How Thin Is Too Thin?

Before you go kicking me in the solar plexus because you think I’m some chauvinistic Cro-Magnon man who prefers wafer thin supermodels who dine on three Triscuits at suppertime, I want to remind you this is a website about vintage tees.

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I’M THIN ENOUGH YOU CHAUVINISTIC CRO-MAGNON SONOFABITCH!!!

In the same way wrinkles on someones face show a well lived life, a tee that has survived its years and has become thin and threadbare would undoubtedly have stories to tell (if it had lips and a mouth and a brain and, well… all those things required to tell stories).

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Threadbare. It’s… it’s… so beautiful! *heavy breathing*

Now, you can go out today and buy a brand new threadbare tee that has been MANUFACTURED to be threadbare. But that would be cheating. Companies can now create tees (much in the same way “retro” is a vintage reproduction) that look and feel like vintage threadbare tees. Basically, you’re getting a T-shirt that didn’t put in its dues to earn a true threadbare title.

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30 years old is enough time for any T-shirt to earn its threadbare prefix (photo courtesy of my awesome Instagram account)

Luckily there is a place where you can find these authentic, paper-thin, threadbare vintage T-shirts on display and carefully outlined for public consumption.

“Where?” you ask.

Well, right here. (<—– shameless plug)

I directed you to my eBay store because I’m the only one (that I know of) to outline the “thinness” of every relevant shirt (“relevant” because not every vintage tee is thin or threadbare).

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See! I told you. (Click above image to see in store)

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Click above image to see in store

I do this because I feel as though Joe Consumer wants to know every aspect of what they’re buying (see Barb The Model for more relevance on this topic). I’m in the business of customer satisfaction, why wouldn’t I want to take as many pictures as I can and have fun at the same time?

In my quest for true vintage T-shirts, I’ve run by many threadbare tees but feel as it is my duty as a vintage T-shirt blogger to show you the thinnest shirt I’ve ever run across:

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Can you see it? It’s almost invisible…

Hell, I could even see through it:

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This tee could double as a niqab

So, in closing, how thin is too thin?

The answer: It’s never too thin. Unless it’s invisible

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Invisible T-shirt. Only 29.99 (plus $4 shipping)

Hi! I’m A Historical T-Shirt Preservationist

I’ve always struggled trying to tell people exactly what it is that I do. Usually, when I tell people “I sell vintage T-shirts on eBay” it is followed by them saying, “Oh, so do you print your own designs or what?”

*facepalm*

*facepalm*

No, man. No. Were you even listening to what I just said?

I’ve learned that most people just don’t understand and, well… that’s okay! “Vintage” is a MASSIVELY overused term. With so many modern day tees printed with that “vintage look” (i.e. “retro”) I think people get confused with the notion as to why someone would want to sell “old” T-shirts. Why not just print your own that are new but look old?

Well, maybe it’s for the same reasons why Mike and Frank of American Pickers enjoy picking through piles and piles of “junk” to find that airplane propellor or car battery sign.

Mike and Frank of American Pickers

It’s the history of the tees that fascinate me.

While I may never know the story behind the T-shirt itself or the person who wore it, I can research why it exists at all.

For example:

Click photo to see item in store

Click photo to see item in store

This is an easy one. Everyone knows the story of OJ Simpson and his incredibly overhyped trial. It wasn’t long before anyone and everyone was trying to capitalize on it. Who knows how many were printed or how many still exist today. All I know is that I have one perfectly documented within the pages of eBay and that’s awesome. Now it just needs a good home (I’m looking at you Guy Who Buys OJ Simpson Trial Stuff).

How about this one:

Click above photo to see item in store

Click photo to see item in store

I love this T-shirt because of it’s history. It was printed at the dawn of the age of video games. Sierra is best known for its multiple lines of graphic video games that started in the 80s and proved influential in the HISTORY OF VIDEO GAMES. Sierra is now owned by Activision who is a major player in the video game arena. So, I assume this tee was probably provided to players of the antiquated games of the 80s (remember 80’s era 3D?). This isn’t just a cool tee, it’s a historical artifact.

Granted, not every T-shirt provides me with a history lesson, but many tees are wrought with emotion. Whether it be from a marathon, someone’s tour in Desert Storm or from an aerobatic airplane show (where the exact plane pictured on the tee eventually crashed into the ground killing the pilot) each shirt was bought or obtained for a reason! I can feel that reason. In the same way an archaeologist uncovers dinosaur bones and forever links himself to the dinosaur he found, I’ve found the same relationship with the T-shirts in my inventory.

