What Happened to the Internet’s Favorite T-Shirt Company?
November 7, 2017 1:36 PM   Subscribe

 
Sorry to hear all of this, sincerely. But shocked that some shirts when printed smell like rotting corpses? WTF?
posted by agregoli at 1:40 PM on November 7


My wife recently got some POD shirts and they smelt intensely of vinegar.
posted by selfnoise at 1:46 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


In addition to all the factors mentioned in the article I feel like their customers just don't wear t-shirts with stuff printed on them anymore. I don't think it's just people aging either; it felt like the clever t-shirt was a legitimate (if not particularly sophisticated) fashion trend of the early aughts and kids these days aren't doing that.
posted by danny the boy at 1:54 PM on November 7 [41 favorites]


Yeah, the Direct to Garment odor can sometimes be pretty strong. Threadless is not the worst of the lot, though. After my struggles with finding a way to print women's t-shirts without going broke/mad, I looked into a bunch of Direct to Garment printers.

Threadless was the best of the lot, although I like the actual shirt used by Teespring a bit more. I ended up opening one of them Artist's Shops on Threadless as a way of test marketing new designs that I might want printed locally to sell at events. It's been a mixed bag as I feel like I can either spend all my social media ad mana on promoting my Threadless shop or my Etsy, but not both. I was even featured on their blog, which was neat, but that didn't really lead to extra sales or anything. Which is okay, I guess, as I'm a printer and my stuff is not as shirt friendly as most the site.

So basically I'll upload new designs to Threadless now when I clean them up for use as vinyl stickers or magnets or something. Best use so far has been for folks wanting custom colors or sizings - it's been a real help to be able to say, "Sorry, I don't have that size/style at hand, but if you go here..." I might look into doing coupons or something for events ("Like this design? Want it on a shirt? Ask for a coupon for $2 off if you order in 1 week!") but am concerned that'd stop people from buying from me at the event. I only get like $5 a shirt, after all.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:57 PM on November 7 [12 favorites]


There are a couple cartoonists I really like, and they have used threadless as an easy way to fulfill my pleas for their artwork on a tshirt. I, too have found the vinegar smell, but it comes out in the first wash. The shirt quality has been fine. I am an old and still like dumb stuff on tshirts.
posted by blakewest at 1:58 PM on November 7 [7 favorites]


fashion trend of the early aughts and kids these days aren't doing that.

I'm not a good data point, because I still wear them now into my 30's, but I've never noticed the rate changing since those days, and I still live and work in the same area as I did then.

I think it's more that sites like Shirt.woot, Teeturtle, The Yetee, etc, which also use daily/weekly crowd-voting methods have ate into their bottom line quite a bit, and they're forced to change tactics. Even Shirt.woot, arguably second in popularity to Threadless, have started printing on demand a few years ago.
posted by numaner at 2:04 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


I'll always associate Threadless with the "Also sprach Myamoto" design that unfortunately never got printed because of copyright issues.

Update: seems there was a small window of time where it did get printed. Aargh!
posted by Captain Fetid at 2:05 PM on November 7 [4 favorites]


For me, it's that you just don't need that many t-shirts in your life. I brought a bunch of Threadless t-shirts at one point in my life, because I moved to a house without laundry machines and was doing large runs at the laundromat at longer intervals. By hitting their sales and remainders I could fill in the numbers with $5 and $10 shirts. Since then, the yearly supply of new shirts from kickstarters, my company, random supporting of various content producers, souvenirs, and the occasional con has been sufficient to maintain a steady state number.

If someone linked me to something particularly clever or pretty at Threadless I might buy it, but I wouldn't bother to go to the site and *shop*.
posted by tavella at 2:06 PM on November 7 [4 favorites]


When I started reading this article, I thought to myself, "I hope they mention that the quality of the shirts has gone WAY downhill." So I was tickled to read:
Reviewers say the sizing, feel, and weight of Threadless’s shirts is inconsistent and getting worse over time, with some customers reporting that shirts bought five to 10 years ago are still holding up better than those purchased this year.
... because that has been exactly my experience. I have some decade-old Threadless shirts that are still holding up awfully well given their age; I have a couple of Threadless shirts bought within the last year or two that are absolutely falling apart.

