Fun fact: Although Henry Rollins waves his black flag most proudly, he ripped his stage name off a Rollins College T-shirt. A friend’s sister went there, and as he tells it, he liked the name and eventually adopted it. The punk icon offers other reasons for his name choice, but it seems the shirt was the spark. But it’s not like Rollins is the only one compelled by words scrawled on cotton. Just consider how ubiquitous the Black Flag logo is – due to kids donning his band’s T-shirts for years – for further evidence of how we appropriate self-image from the things we choose to wear.
Fashion is inextricably tied to identity, because we dress in what we’re attracted to, and this impacts who in turn becomes attracted to us. And while it’s inherently simple, frequently incidental and enduringly familiar, your T-shirt collection oftentimes reveals more about you than other staples of your wardrobe. That’s why it’s so damn hard to let the best shirts go, even when the threads are separating from wear and tear. In the end, good T-shirts make good friends.
Beyond the fact that friendships instantly materialize over equal enthusiasm for what’s printed on our tees, it would seem that just in wearing the casual garment, your approachability escalates. Whether it features a sports team, a tourist destination, an obscure band, an absurdly popular band, a joke, a political message, or three wolves howling at the moon, throwing on your favorite shirt is an effortless choice but also a loud statement.
Since summer is the time of the tee, we asked people in Orlando to show us their best threads. These were our favorites, submitted through Instagram and email (thanks!). You can see more awesome shirts and find out the stories behind them by clicking the link above or the photo below to enter our gallery.