Style Explainer

How to Up Your Ironic T-Shirt Game

Your tee has a Dolce & Gabbana logo. My tee has a unicorn shooting rainbows out its butt.

By Javier Garza March 19, 2015

The plain white tee is just the beginning.

For certain sub-groups of the populace, there is but one item of clothing that rules above all others: the t-shirt. Whether relaxed or tightly fit, plain white or emblazoned with the name of your favorite band, brand or local pizza place, your tee shirt says more about you than all other fashion choices combined. Why else do you think men design workouts around looking good in one?

For a gay hipster, the t-shirt game is even more complex. The right t-shirt tells those around you not only that you're clever/nerdy/sporty/artsy but the color also indicates to potential partners what type of sex acts you prefer. (Just kidding! That's what bandanas are for.) Luckily, there are some easy-to-follow rules so you can pay less attention to your tee collection and more attention to Bravo.

1. Ironic detachment is a must

Don’t act like you took hours match the correct t-shirt to the correct skinny jeans you bought at Buffalo Exchange. Effort is overrated.

2. Don't get caught in the same tee as another hipster

The easiest way is to shop Threadless for shirts designed by artists and voted on by users. The t-shirts are usually printed in limited runs, so it’s a good bet that you’ll be the only wearing a Muppets-based pun t-shirt at Poison Girl. Plus, when you discover the Threadless + Gap line, you can claim that you liked Threadless before everyone else did.

3. Never wear a band shirt for a band you actually like

Why wear an Elliphant shirt? Advertising is for the corporate masses spoonfed pop music through the machine. Wear that Taylor Swift tee because it’s so mainstream it’s actually countercultural. Note: No one actually likes 30 Seconds to Mars.

4. Deep v-necks are never not appropriate

In fact, the deeper the better. What better way to show off your lack of chest hair, overabundance of chest hair, or that unfinished chest tat that you need to pick up a few extra shifts at Black Hole to get colored in?

5. Don't fear patterns

Bright, colorful, garish—these are all compliments. Don’t be afraid to borrow from other cultures, either. Since the whole Southwest theme is overdone (thanks mostly to Topman flooding the market), think dots, not feathers.

6. Invest in a T.B.T.

Everyone should have a tight black tshirt. The tighter the better—must be able to show outline of nipple piercing or lift to show some of that manja when you reach for your Lone Star. Must be completely black. Exceptions include shirts for CBGB's, Black Flag and the Misfits.




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