The band/concert T-shirt is very popular in this day and age, especially on a college campus. Every day, dozens of students wear T-shirts of their favorite bands or memorable concerts they’ve attended. However, this may be the article of clothing that is the most abused in terms of wear.
This week I am here to present you with the rules and etiquette pertaining to band/concert T-shirts. To do this, I went to the experts. I asked for advice from two music aficionados, Sera Clayton, sophomore elementary education and psychology major, and Mike Leahey, senior professional writing major. But this article would be incomplete without Destiny’s Bastard Children (Tuesday nights 9 p.m.-12 a.m. 91.3 FM WTSR), who ran a segment dedicated entirely to this subject. So, for further expert information and analysis I asked graduate student Sean Wilson, also known as Bastard #3. After all of this research, I have come up with four cardinal rules concerning the concert/band T-shirt.
Rule #1: Band/Concert T-shirts should not be worn just to make the wearer look cool.
Too often people wear T-shirts of either hip or obscure music acts just to look cool. As Wilson said, “I just hate people who wear them for the sole purpose of ‘being seen.’ Alright dude, you’re wearing a vintage Dinosaur Jr. shirt, we get it, you’re cool, get over it.” These feelings intensify further when celebrities and music artists try to pull the same trick. “It reflects badly on the music community,” Clayton said. Wilson was more blunt. “They do the same (crap) that regular folks do, trying to appear cooler then they really are,” he said.
Rule #2: Wearing reissue T-shirts from older famous bands/concerts only makes you look worse.
It is certainly one thing to have an original shirt from a classic band or concert, but it’s quite another when you go out and buy a reissue of that shirt, which is a crime against both fashion and music. “Suddenly you have girls who know ‘Stairway to Heaven’ running around in Led Zeppelin T-shirts,” Clayton said. “But in reality they only found out about that song when their boyfriends played that Tenacious D song ‘Tribute’ for them.” The problem, like in the first rule, is worsened when celebrities or music artists break the rule. Or as Clayton put it, “Somehow, so-called ‘rock’ singers decided that they would get some credibility by stealing the logo of an old band.”
Rule #3: Buying a band/concert T-shirt at a show and then wearing it at that show is intolerable.
This one should be self-explanatory, but it sadly gets broken all the time. If you have to resort to buying a shirt at the show and then putting it on, then you either have no T-shirts of any type or no dignity. Please wait until you get home and wash it first for crying out loud. Hats are immune to this rule.
Rule #4: There are certain concert/band T-shirts that should not be worn in any environment at any time.
While wearing a band/concert T-shirt can be a good form of support for a group, there are certain shirts that should not see the light of day at any time. Wilson makes this distinction clear: “If you are under 20, you should not be wearing a Misfits T-shirt at all,” he said. “Also, don’t ever under any circumstances wear T-shirts for record labels. What the hell is your problem? Are you a member of the ‘street team’? No one cares if you are wearing a Fat Wreck Chords T-shirt.”
Overall band/concert T-shirts are innocent things and, as Leahey said, “They are a good way to support the bands that you like.” But it is individual actions that turn these T-shirts into more than just “nice souvenirs.” So, please try to follow the rules I have laid out for you when you wear your band/concert T-shirts. Believe me, by doing so you help to make the music community better.