Concert T-Shirt Etiquette

Concert T-Shirt Etiquette

On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I forced my boyfriend to drive me to literally every single vintage store in the entire city until I found exactly what I was looking for. Could I tell him what that “thing” was beforehand? Absolutely not. “When I see it, I will know.” Such goes the mercurial activity of thrifting.

Well, I saw many many things that once setting eyes upon, I knew I had to have them. A vintage tweed Chanel suit jacket, cropped perfectly for my bracelet wrists; a vintage Armani jacket that I truly believe belonged to Clair Huxtable; a Chanel bag (a few Chanel bags); Levi’s jeans; Souvenir jackets with moth holes the size of my life that cost five-thousand-dollars, meaning you’d probably get 1-2 wears out of them before they completely disintegrate; and alas, the hundred-dollar concert t-shirt, looking exactly how you would expect, thirty years after the concert.

I came home with none of the above, FYI.

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But the items that stuck with me the most were the ridiculously exorbitant original concert tees. Some of them hung precariously on a clothing rack, looking as though the dead spirits of their wearers slithered in and out of them as you perused. Others were mummified in big glass cases to stop further decay. Obviously the better the band, the more valuable the t-shirt. And any band whose members were all dead? They weren’t even allowed to be viewed by another human being straight on, but dangled above the ceiling in bulletproof boxes like the Mona Lisa.

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I, too, have an original concert t-shirt. It’s not from Woodstock or anything but The Black Keys concert here in Toronto, maybe five years ago? Here’s my plan. I’m going to wear the shirt ONE LAST TIME and then encase it in gold and bury it in my parent’s backyard. I’ll leave a note to my children in my will giving them exact instructions on how to unearth it, years later. Or even better, pass onto their children and so on and so forth until either nobody cares or we can resell it for one million dollars.

My spirit will be slithering all over the place!

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If you have a concert t-shirt lying around that you forgot about, I encourage you to bring it back into circulation! I love concert t-shirts with cutoff jeans, leather pants or even just bikini bottoms. If  you need more inspo (like as if I’m not enough) I highly suggest you follow @JosefineHJ. She’s much wiser than I when it comes to styling a Metallica t-shirt like a boss.

I styled mine with my H&M studio blazer, vintage denim cutoffs, Miista boots, Spektre sunglasses, Jenny Bird x Indigo jewelry and my Louis Vuitton Neverfull bag.

How do you style your concert t-shirts? Leave me a comment below and let’s trade techniques!

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    • Justine Iaboni
      July 12, 2016 / 11:23 am

      Thanks so much! I’m really glad you enjoyed it and thanks for stopping by. Ya! These t-shirts from the 70s were like in the hundreds of dollars and they looked like they were hanging by a thread. Unbelievable. I would be too scared to wear it, or wash it.

      xoxo J

      • July 13, 2016 / 12:51 am

        We concert vintage t-shirt enthusiasts prefer our t-shirts paper thin, road hard and delicate! We have multiple shirts and keep them in rotation so that they don’t fall part completely! When they do get to that point we frame those bad boys and retire them! Vintage t-shirts concert or not tell a story! Similar to that awesome Proenza Schouler soaked in milk paper thin tie-dye t-shirt they put out every year (they are incredible t-shirts that yes are soaked in milk for 72 hours after they are dyed) or the unwashed for 2+ years pare of A.P.C. jeans that someone wore almost everyday that people will covet or your grandfathers watch that you had fixed and reminds you of him every time you look at your wrist or those butter soft vintage Ralph Lauren sheets from the 1990’s that words can’t describe or the civil war sterling silver love tokens that I make necklaces with and gift my wife and friends that are priceless with the stories they tell or my wife’s grandmothers Chanel clip on earrings from the 1970’s she wore to her funeral and will always remind me of this special woman! The point is when you buy a vintage t-shirt for $75-$150+ which is the same damn price you would pay for a new Rag & Bone, Vince or Helmut Lang (before they lost their shit and ruined the brand recently!) t-shirt you own a piece of history that you should feel a part of when you put on with however you decide to rock it! Vintage concert t-shirts are worth every penny! Ask yourself next time you are at Neimans, Bergdorf, Bloomingdales, etc. when you are in the fitting room with that perfect looking tee looking in the mirror! Does this shirt move me? Because if it doesn’t that 1984 paper thin Bruce Springsteen and the E street Band or that Metallica “Metal Up Your Ass!” shirt you tried on at What Comes Around Goes Around in NYC should have!

        • Justine Iaboni
          July 13, 2016 / 11:36 am


          Your recap of basically every single vintage item worthy of keeping just made my day. I too have the vintage Chanel clip earrings that always make me smile. And I do have a few original gansta concert t-shirts from my parents’ heyday in the 60s that I hold dear to my heart. You make a very strong argument for favouring the paper thin concert t-shirt to anything, really. For me, I always thought it was better to have inherited such items rather than purchasing at a vintage store for such a high ticket price because at least you can really really be sure of the provenance. What Goes Around Comes Around is crazy obsessive about researching everythng they sell, so in that case, I would feel pretty safe dropping large amounts of money on their merch.

          The vintage game is a serious game. I’m just figuring out now whether or not I have enough wit (and cash) for the buy-in to sit at the table.

          Thanks for your comment. You are a stylish dude, if ever there was!


  1. sarahp13
    July 18, 2016 / 6:09 am

    why are your lips that colour. try learning to use lipstick

  2. Steve
    December 26, 2017 / 11:14 am

    I had project repat make a quilt with some of my old 70s,80s,90s concert shirts (can’t wear them, I wore medium then now I’m large to xl if 100 % cotton) and give it to my kids. It looks fantastic,great conversation piece and it’s great to see them in the light of day instead of being in storage somewhere.

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