I generally find that Threadless designs that I like are also available on Society6, so I buy the shirts there, because they beat Threadless quality-wise.
posted by /\/\/\/ at 2:07 PM on November 7 [14 favorites]


you just don't need that many t-shirts in your life

I know all those words, but that sentence just doesn't make any sense. If I'm not going to work or anyplace where I have to wear anything else, of course I'm wearing a T-shirt. Usually one with words on it. The more T-shirts I have, the longer I can put off doing laundry.
posted by Anne Neville at 2:10 PM on November 7 [18 favorites]


Was one of the designers of one of the original 5 shirts printed by threadless, before it was a company, and just an idea on a message board (dreamless).

... it's been awfully interesting to watch the arc of the company over all of these years. A lot of factors all contribute to the waning of this as a business model, but it was really important to me as a kid, posting art on the internet, back when everything still felt fresh.
posted by jayz at 2:13 PM on November 7 [34 favorites]


I finally got the budget to afford cool t-shirts, and it seems like everywhere on the internet that does cool t-shirts now, the quality has gotten pretty terrible. I've started drifting back in the direction of plain t-shirts because at least those don't break my heart when they fall apart.
posted by Sequence at 2:17 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


Eventually you hit storage issues. I limit myself to one (very large) drawer of t-shirts, and I probably get 5-10 t-shirts from various sources every year, which covers the number that get too worn or stained and cycled out.
posted by tavella at 2:18 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


I feel like this "after a few years the quality went to shit" is an awfully common story for clothes/shoes etc. Does the economic model just bias towards cost cutting as time goes on?
posted by selfnoise at 2:25 PM on November 7 [8 favorites]


I haven't bought any shirts from Threadless (that I recall, at least), but I know shirt.woot's quality for their POD stuff is a heck of a lot worse than shirts that they produced before their move to POD. The designs on their old shirts held up fine (usually outlasting the shirt they were printed on), whereas the new shirts begin fading after 6 months with no real difference in how I launder them. I don't know if they still silkscreen their weekly top 20 shirts, but I'd definitely stay away from their POD shirts.
posted by Aleyn at 2:27 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


Eventually you hit storage issues.

I have 2 drawers now, fitting 100. I used to have 200+, and then I made myself "downsize" to exactly 100, and now it fluctuates around there, because I still buy new shirts but I also "retire" ones I can stand parting with. What I used to do was have light/bright colored ones for half the year (Apr-Sep), then dark ones for the other half (Oct-Mar), and the half that I'm not wearing goes into two storage bins. It's.. slightly more manageable now (although the spreadsheet is starting to take a while to load if I'm on a slower PC). I wear a different one every day, over the years I don't wear them often enough for them to get worn out that badly, so I really have to be selective about new ones.

(I'm still trying to figure out how to sell the ones I retire, I would just donate them but I invested so much I'd like to try and get back some money for them. There's so many ways to sell things online I'm a little overwhelmed every time I sit down to research.)
posted by numaner at 2:34 PM on November 7 [2 favorites]


but I'd definitely stay away from their POD shirts.

Agree, but the thing is shirt.woot have two tiers of quality. The American Apparel shirts hold up quite well, and the other off-brand one does not. Vast differences in prices, obviously, but I'd say it's worth it. I've only ever gotten one of their POD shirts, but it gets washed so rarely because of my large cycle of shirts that it's still holding up well.

My current favorite place for quality shirts is Design By Humans, but they're expensive, and they have more eye-catching designs rather than funny ones, which I prefer.

While we're at it, this was my first ever shirt from Threadless and I can attest that it's still really high quality.
posted by numaner at 2:40 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


it felt like the clever t-shirt was a legitimate (if not particularly sophisticated) fashion trend of the early aughts and kids these days aren't doing that.

this trend is still strongly alive at tech companies.
posted by GuyZero at 2:41 PM on November 7 [5 favorites]


and was in existence long before the early aughts.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 2:43 PM on November 7 [4 favorites]


Across the street from my apartment is an on demand printer, bring in a T-shirt of my choosing and a USB stick with artwork and for $10 I have a one of a kind shirt with exactly the quality I want. No more ordering.
posted by Cosine at 2:44 PM on November 7 [11 favorites]


I still own quite a lot of Threadless stuff, which I love. Some of which were bought by making a special trip out to their store on a visit to Chicago. I own a handful of their full bleed die sublimation tees too and used to own a few of the hoodies and iPhone cases.

