Everyone loves a good tee. The soft hand of a t-shirt is a beautiful thing. Its casual texture can be dressed up or dressed down, and the lazy comfort of it can be masked under anything. It’s the perfect base to a blazer, jeans and statement necklace or even a formal printed A-line skirt and pumps.  No wonder several brands try and incorporate the perfect one into their collections, made with the softest sourced fabric and most effortless fit.

As we learned earlier, a go-to t-shirt is irreplaceable when you find the right one. Although you can easily seek one out at your local department store, there’s something special to be said about finding one that’s vintage. Whether it’s “Hard Rock Cafe” across the front or an image of a ‘70s rock band in concert, the t-shirt has, for decades, been a pop culture phenomenon. Yet, there is a fine line between finding a vintage t-shirt and one that’s simply been worn to death. Here are some points to keep in mind the next time you hit the vintage sales racks.

Try to look for a 50/50 cotton/poly blend, as they will have aged the best. The sporadic sheer spots, the naturally worn in holes, the retro text, and most importantly, the way the shirt falls on you, are the characteristics you’ll fall in love with. Most vintage tees will list the fabrication on the inner tag at the neck. If you’re lucky, you’ll score one with a tag just barely showing this text.

Stick to neutral colors like heather grey, black and red. White is good too, but it may be difficult to find one completely unstained. Years of wear and faded color must be considered, and neutral hues complement this best.

Avoid stains, paint splatter excluded. No matter how awesome and unique an article of clothing is, never settle for anything with stains more absorbent than paint splatter on it. There’s a difference between a topical characteristic left by a creative experience, and 20 year old sweat marks.

If text is included on the shirt, make sure you know what it is, or if a graphic, know what it stands for. The last thing you want is to unintentionally offend someone with that obscure seal on your chest. It’s best when the text or image directly speaks to you, whether it be your parents’ favorite band, an inside joke you have with a friend, or something you just connect with for whatever reason.

As always, have fun with it. Do a messy half-tuck into your jeans, rock it with black slacks and rolled up sleeves, or knot it up over a fun pencil skirt. There’s something that becomes so aesthetically sound when you put a vintage tee up against that printed skirt you just got from Zara. It collides two different time periods in a fresh and timeless way. Make it comfortable, and make it yours.

Do you have a favorite tee? What are the best parts about it? How do you style it?

Image via Tiffany Roohani

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