This is more than just a job and more than just selling old T-shirts. It is preserving the past for others to experience.

That’s why I’m a Historical T-Shirt Preservationist.

 

The Holy Grail

When Barb and I were on Griff & Lee’s radio show last week, I was asked what the “Holy Grail” of T-shirts might be. Now, this can go so many ways. Unlike the “Holy Grail” (meaning “rarest”) of baseball cards:

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The T206 Honus Wagner card. One sold recently for over $2 million.

 

Or the “Holy Grail” of comic books:

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Action Comics #1 and the first appearance of Superman. Sold at auction for over $3 million.

Or the “Holy Grail” of Holy Grails:

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Just make sure you choose… wisely

The “Holy Grail” of T-shirts is pretty much, like… a gabajillion T-shirts. I’ve never heard of the most universally well known “Rarest T-Shirt” mainly because who keeps track of how many of these were made

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Click image to see in eBay store 🙂

Many times, as it turns out, these tees may be even more rare (meaning there aren’t that many out there) than the Superman comic and baseball card mentioned earlier.

How do I know this? Well, I don’t.

But, I mean… c’mon? Do you really think someone is gonna care if there was only one of these ever made?

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Click image to see in eBay store 🙂

No. Probably not.

There are so many “Holy Grails” of T-shirts because when I ask someone what they’d like me to look for while I’m chin-deep in T-shirts, their response is usually for a tee that has more of a nostalgic feel to it.

He-Man. Reading Rainbow. A 1984 Ronald Reagan campaign tee. These and more are what I keep locked away in my brain because ALL of them are someone’s “Holy Grail”.

Oh, what’s that you ask? What’s MY “Holy Grail”? I appreciate you asking.

I’ve been wanting to recreate this shot of me in approximately 1985 for a while now:

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That T-shirt I’m wearing is a Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” tee. The T-Shirt itself isn’t hard to find but finding one in my size has proven particularly tricky.

So, the search continues for me. For some of you reading this, perhaps your search can end today if you just scroll through my eBay store. If it’s not in the store, leave a comment on this blog post as to what you’re looking for and I’ll insert your request into my brain.

What’s your “Holy Grail” of T-shirts?


UPDATE: I got as close as I could get with a little help from my friends at The Captains Vintage with this beauty:

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Time to look for a new “Holy Grail”…

 

Barb The Model: Flaw Pointer-Outer

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Barb The Model: Holy Idea Tees Flaw Pointer-Outer

Holy Idea Tees is a growing company. It has become increasingly more difficult for me to continue to try to do everything myself. The process of buying, “inventorying”, filing, “photoing”, processing, listing, packing and shipping is one of continual movement and I needed someone to help pick up the slack.

So I hired Barb:

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In case you’re wondering, the answer is “Yes. She is a nudist.” It is her choice and I’m an equal opportunity employer. Who am I to judge?

Barb has proven to be a very valuable asset to the Holy Idea Tees team. If there are any flaws on any T-shirts, Barb’s responsibility is to point them out in the most comprehensive way possible. This will hopefully be an upgrade from competitor listings I’ve seen that use questionable methods in an effort to limit customer returns.

I’ve seen Dirty Fingernail Pointing:

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Did you just plant some chrysanthemums?

Or use the “Nondescript-Item-To-Point-Out-A-Flaw-But-You-Have-No-Idea-Where-The-Flaw-Is-ON-the-T-shirt” method:

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Is this on the back? On the front? On the shoulder? Near the bottom?

Perhaps you could use sharp, pointy objects to point out flaws but you still have no idea where the flaw is ON the t-shirt:

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Again, thank you. However, where is this hole? The sleeve? The bottom? Front? Back?

Barbs addition to the Holy Idea Tees team adds a “fun experience” for customers browsing through photos on any of the listings in the store.

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A lot more interesting to look at than a dirty fingernail

Also, her ability to be so photogenic in key situations allows me to show angles that give the potential buyer an idea of where the flaw is on the t-shirt instead of just a close up picture of it:

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It’s the distant look in her eye that gets me every time

Sometimes she uses her extreme flexibility to show flaws that cannot be duplicated by other methods:

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Her multiple appendages allow her to point out multiple flaws in close proximity of each other:

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She even serves as a nice reference piece when showing exactly how large vintage pins are:

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And sometimes she even helps with other things like pill ball removal:

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All in all, Barb serves as a powerful reminder that no matter how small you are… you still have a purpose. Unless you’re Ken. Ken’s just weird:

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It’s actually Kenzie now.

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Wanna ask Barb a question? She’s on Instagram!