I liked the designs that were voted in, didn't mind the postage costs and thought the tees were reasonably priced so I purchased them. For me a few things have led to me not buying anything from them for a year or two now. Mostly the designs I see don't appeal enough these days for me to buy them.

Of the site changes they made over the years, like following artists to get email updates of new designs etc, I feel like I discover less. Of the positive changes, not sure if still present, like being able to vote with your wallet and say "Heck I'll pay for this design now" and voting up the designs I like not once did it lead to a design I seriously liked being printed. Eventually I stopped visiting.

Also when I hit 140 odd t-shirts space became an issue. I sorted all my t-shirts out and kept only my favourites. The rest went to charity and now I try to have a one in one out policy.

On that note though, I loved the Ren and Stimpy design that won a few years back and it made a good Christmas present for my sister as a hoodie. With Christmas approaching I think now's the time for a quick browse, my first in many months.
posted by diziet at 2:51 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


I'm way too old to be interested in teeshirts with visible printing on them (other than a cache of "Meh" shirts from meh.com... for reasons, but primarily because for a while they were incredibly cheap).

But when I see twentysomethings in printed tees, I don't see many random cute drawings about cats and pizza. They are almost always gaming- or comics-related tie-ins. Officially licensing those things is going to be far more expensive than buying designs a la carte in cash or credit, and Threadless can't fly under the intellectual property radar the way a lot of regional fan artists do when they're selling from tables at conventions and through Etsy. And independent creators with their own original work can use businesses like Topatoco, where they can decide for themselves what to sell and manage their inventory.
posted by ardgedee at 2:55 PM on November 7 [4 favorites]


and was in existence long before the early aughts.

I thought I had a shirt from before 2000 but I checked and my first novelty-ish shirt were MegaTokyo related, bought in 2003. Damn that brings back memories.

FYI if you're in need of some sort of daily new design aggregator, I like Teemagnet, which surprisingly doesn't include Threadless.
posted by numaner at 2:56 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


Anecdotally, a friend of mine is a creative director for a similar graphic shirt company that's rapidly expanding. They're driven by algorithms ala children's YouTube (recently on the blue) which I gather makes for profitable, if sometimes less clever designs.

It's interesting work though, the data team will tell my friend what keyword pairings need shirts and then he has to make it happen. Some are quite easy, like Pikachu and Pirates, others may be more difficult, like avocado toast, bunnies, and 21-25 year old Jewish females.
posted by matrixclown at 2:57 PM on November 7 [7 favorites]


avocado toast, bunnies, and 21-25 year old Jewish females.

oh my god, your friend is where those bizarre facebook t-shirts come from
i'm fascinated to think of that situation somehow existing as a job in the world
posted by halation at 2:59 PM on November 7 [13 favorites]


> a friend of mine is a creative director for a similar graphic shirt company that's rapidly expanding. They're driven by algorithms ala children's YouTube (recently on the blue) which I gather makes for profitable, if sometimes less clever designs.

Oh my god, it's this made real.
posted by ardgedee at 2:59 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


> this trend is still strongly alive at tech companies.

That's true--the only place I see this lately is if I'm in the Bay Area or with people who work for tech companies. Don't know why. I knew a lot of people in the mid-2000s who weren't techish at all and had Threadless shirts. Maybe a lot of the look-at-this content has moved online in the smartphone era?

