The humble t-shirt has been given somewhat of a fashion makeover lately; lace, studs, even leather, t-shirts have been smartened up and then dressed down again. But if you really want to be in the fashion know, it’s time to go retro.

The best thing about this trend is that you can get on board without spending a penny or even leaving the house. If you haven’t got a faded band, movie or retor designer t-shirt lurking somewhere near Narnia in the back of your wardrobe then no doubt your partner/brother/Dad will have one you can steal.

As with all trends there are a few golden rules to adhere to:

Understand your own t-shirt 

Never wear a band t-shirt if you are not a fan of the band and never wear a slogan t-shirt if you don’t understand the slogan yourself. Geeks are the champions of the slogan t-shirt and ignoring this rule will only make them angry!

My retro ACDC band tee

Be authentic

Retro tees are often talking points so make sure yours has got a good story. If it hasn’t been passed down through generations or stolen off a rock star at a festival then make something up; no one wants to hear that you bought it at a market.

Not quite a tee, but our Editor Sophie Maguire stole this hawaiian print silk shirt from her boyfriend. He picked it up on his travels around Asia.


Rip it, embellish it, cut it, knot it – the more original the better.

Editor, Sophie Maguire’s vintage safety pined 1991 Thelma and Louise crop top, an Ebay bargain at just £1.50

Go large

Tick two trends at once by wearing your t-shirt oversized and giving yourself much more room to play with. If you are buying new try going for men sizes for a bit more flexibility.

Editor, Sophie Maguire’s oversized mens vintage Calvin Klein tee, a vintage shop find.

Don’t play it safe

Retro t-shirts are fine paired with jeans but step it up into fashion territory by trying something a bit different. Tees look great tucked into skater skirts or knotted over body con dresses. For festival chic pair with cut offs, boots and a kimono.

If you can’t find anything authentic enough lying around then you can cheat by visiting stores like Truffle Shuffle, Urban Outfitters and Beyond Retro who always have a wide variety of retro and retro-look t-shirts. However, if you do manage to blag an authentic t-shirt from a loved one make sure you ask their permission before, for example, cutting the arms off an AC/DC t-shirt, or be prepared for the consequences.

By Samantha Vandersteen

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