The Idiots Guide To Online Vintage T-Shirt Browsing

Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “I really miss that old t-shirt I used to have. I wonder if there is a program or some sort of network I could use that connects to the world and I could see if someone else might have it and (if I’m really lucky) I could buy it from them?!

Well, I’m here to tell you such a place does exist! Hi, my name is Chris and I’m going to teach you how you can search for that Ocean Pacific t-shirt you’ve been so desperate to find since you left it at Nanny’s house in the summer of ’83.

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My t-shirts love me.

Before throwing your hands in the air because you don’t know how or where to find this long-lost tee, simply go to the Holy Idea Tees eBay store. It is here where you can search though the obsessively categorized selections of hand-picked t-shirts I have so painstakingly organized to make your shopping experience seem as though you’re in a physical store browsing through a rack of old tees.

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See! Right there where it say, “Categories“! That’s where you can find all my t-shirts separated into, you guessed it, categories.

“Well, what kinds of categories?” you might be asking.

Great question. Lets just pretend you really like Coke. You literally can’t live a day without getting a Big Gulp from 7-11 full of it.

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Relax. Its DIET Coke.

It’s your love of Coke that’s driven you to the point of collecting Coke paraphernalia yet a really cool, vintage Coke t-shirt has evaded you.

Come to my store, scroll through the categories and click “VTG Company &/or Product Tees”

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And then, in this case, a list of SUBcategories will show themselves:

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Since Coke is a drink and not a radio station or candy, you’d click on “Drinks”. Now peruse your choices. I like the Max Headroom/Coke tee myself.

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It’s that simple. Choose what you like! Remember Spuds MacKenzie? He’s under the “Breweriana” subcategory:

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Lets see, I dunno… did you vacation in Santa Cruz as a kid? I have a vintage t-shirt for that too under the “VTG Destination & Souvenir Tees” category:

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Whatever your vintage t-shirt of interest is, there’s a good chance I may have it or something similar to it. Look through the categories, see if you can find something you like. If I don’t have what you need, you can always ask me to keep and eye out for you.

Now you know you can come to the Holy Idea Tees eBay store through the magic of the internet without ever having to leave the house or put on any pants to peruse through (currently) 1500 vintage t-shirts. However, I would be an idiot to think 1500 vintage t-shirts covers the entire spectrum of what’s out there and what people are looking for. This is why I have my “Friends” page. These guys are in the vintage t-shirt business like myself. Hit up their sites (after you’ve exhausted mine of course) and see if they have what you’re looking for.

That’s it. You’ve now completed the Idiots Guide to Online Vintage T-Shirt Browsing! Now go use the gifts I’ve so graciously bestowed upon you to find that t-shirt that’ll sweep you up in nostalgia. 🙂

CK

 

 

Star Wars Memories

My sister is talented. Not only in her writing ability, but in her life ability. She’s been able to overcome so many things in her life and has conquered many more. Part of her healing process is to write and when she does she illustrates so well what its like to be her. So, when I asked her if shed write a nostalgic piece about this t-shirt I’d found, I was ecstatic when she said, “yes!”

My sister with her 1983 Return of the Jedi t-shirt :)

My sister with her 1983 Return of the Jedi t-shirt 🙂

Without further ado:

The summer I turned nine years old was not particularly memorable, looking back. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. My siblings and I spent the sweat-soaked Oklahoma days making our own fun: catching toads to save them from the sadistic little boy down the street, who had a penchant for throwing them into the outdoor air conditioning fans. When we weren’t adding to our amphibious menagerie we were running around the neighborhood with friends, looking for Bigfoot in the hills behind our house, or working with our father on the family home he was building just outside of town. We didn’t expect much from life, and most of the time we were right not to.

Every day was much like the last, until, out of the vast reaches of a faraway land known as Hollywood, there came something that worked like a shaft of brilliance into our black and white days. One day, my brother was invited to a birthday party. The entire passel of ten year old boys trooped off to see something called Star Wars. When he came back home, he was changed. Altered in his DNA somehow. Full of excitement, he tried to relate to us, his younger siblings, just how incredible this thing was that he had seen, but it would never do. We had to see it for ourselves.

So, one sweltering afternoon, my mother carted us to the cinema to see for ourselves this phenomenon that was sweeping the country. The line of people waiting to get in wrapped around the shopping center, all the way to the double doors of the Safeway grocery store.

The world was black and white back then

The world was black and white back then

Everyone was abuzz. I could feel the mounting excitement as the line began to move, and within the hour I was plunged into an experience that would forever change my expectations when it came to movies, and life in general.

