Band t-shirts are a perennial fashion favourite, showcasing both your sense of style and your great music taste. From Kanye rocking Rolling Stones tees at red carpet events ,to indie- and metal-inspired Gucci tees taking to the runway, the fashion world is really bringing the love for band tees. You can, too.

Band t-shirts are a must-have item for any wardrobe. You can style them smart under a suit, or wear them oversized with your fave jeans.

Penelope Armstrong (boohooMAN Senior Menswear Designer)


Origins of the Band T-Shirt

The first concert t-shirts appeared in the late 1950s, offered by an Elvis Presley fan club. The idea really took off in the 1960s, when S.F. Bay Area bands like the Grateful Dead started selling colourful tour shirts.

By the 1970s, concert t-shirts became band merchandise, soon-to-be music memorabilia and part of the city’s history. A Pink Floyd t-shirt from the 1970s or a Slayer t-shirt from the 1980s can show you how valuable band shirts can be.

Original concert t-shirts in good condition may sell for hundreds of pounds to collectors!

band t-shirts

How to Choose the Best Band Tee for You?

Wearing a band shirt goes beyond a fashion statement, it’s also a promotion. If you want to wear a band t shirt, you should at least be familiar with the band, their sound and even their politics. Every band stands for something, make sure you love what they stand for! With that being said, here’s a few more tips on how to rock a band t shirt.

1. For a Live Show

Wearing a band t shirt to a live show can make you second guess yourself. Should you wear the shirt of the band you’re going to see? Absolutely! Or, do what some of the pro’s do: wear a shirt of a similar band.

  • For example, if you’re going to see The Melvins, try wearing a Nirvana shirt. (Hint: the Melvins were Kurt Cobain’s favourite band!)
  • Extra points: buy a band t-shirt AT the show, then change into it in the loo!

Can I Rock a Tour Shirt if I Wasn’t There?

Some die-hard fans believe that you shouldn’t wear a tour t-shirt if you weren’t there. If you’re going to wear a tour shirt, be aware that people might ask you about it. Don’t pretend you were there if you weren’t–simply say, “They’re a great band, and I love the shirt!”

band t-shirts

2. Vintage: a Shirt with a Story

Sometimes, vintage band t-shirts might get handed down between generations. If you have an awesome graphic t-shirt from that time your parents saw Led Zeppelin, go ahead and wear it! That super-soft vintage ACDC t-shirt in the back of your uncle’s closet? Throw it on! Vintage license t-shirts can be a great conversation starter. Plus, well-worn tees have that super-soft feel everybody adores.

How to Style a Band Tee?

1. “Rock It!”

For a full-on rockstar style, try your favourite band tee with:

To complete the look, mess up your hair for that rockstar bed-head. 

band t-shirts

2. “Casual Friday”

For a casual Friday at the workplace, or a lazy Sunday afternoon with friends and family, your favourite band or hip-hop t-shirt can be dressed up with:

3. “Back to Black”

For an edgier look, rock some black skinny jeans and platform shoes or combat boots with your favourite hard rock shirt. This works especially well with gangster rap, goth and metal tees.

A silver chain, masculine sigil ring or a snapback baseball cap complete the look. If you really want to go for a bold, death-rocker look, try smudging a little black eyeliner under your eyes! 

band t-shirts

Take-Home Message

More than simply a memento from a gig, or a way of showing your musical colours, band T-Shirts can be of considerable importance – to both artist and fan. Throw on that Biggie t-shirt you love, crank up the music and sing along, and you’ll be looking good. Remember: the greatest accessory to a band t shirt? Confidence! (That, and a great pair of jeans!)


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