It's interesting their bestseller was the "Communist Party" shirt, which I definitely thought was funny in its heyday. But I can't imagine nonchalantly walking down the street now in a jokey shirt with Fidel Castro, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong (or honestly any foreign leaders) on it , so maybe sensibilities have changed, too? I remember a lot of sort-of glib jokey anti-Bush bumper stickers around this era too, and I don't see the equivalent now.
posted by smelendez at 3:04 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


seriously just the other day i was walking down the street and saw a girl, maybe nine years old, in this t-shirt that said 'YOUNG RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS LEADERS ARE BORN IN JULY'
it had truly never seemed possible to me that people actually buy those t-shirts-by-algorithm but they evidently do if they exist in the wild and if real live people get employed gainfully to make them
posted by halation at 3:05 PM on November 7 [18 favorites]


It's interesting their bestseller was the "Communist Party" shirt, which I definitely thought was funny in its heyday. But I can't imagine nonchalantly walking down the street now in a jokey shirt with Fidel Castro, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong (or honestly any foreign leaders) on it

I thought it was hilarious and bought one when it first won. And shortly after realized I can't really wear it around because I look Chinese, and my Vietnamese family would also highly disapprove, what with the war and all. They're also the reason I can't comfortably wear Steven Universe's signature shirt everywhere...
posted by numaner at 3:08 PM on November 7 [7 favorites]


It took a couple comments, but eventually I realized y'all weren't buying shirts for Christian nu-metal band Payable on Death.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 3:23 PM on November 7 [8 favorites]


I feel like this "after a few years the quality went to shit" is an awfully common story for clothes/shoes etc. Does the economic model just bias towards cost cutting as time goes on?

"Cost cutting" is pretty much received wisdom in business anymore. No matter how well a company is running, or how profitable it is, it's writ large in stone that there are always costs that can be cut, to the exclusion of everything else, including keeping up product quality.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:23 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


Heh. I never wore my Communist Party shirt either because many of my neighbors were from Ukraine and it made me feel like a dick.

I bought my first Threadless shirt (She Doesn't Even Realize) in 2004 and bequeathed it to my ex in 2011. I wish I had the shirt now...it's probably in better shape than the last Threadless shirts I bought back in 2012ish.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:29 PM on November 7


this trend is still strongly alive at tech companies.

Depends on which ones you frequent, I suppose. Threadless for me has always been the Roy from IT Crowd moment.

Of course that flavor still exists, but most of the techies I see these days are of the Betabrand brogrammer mold.
posted by danny the boy at 3:31 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


It's interesting their bestseller was the "Communist Party" shirt, which I definitely thought was funny in its heyday. But I can't imagine nonchalantly walking down the street now in a jokey shirt with Fidel Castro, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong (or honestly any foreign leaders) on it , so maybe sensibilities have changed, too?

I may have more to say in this conversation later when I've had a moment to think on it, but I just really need to point out that I am wearing that shirt right now.
posted by General Malaise at 3:45 PM on November 7 [23 favorites]


If you've graduated to tees without printing and are looking for one that'll stand up to years of use, Bayside are a good label to keep an eye out for, and really good for on-demand shirt printing. They're made in the U.S. and are a bit heavier than the cheap stuff, but aren't terribly expensive. They've also got a union-made line I've run across on Amazon, which always feels good to support.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 3:46 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


Oh, and that I've basically never worn it in public. Thought it was funny, bought it. Came in the mail. Decided that wearing a jokey shirt with some of the world's most infamous murders was a little much. So I wear it just around the house. And it's still in amazing condition.
posted by General Malaise at 3:47 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


'YOUNG RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS LEADERS ARE BORN IN JULY'

Anyone remember the trend in the 90s of getting your first name or initials embroidered on your backpack? And how the local police would run panic announcements about child abductors using that information to lure your kids into vans?

Maybe I can start selling shirts that say "MY HOUSE HAS SHITTY LOCKS AND WE DON'T HAVE ANY DOGS"
posted by backseatpilot at 3:54 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


However, if anybody wants to make the same shirt with FDR, LBJ, Carter, Clinton(s) and Obama, I may reach for my electronic wallet.
posted by General Malaise at 3:54 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


I like tshirts with artistic designs on them because they are comfortable, so if that business model is dying that makes me sad. Are there good places to buy higher-quality-but-more-expensive shirts with interesting designs on them these days? I never liked ones with text on them as much so Woot's shirts generally don't appeal to me.
posted by JZig at 4:02 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