Epic space battles and fantastical creatures came to life before my eyes. The line between real and fantasy was forever blurred. An adorable young desert-dweller known as Luke Skywalker churned my wee burgeoning heart into knots. By the time I left the theater, my imagination was set afire. Who was to say what lay just beyond the reaches of my own, small life? Like Luke, perhaps I had a destiny that belied my modest beginnings.

I saw Star Wars more than once, and when The Empire Strikes Back came out I did the same. The wait for each one to be released was interminable, yet the reward was so, so sweet. I developed the world’s largest crush on Luke Skywalker and his poor, orphaned soul, spent hours daydreaming about meeting Mark Hamill, had posters of him papering my walls.

By the time Return of the Jedi appeared, Star Wars was a Brogdingnagian enterprise whose effects were felt around the world. My anticipation for how the series would wrap up was through the roof. Would someone die? Would Luke defeat Vader once and for all? Would Leia and Han put aside misunderstandings and get it together?

I was not disappointed. The movie appealed to me on every conceivable level and I went home feeling as satisfied as if I had just dined on a seven course gourmet meal. I saw it again and again.

It’s funny to think that something as simple as a T-shirt could bring so much happiness, but as I wear my Return of the Jedi T-shirt from Holy Idea Tees, I am reminded of simpler days and the genuine joy that comes from something as wondrous as spellbinding story. I can imagine that I am that young girl again who didn’t mind sweating for an hour in a line that stretched around the block to sit in a darkened theater and forget about her mundane life for a while.

After all, in a galaxy far, far away, Luke was waiting.

Thanks for the guest spot sis 🙂 Love you 🙂

Did You Know Vintage T-Shirts Make Great Stocking Stuffers?

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Click photo to see these vintage tees and more in the Holy Idea Tees store 🙂

So, I guess you know by now that Christmas is coming!? Maybe you can tell by the decorations you see around town. Maybe its the Christmas music they’re playing on the radio. Maybe it’s the “under-the-table” nudges you get from your significant other when that Zales Diamond Jewelers ad comes on the television. Whatever the case may be, you can’t avoid it. Christmas is coming for you.

Stockings are my favorite part of the gift-giving Christmas process. I think it’s because you receive so many small items at once. Its an exercise in immediate gratification many times in quick succession. Each item you pull out is observed, talked about and studied before moving on to the next. Whether you like the item or not, it can be quickly pushed aside and you can move on to the next thing.

Which brings me to this point: Vintage T-shirts make great stocking stuffers!

Vintage T-Shirts are malleable. They possess that pliability to fit between the crevices and gaps of the shaving kits or restaurant gift cards and make themselves an excellent addition to any stocking!  However, it isn’t their ability to fit in small spaces that make them an attractive addition, it’s because of these things called “memories”.  I’ve been known to drum up a memory or two on occasion and (if its the right kind of memory) they are fun to revisit.

For example, I remember when I was 19 and got alcohol poisoning on Southern Comfort and woke up with a really weird rug burn on my forehead. I’m reminded of that experience every time I see this vintage tee:

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Click to see in eBay store

Oh, wait. Maybe that’s not a memory worth revisiting.

Okay, so lets try you! Maybe your mom really liked Bull Terriers “like the one in those Bud Light Commercials”. She even wanted one when you were a kid but your dad hated dogs and she never got one. If you just insert a vintage Spuds MacKenzie t-shirt into her stocking, it’ll make the memory of how much of a jerk your father was a little less painful:

Click to see in eBay store

Click to see in eBay store

Or, how about that one time you were in a dart league and weren’t paying attention and accidentally threw a dart into that guys cheek bone? This t-shirt may bring a laugh or two:

Click to see in eBay store

Click to see in eBay store

Remember how you always used to pretend like you were surfing every time “Surfin’ USA” came on the radio? Maybe this tee would bring a smile to your face:

Click to see eBay store

Click to see in eBay store

How about when you went to that Iron Maiden concert and passed out in the bathroom before the concert even started because that wasn’t candy that one guy gave you. This t-shirt might make the pain of missing the concert a little better:

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Click to see in eBay store

Perhaps one of these scenarios isn’t one of the 5689 Septendecillion possible scenarios out there that bring you seven degrees from a vintage t-shirt about the first every solar powered car race (because I have those too) but memories run deep and you never know what may spark a powerful, nostalgic emotion over an old t-shirt.

Which brings me full circle: Vintage T-shirts make great stocking stuffers!

Everyone has memories. Chances are there’s probably a t-shirt for it.

Maybe I have one here.