check the whole collection here
is a brand that focuses on materials science and fabric innovations. They have a great selection of organic cotton tees. Recently they’ve done a number of graphic tee collabs with artists. Think colourful and funky prints.
is a marketplace where independent artists sell their creations. They have stickers, posters, phone cases, clothing and a huge selection of graphic tees. It’s a wonderful world of creativity.
How to care for graphic tees?
There are a few more questions we often hear that we’d like to answer. They have to do with how to care for your tees and more specifically – tees with graphic prints.
Why do graphic tees crack?
If the print on your graphic tee is cracking, this is caused by a combination of two things – the quality of the print and how you care for the t-shirt. Here are some customer care tips that are sure to prolong the life of your tee:
- Wash the t-shirt only when dirty. Putting clothes in the laundry after every wear is an extremely bad idea. It is bad for the environment, bad for the clothes and it is costly to you. In stead, wash your t-shirt only when it really needs it. The rest of the time you can simply air it out. When this is done, make sure to put it away nice and neatly. It will help it feel fresh for longer.
- When you do wash it, turn the t-shirt inside out when putting in the laundry machine. This will protect the print from rubbing against other clothes in the wash. Hard fabrics like denim will get your graphic prints cracking.
- Always wash cold. No more than 30 degrees. There is no real reason to wash your t-shirt with hot water. It is another case that is bad for nature, your tee and your electricity bill.
When it comes to recognising good quality prints, it can be a bit trickier, but you can do a couple of things. Firstly, touch the print and check if the quality feels nice. You can stretch the material around the print a little and see how the print reacts. If it immediately starts showing cracks, the quality is not great.
Secondly, you can research online the brand of the tee. Does it seem like a responsible company and what do customer say about it? Responsible companies with happy customers have high quality products.
Is it OK to iron graphic tees?
Yes, but only if you turn the t-shirt inside out. Ironing straight on the print can melt it or damage the quality. Turn your tee inside out and iron it at low to medium temperature. Keeping the temperature lower will protect the fabric and prolong the t-shirts life.
Should graphic tees be hung or folded?
Generally, knits or jersey clothes are better off folded. This is because they are stretchy and handing them can put too much pressure on the material. This can result in deforming the original shape of the item. However, t-shirts are generally lightweight so it is unlikely that hanging them will cause any damage. So, in short, it is up to you whether to fold or hang your tee. We do have a few tips depending on which you choose:
- If you fold: fold it neatly making sure not to fold hard prints (these are heat transfer prints that feel more rigid on the fabric). Folding the print can create a permanent crease or a crack.
- If you hang: make sure the fabric is not too heavy. If you can see the fabric stretching on the hanger, it is better to fold.
This is our take on graphic tees! Hope you enjoyed the article and let us know if you have any questions in the comments below!