Might I suggest Cotton Bureau? It only prints the designs that reach a certain minimum of "votes", but there's a good mix of designs. I've been happy with the shirt quality so far, but it's recently Kickstarter-funded an in-house created t-shirt to better address fit issues that some customers brought up.
posted by shinyj at 4:31 PM on November 7 [7 favorites]


I was a pretty heavy user of Threadless in its heyday. With the aforementioned Communist Party shirt, I also still have several more, my favorite of which is the squirrel holding up the other squirrel for a nut (this, but in yellow). I was a pretty big consumer of t-shirts that had some good art and was mildly funny. So much so, that people would buy me shirts for gifts (that were almost always misses). Thing is, my taste is pretty narrow, and my sense of humor is mostly a sensible chuckle more than a OMG THAT IS FUNNY.

Anyways, at some point, the trend in Threadless shirts moved even further away from my taste (there weren't that many that I wanted to begin with), somewhat toward louder patterns and the humorous shirts had less interesting art. I also started buying shirts from comic artists, like Mitch Clem, Jeff Rowland and Ryan North, and basically abandoned Threadless. I don't think I've bought a shirt from them since maybe 2012.

But I've also basically stopped buying graphic t-shirts, first because I have so many, and second because my aesthetic has moved significantly in my 30s towards just basic monochrome tees and better fits (not to mention shirts with collars). The Threadless shirts always fitted something boxy and awful. It was kind of nice that so many comic writers (and Topataco in particular) used good t-shirts.

So, I'm probably the problem.
posted by General Malaise at 4:33 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


In fact, in a cursory look at the site now for the first time in years, I can pinpoint maybe three shirts that I would have bought in 2010, but I'm in no hurry to buy now.
posted by General Malaise at 4:37 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


Yep, used to get t-shirts from Threadless quite often back in the day. A couple months ago, I ordered a baby tee for the Littlest Naberius. Never again. The quality of the shirt itself was awful, and the printing was catastrophic. They literally cut about a third of the design off on the bottom, including a lot of text. So the text that remained on top meant nothing. It was basically something that should have gotten tossed on sight by even the most absent minded QC person as soon as it came off the machine, not stuck in an envelope and sent to a customer.

Okay, it was a complicated design and a little shirt, but if you can't do it, don't sell it. Very disappointed.
posted by Naberius at 5:06 PM on November 7 [7 favorites]


I was a huge fan of Threadless back in the day and my tastes tended toward the cutesy anthropomorphized cartoon food end of the spectrum (though I too have the Communist Party shirt stashed somewhere in a drawer), but my absolute favourite article of clothing was my AV hoodie. Nice black AA (at the time) hoodie, cool design that was a little geeky but didn't rely on any insider knowledge or gimmicky pun... I wore that thing until it was basically falling apart, years later.
posted by btfreek at 6:03 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


Back when, there was a t-shirt store in the mall near my house (Park Lane Mall in Reno -woo) that printed custom-made t-shirts in a variety of styles and designs. The shop absolutely reeked to high heaven. A pal of mine worked there for a little while, and her clothes and hair smelled like the chemicals they used. The stench in that corner of the mall was amplified by a nail salon next door to T-Shirts Plus, but the t-shirts made the worse stink, believe it or not.

In other news, I will wear my Vandelay Industries t-shirt until it falls apart into a pile of dark blue thread. It's a scream, I tell you!
posted by but no cigar at 6:36 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


Agree, but the thing is shirt.woot have two tiers of quality. The American Apparel shirts hold up quite well, and the other off-brand one does not.

Woot's premium shirts are currently Bella Canvas, now that AA is dead. In a men's XL the shoulders seem to fit like AA shoulders, but they have a little flare out at the waist I'm not 100% a fan of (I mean, it's fine, but I liked the AA cut just a little bit better). They're softer than AA shirts, so that's nice. I haven't had any issues with POD fading or flaking, but the bananas on my replacement Knock Knock shirt look like mud next to the ones on my original shirt so it seems some colors do print better than others.
posted by fedward at 6:49 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


Thing is, my taste is pretty narrow, and my sense of humor is mostly a sensible chuckle more than a OMG THAT IS FUNNY.

This could be me. My wife is sometimes disappointed in me when I don't buy a shirt she thinks I need.
posted by fedward at 6:52 PM on November 7


... the same shirt with FDR, LBJ, Carter, Clinton(s) and Obama ...

