Saturday, December 29th, 2012

t-shirt georgetown vintageI walked into a record store wearing a ratty old t-shirt with the Georgetown bulldog across the chest and both the guys behind the counter were just flat-out wowed by it.

“What an awesome t-shirt!” the first guy blurted out, when he saw it.

The second guy eyed my shirt with a lustful twinkle in his eye and asked, “Is that a vintage shirt or a, you know, favorite shirt that you’ve had for a while?” I liked the way he substituted “favorite shirt” et cetera in place of “a ratty old shirt you’ve kept way too long.”

It took a moment to dawn on me that they were both wearing “vintage shirts.” They looked like the kind of guys who had a huge collection of “vintage shirts” in their closets at home. In fact, they looked like the kind of guys who would wear t-shirts to a wedding. Only their best t-shirts, though.

Apparently the difference between “vintage shirts” and shirts that you’ve kept way too long (or “favorite shirts”) is that “vintage shirts” are new t-shirts that have been soaked in lye, sandblasted or trampled by a herd of elephants to make them look old.

I would also guess that they pay quite a lot more money for old-looking, vintage t-shirts than I ever would. My limit’s about twelve bucks, and I’d prefer to stay in the neighborhood of five bucks. Not a lot of t-shirts out there for that kind of money, which is why I won’t buy t-shirts except when they’re hilarious, or as a souvenir. I’ve got a t-shirt from each visit to the Great Taste of the Midwest, for instance. I had to stick a crowbar in my wallet and part with twenty-five bucks for each of those, which is why I’ll probably be wearing them until they’re way past their expiration date. If “vintage shirts” are still popular then, I’m golden.

My Darling B and I were visiting Crema Cafe for breakfast recently when a man sat down at the table next to us wearing an old U-Wisconsin sweatshirt. I have rarely seen such a ratty sweatshirt. I would guess he bought it when he was a freshman, and I’m a lousy judge of how old people are but I’d guess he was in his late fifties or early sixties. It was obviously his very favoritest sweatshirt ever. He probably took it out only on special occasions, such as when he had breakfast with his friends on Sunday morning at Crema Cafe.

I have a very favoritest sweatshirt, too. It’s gray with maroon lettering across the chest that says “University of Denver.” I found it at a garage sale ten or fifteen years ago, and it was looking awfully vintage then. The maroon lettering was faded and splotchy, and now is almost unreadable. The stitching is beginning to unravel and the cuffs and collar are falling apart. There are holes in the armpits. But the heavy cotton material it’s made of is so soft and comfortable that I can’t bear to part with it. It’s so ratty now that it would make the two guys in the record shop swoon with desire, but they’ll never lay eyes on it because it’s long past the point where I’ll wear it in public. I only pull it on when I’m putzing around in the basement. Sorry, guys.

vintage | 8:18 am CDT
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