Everybody’s closet features a section dedicated to basic T-shirts. Out of all the types of tops available, from button-downs to tanks, a classic crew neck tee reigns as the most essential of them all. T-shirts play a major component in a cozy, casual look and pair with a range of bottoms like jeans, skirts, leggings, and shorts. Within the T-shirt subsection, other than plain neutral, graphic tees are the most beloved type of shirt.
Since the late ‘90s to the early 2000s, graphic tees dominated the streetwear fashion scene. Many starlets of that era brought the graphic T-shirt to fame, from Pamela Anderson and Britney Spears to Kurt Cobain. Within the music industry, graphic tees provide a great merch option, advertising album covers and band names. Now, many years later down the line, a good old symbolic shirt continues to dominate boutiques and clothing aisles. Here are five contributing reasons why the graphic T-shirt is still popular today.
Throwback Fashion Trends
The 2020s deem themselves the era of throwback fashion trends, and there are numerous reasons why throwback trends reign the fashion scene. As part of the Y2K return movement, graphic tees step back into the limelight.
In the early 2000s, a graphic shirt paired with denim made an iconic outfit that embodied the era. Paris Hilton often rocked a classic low-rise denim miniskirt paired with a graphic tee, creating the “it” summer girl look. Even the pivotal Bratz dolls wore a slogan tee with denim bottoms.
Along with pairing a graphic T-shirt with low-rise denim, another popular Y2K way to rock an illustrated shirt involves sweats. Juicy Couture’s matching tracksuits featured low-rise sweatpants and a matching colored zip-up hoodie with the words juicy on it. This trendy set dominated numerous wardrobes and fashionistas looking to rock a stylish yet cozy fit. Many took the same tracksuit look and swapped the hoodie with a Juicy T-shirt. Graphic tees played an ever-present role in Y2K and late ‘90s fashion. As these throwback trends continue to revive, graphic T-shirts remain a popular look.
Simple and Comfortable
Crew neck tees are a staple cozy and streetwear outfit component. They often come loose-fitted and feature soft materials like cotton, polyester, or a blend of the two. Compared to how throwback trends style their graphic tees, a more modernized way includes embracing the simplicity and comfort of the crew neck base.
Although the late Princess Diana first made the look known, nowadays, a popular cozy outfit choice is wearing an oversized graphic tee or sweater with biker shorts. This look encapsulates chilled, comfy, and sporty aesthetics, making it a common everyday casual attire. Pairing the look with sunnies, ankle socks, and white sneakers mirrors the styling variation Dianna wore.
Loose graphic tees also make a frequent appearance in skater aesthetics. The crew neck and loose fitting design give skaters upper body mobility and breathability. The graphics add a touch of style, and when paired with cargo pants, it produces a simplistic yet trendy classic skater streetwear.
Form of Self-Expression
Fashion is one of the most common forms of self-expression. It highlights the aesthetics you like, color preferences, and the type of activities you engage in. Graphic designs allow you to further express yourself. They often feature quotes, relatable messages, locations, bands, people, and designers, among many other symbolic illustrations that highlight a piece of your personality.
Many businesses and groups of people use graphic T-shirts as a form of merch. They advertise their name, artwork, and sometimes even individuals. People a part of any fandom, from sports teams to music artists, like to wear graphic tee merch to showcase their pride, support, and connect with others in the fan community.
Since graphic art varies in numerous ways, there are countless opportunities to express pieces of yourself with a graphic tee. From book clubs to favorite musicians and designers, wearing an image or text relating to something you care about allows you to put a slice of your personality on display.
Makes a Statement
Along with propaganda, graphic shirts also give people the opportunity to wear influential messages. In the same way you would wear a band shirt to support the musicians, wearing a quote about certain topics, like mental health, helps spread the word and shows your loyalty. In this way, graphic tees make a statement in more ways than one.
From political groups to positive words of wisdom, there are numerous ways a graphic T-shirt can share an important message. Not only does wearing the shirt spread awareness or positive vibes when people see you on the street, but it also gets the message across when photographed or hung in shops.
From a more fashion-centered point of view, graphic shirts also make a statement by being an outfit staple piece. When paired with plain bottoms, the designs on the T-shirt grab all the attention. They act as a statement item in your outfit, adding something new to the streamlined look and standing out.
Graphic T-shirts are simple basic tops with a print. Their simplistic design structure allows you to style the shirt in various ways. Popular styling options for a graphic T-shirt include:
- Oversized with leggings
- Knotted at the bottom
- As a top layer of a dress or long sleeves
- Tucked in high-waisted bottoms
- Paired with a blazer
Graphic T-shirts offer lots of style versatility, making them a great wardrobe essential. Their multifaceted purpose also makes the shirt consistently apparent and prominent in numerous looks and trends. Plus, it makes them a clothing piece fit to wear year round and with any aesthetic.
Various factors play into why the graphic T-shirt is still popular, from throwback nostalgia to versatility and comfort. Owning one or multiple graphic T-shirts equips your wardrobe with a stylish piece that continues to stay relevant as each year passes on. Plus, with new imagery and prints coming to fruition, it’ll continue to stay a popular fashion piece. At Two Cumberland, we offer a range of graphic T-shirt that sport fun quotes and colorful designs. Check out our selection of women’s boutique tops online and find a graphic T-shirt that expresses your soul and enhances your wardrobe.