And you wouldn't even have to change the caption.

Or maybe that's your point.
posted by Bruce H. at 8:34 PM on November 7


Funny, I bought Afternoon Delight cuz it was simply hilarious and also wore it maybe once, to a sex party I think, but never again cuz where else do you wear your two unicorns fucking t shirt?
posted by latkes at 8:44 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


I still wear Afternoon Delight whenever it comes up in rotation, but never to work, or to a place that I know will have a lot of kids. But the few times I did, no one really noticed, I don't think it's immediately eyecatching for kids.

So much so, that people would buy me shirts for gifts (that were almost always misses).

Same here! Only a couple of shirts that are gifts have hit the mark. The rest I'm meh about but I try to wear them when I know I'll see the person that gifted it, make them happy.

Are there good places to buy higher-quality-but-more-expensive shirts with interesting designs on them these days?

I mentioned it but didn't link: Design by Humans, one of my favorite shirts is from there, and it's not even a funny one!
posted by numaner at 8:59 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


I mentioned it but didn't link: Design by Humans

Interesting - this shirt is also on Threadless.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:07 PM on November 7


Seconding Cotton Bureau, which consistently makes me happy in these darkest of days.
posted by unknowncommand at 9:33 PM on November 7


Interesting - this shirt is also on Threadless.

Yeah some artists have their stuff up on multiple sites, but Design by Humans have better quality shirts.
posted by numaner at 10:04 PM on November 7


My favorite punny Threadless shirt was my Fish Tank one, especially in grocery store checkout lines. People would stare at it, trying to figure it out, and in the act of mouthing the words "fish tank" got the pun.

I'm also a big fan of the Hypotamoose one, but it's more obscure and I usually end up having to explain it.
posted by foxfirefey at 11:41 PM on November 7 [3 favorites]


ha! that's one of my favorite punny Threadless tee!

My favorite punny Threadless Tee that I own though, is probably This Is Not A Pipe
posted by numaner at 11:56 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


Another favorite is the Haiku shirt, which Cisco on The Flash wore in a recent episode!
posted by numaner at 11:58 PM on November 7 [1 favorite]


I still have that soldiers-with-guitars t-shirt, it must be over a decade old now and still going strong. Threadless was great because it cost less to buy a t-shirt from there, including international shipping to the UK, than it cost to buy a similarly cool one locally. Nowadays I tend to get shirts from Qwertee - one of those "3 designs available per day" sites - which are decent quality and pretty cheap, although I suspect they won't last a decade.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:21 AM on November 8


Of course message T-shirts were around long before the Milennium. I had a Support Your Right to Keep and Arm Bears shirt in the '80s.

Remember the guy who wore a shirt with Phil Silvers' picture on it to China not long after they opened to the West? He got severely hassled because the authorities thought the picture was the Dalai Lama.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:53 AM on November 8


The trend is still alive in my closet. Like, geez guys way to make me feel old and out of touch! (My "NOW PANIC AND FREAK OUT" and We've Got a Lot of Work to Do aka Badass Velma shirts still get positive comments every time I wear them. Especially the latter. I make friends everywhere I go with that shirt--it helps that I also resemble Velma.)
posted by soren_lorensen at 3:56 AM on November 8 [4 favorites]


My data point: Female, engineer, 39, still wear t-shirts with designs. Woot was my hangout for a long time, then I moved on to Qwertee. I'm happy with the Qwertee quality so far.

A few designs I bought from a society's shop on Cafepress have been horrible.
posted by seyirci at 5:26 AM on November 8


Most of my older shirts are boxy men's shirts (and thankfully a bit too big for me now) and I've really tried to stay away from those; I generally won't buy a shirt anymore if there isn't a woman's version. The two shirts I cherish though are my seasonal Solid Gelt shirt from woot, and my Please, call me Garry shirt. And my MeFi shirt, of course.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:53 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]


How old does one have to be to not be interested in T-shirts with writing on them? I'm 42, and that's still one of the very few kinds of clothes I actually enjoy buying for myself.
posted by Anne Neville at 6:01 AM on November 8 [4 favorites]


