Why buy a vintage T-shirt?
If you’re looking for T-shirts that have a bit of personality and a more relaxed fit, vintage-style T-shirts are the way to go. They’re the perfect addition to outfits worn for in casual, laid-back settings, concerts, festivals, or simply lounging comfortably around the house. What makes them stand out more is that they typically have a print or design that is reminiscent of days gone by, be it a band or favorite childhood movie or simply an artistic style that was popular when you were younger. In other words, they’re the perfect combination of comfort, style, and nostalgia. And like vintage dresses, they’re a great option for anyone who prefers to dress in a more classic way.
What should you look for in vintage T-shirts?
- Authenticity: Technically, our picks and most vintage shirts sold online will be recently manufactured in a vintage style rather than actually being from the ’70s, ’80s, etc. If you want authentic vintage clothing, the best places to find them are thrift stores and specialty boutiques.
- Material: There are plenty of different fabrics from which vintage-style T-shirts are made. Most common are cotton, polyester, and spandex, or a blend of some sort, usually a polyester blend. These materials are known for having the “worn-in” soft feel, so you’ll want to keep a lookout for that as well.
- Design: Vintage-style T-shirts will typically have a print that shows off your favorite band, place you’ve visited, or sports team. They may also have holes or rips to give a more edgy style or some type of gradient, distressed fading that makes it look lived in. Some may be worn oversized for a more comfortable fit, while others may be tied at the bottom for a cute cinched-in look.
Are there any differences between what is considered retro vs. vintage T-shirts?
The terms “vintage” and “retro” seem to be thrown around together and switched back and forth to define a style that basically dates back to the past; however, these two terms are technically different. A vintage T-shirt is only considered true vintage if it was made 20 years or more ago. You can look into the tag, fabric, and reputation of the brand to find out if your T-shirt is authentic as well. A retro T-shirt, on the other hand, is a shirt that is made in more recent, modern times and usually has vintage-themed designs. Technically, the shirts in our roundup are retro or vintage style, not straight vintage.
SOLY HUX Women's Oversized Graphic T-Shirt
Take comfy and casual to the extreme in this oversized vintage graphic tee.
Pros: Whether running errands or lounging around the house, you’ll feel super relaxed in this oversized graphic T-shirt. It’s made of a blend of polyester and spandex to make it stretchy, soft, and durable for everyday wear. It features a rounded crew neck and has half-long sleeves that drop to make it look worn-in without being sloppy. The words “Los Angeles” in blocked lettering and “California” in a simple black font are printed on the front to give an old-school vintage vibe. It comes in multiple colors, from khaki to blue to pink to mint.
Cons: Some buyers may find this T-shirt may be too wide and boxy for their tastes, while the shoulders and sleeves may be too large on more petit frames (unless that’s the style you’re after, of course).
Bottom Line: You won’t sacrifice style for comfort in this roomy, carefree graphic T-shirt. Pair it with some ripped denim or your favorite sweats to complete the lived-in look.
LANMERTREE Women's Vintage Rock Band T-Shirt
If you're a die-hard lover of Queen, this vintage band tee will show your devotion.
Pros: Rock this Queen-inspired T-shirt at a music festival or concert to reveal your inner fan girl. It comes in a breathable, lightweight cotton blend and is offered in eight other colors for you to choose from. The iconic Queen logo is plastered on the front and shows the zodiac signs of all four members—two lions for Leo (John Deacon and Roger Taylor), a crab for Cancer (Brian May), and two fairies for Virgo (Freddie Mercury).
Cons: The colors of the shirt may look different in person than in its online product photos, so this may not be the best option if you’re after a specific color or shade.
Bottom Line: Any true fan of Queen will be happy to wear the emblem of their beloved favorite band. With its thin, soft feel, you can slip this on for any exciting occasion.
Fenxxxl Women's Short Sleeve California Oversized tee Graphic T Shirts Graphic Car Shirt Loose Casual Summer Tops Tunic F491-325-Black M
Sport this vintage tee that hangs in an oversized yet flattering way.
Pros: If you like the long, oversized, relaxed look, this vintage tee is the perfect alternative to your basic top. It’s made of soft, stretchy polyester and has a loose-fitting round neckline and silhouette that offers plenty of breathing room. It comes in a whopping 51 different color and print options, ranging from neutrals like black and white and beige to pink pastels and soft grays and much, much more. The retro prints range from a van with the words “West Coast California,” sun and moon designs, tie-dyes, and many others.
Cons: The colors and prints of this shirt, especially the tie-dyes, may not perfectly match the product photos (the ones with logos tend to appear smaller in person than in the photos). The sizing is also limited and often inconsistent.
Bottom Line: Long gone are the days of a stuffy, tight T-shirt that’s plain and boring. Chill to the max in this trendy graphic tee that gives a bit more edge to your style.
STAR WARS X-Wing 1977 Vintage T-Shirt
Throw it back to a long time ago in a faraway galaxy in this iconic Star Wars vintage tee.
Pros: Calling all Star Wars fans—this vintage X-Wing 1977 T-shirt is a quintessential addition to your collection. The cotton polyester blend makes it lightweight and simple to throw on, and it has a classic fit that falls right at the hips. The X-Wing and the year 1977 are printed on the front and fade out on the bottom for a vintage, worn-in look. It’s offered in slate, cranberry, silver, olive, and dark heather gray and is machine washable. And sizing runs up to a 6XL, including some tall sizes that offer extra length for taller people.
Cons: This T-shirt is form-fitting and runs small, so you’ll want to order at least one size up from what you usually wear. And your color options are a bit more limited compared to other vintage T-shirts.
Bottom Line: If you’re a long-time die-hard Star Wars fanatic, you’ll be reaching for this graphic vintage T-shirt more than you think. Because of its soft faded-out style and neutral coloring, it’s a versatile, understated piece that can be worn with almost any pair of bottoms.
Ultra Game NFL Women's Vintage T-Shirt
Root for your favorite football team in this jersey-like vintage tee.
Pros: Those who are true to the NFL will go crazy over this jersey-knit vintage top that makes you feel like you’re part of the team. It has a scoop neck design for a more casual appeal and has 3/4-length striped sleeves. The slub-knit jersey material is lightweight and offers a slim athletic silhouette, so you can wear it to the next football game or outdoor activity. It comes with a high-quality screen-printed design of a jersey number in your favorite team’s official colors.
Cons: The material of this shirt is see-through, so you’ll want to wear a tank top or undershirt underneath. There’s also not an option available for every single NFL team in the league.
Bottom Line: Show the love for your favorite football team inside and outside the stadium with this casual, distressed vintage tee. It’s a fresh fit that goes beyond the basic jersey.
Who knew that a T-shirt considered vintage and having an old, worn-in look would be appealing and trendy today? It stands true, and for good reason—a vintage T-shirt can bring back memories and nostalgia in a more modern style. Whether you’re a lover of music, a certain destination, or sports, a vintage T-shirt is a great way to show it.