In the 1950’s and 60’s the line between dress clothes and clothes meant for play was a tad blurry. Suits and button up shirts were the norm for formal events and business, sure, but those button-ups didn’t always come off when it was time to loosen the tie. A dressier, more classical mode of dress was employed by many men for decades. The mainstream trend of wearing t-shirt was not one that had yet been widely accepted.
Fast forward to the 1980’s and we found ourselves in a fashion landscape dominated by brighter and brighter colors, ever more pop culture references, along with a looser, grungier aesthetic. T-shirts, whether they were displaying the name and/or graphic of a musical artist or movie, or perhaps simply an artists rendering of a design they felt fashionably now (and we’ll get to that), were growing in popularity.
From that fashion forward 80’s age, in terms of casual dress anyway, came the true explosion of the graphic tee market. Today a t-shirt might be priced at more than a formal shirt might have been priced in the 1970’s. There appeal and acceptance as a true representation of one’s own unique personal fashion sense has taken hold.
Graphic designers from all areas of the artistic design world have been using their talents to carve out niches in the graphic tee industry. Graphic tees for men range from socially relevant catch phrases and pop culture references to whimsical takes on design as we know it. The artistic creativity in some of these shirt transform the fabric from a simple pieces of clothing to personal items that are cherished as highly as a work of art. Obviously, this could be overstating matters, but when a truly unique graphic tee is designed the result can be a piece of clothing that not only stands the test of time, but also stands out in the wardrobe of that person.
Graphic tees for men as a mode of defining one’s style is not just a fad, so it seems, but a true expression of individuality and style.