Yesss, I have the Haiku shirt and it always gets a lot of happy interaction when I wear it out. I've mostly transitioned to Topatico for shirts, though. And not very often.
posted by PussKillian at 7:00 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]


some shirts when printed smell like rotting corpses?
Embalmed corpses, which seems at first glance to be a silly distinction, but makes a lot more sense -- think formaldehyde, which is apparently used in textile manufacturing.
posted by inconstant at 7:06 AM on November 8 [2 favorites]


I've switched over to LookHuman for my silly t-shirt needs. (The Left Shark Dance Team tank is basically my dance troupe's default shirt.)
posted by sperose at 8:15 AM on November 8


Trend: also still alive in my (and my partner's) closets, at least when my partner's not in work uniform. Personally, I occasionally describe my aesthetic as "butch Ms. Frizzle" when asked, and a steady supply of nerd shirts is pretty helpful there.

I do favor Shirt.Woot and Yellow Ibis; Threadless never quite appealed to me because I couldn't choose from a selection of shirts with topics that worked for me. Yellow Ibis is consistently fabulous on quality, if a bit more expensive; I'm delighted that they're finally getting better about offering women's cuts, which are pretty much all I can wear if I want a shirt to fit both torso and hips. I used to buy shirts from Mental Floss, but a combination of poor quality and sizing plus really awful design (that color looks good on no one; I didn't appreciate the change in colors available for men's and women's cuts on the same damn shirt) have left me boycotting it when I need to change shirts out.
posted by sciatrix at 8:22 AM on November 8


I have a bunch of old threadless shirts and I wear them all a lot except for a few, such as

https://www.threadless.com/product/783/inside_you
(A cartoon hamburger with a text bubble that says "I want to be inside you")

I think I have only worn that one in Las Vegas.
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:45 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]


The thing I hate most is that the coolest designs in my size end up coming from "The Mountain" (aka: Three Wolf Moon). There are *some* that carry 5x beyond that, an occasional pop-culture (voltron, megaman, transformers) that I like, but generally... Most never quite fit right. The Mountain fits right, but they always have their arm-pit tieup(? where the finish the stitching inside the pit) and it never fails to fail there. Always.

I'd glady order from Threadless, Design by Humans, etc... if they fucking carried more than Silicon Valley Geek Boy sizes.
posted by symbioid at 8:50 AM on November 8


Thanks for posting this. I wanted a Bald Eagle Combover T shirt for the longest time, and the last time I logged on there they said they will bring it back but it was out of stock. now that it is all print to order; I got mine in yesterday.

Thankyou,Thankyou,Thankyou,Thankyou. Christmas has come early.
posted by indianbadger1 at 8:53 AM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Had a few back in the early days that I loved. A paint swatch fanned out to show a heart. A muffin screaming AH MUNNA EE CHOO. An Octupus holding a Loch Ness Monster head above water. An 8 bit Police Quest scene with a pixellated bloody mess on it.

I don't know when I faded off but I'll almost never buy a graphic tee these days. About a year ago I switched to all black tees all the time, hardly an original idea but it is endlessly refreshing to just grab a shirt and go, not having to worry about fit, style or appropriateness. A classic for a reason.
posted by yellowbinder at 11:45 AM on November 8


I'm 59, work at home, and wear t-shirts with slogans and designs every day. This one is my favorite.
posted by Miss Cellania at 12:01 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


https://shirt.woot.com, Threadless, and Think Geek were the places everyone got "cool" graphic tees in 2004-2006. Everyone at uni and highschool were getting ones.
posted by GiveUpNed at 3:05 PM on November 8


Oh man I totally still wear this from Thinkgeek. It's great for work.
posted by numaner at 4:52 PM on November 8


> I'd glady order from Threadless, Design by Humans, etc... if they fucking carried more than Silicon Valley Geek Boy sizes.

As a tall woman, I feel your pain.

I got some from Look Human that almost fit, but the quality was very poor for some of them -- one ripped along a seam the second time I wore it. Another, which I've worn for a few months, looks older than a 30-year-old Tacoma Tigers shirt I have in the bottom of my shirt pile.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:06 PM on November 8


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