30 Days of pre-shrunk cotton and music
Sep. 16, 2011
My name is Brandon Foster, and I am a band T-shirt-aholic.
I’ve purchased 24 band tees in my 20 years of living, and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
At an average of $25 a pop, I could’ve owned a small Hawaiian timeshare by now if not for this pricey hobby if my math is correct. (It isn’t.) To examine the effects of this “problem” — which is a simple combination of Brandon going to too many concerts and Brandon having no self-control — head-on, I decided to wear a band tee every day this month. Okay, real talk here: I just wanted to wear a band tee every day. (And yes, I do own other, non-musical articles of clothing. Jeans, for example.)
Yet, I wondered if I would learn anything from this not-so-difficult experiment (asking me to wear a band shirt is like asking Paula Deen to use butter). Would people notice? And if they noticed, would they say anything? And if they said anything, would it be mean? And if you give a mouse a band tee, will he write a column about it?
Like I said, I’m no stranger to wearing band tees, but I’ve never really paid much attention to the response they get, if any. I wondered: Does wearing a band’s attire make you the physical manifestation of its music for that day? While donning a Bon Iver T-shirt, does my chest start exuding sensuous falsettos that cause the ladies to swoon uncontrollably? (Although, it kinda does that already…) Do I look like the ’90s when I wear my No Doubt tee, or a dance floor when wearing Passion Pit, or a Ralph Lauren ad when wearing Vampire Weekend? Will my Bob Marley shirt make me hungry?
There was only one way to find out. So, I began my undertaking by branding my torso with the most obscure, divisive band I could think of: The Beatles. And ever since, I have worn (at least) one band tee every day. Well, one day I forgot to wear one, but thankfully, I was at the Roots ’N Blues ’N BBQ Festival, so I just bought a Fitz and the Tantrums tee. (Worth it.) Now that I’m roughly halfway into this research study, what have I learned?
1) You get a lot of compliments when wearing band tees. It’s like an unwritten law for audiophiles that they have to dish out a “Nice shirt,” and a smile if they notice someone adorning their favorite band’s gear. So if you have low self-esteem, you could always go buy an Arcade Fire T-shirt. (NO, THIS IS NOT WHY I WEAR THEM.)
2) Although band tees might not exactly make you the human embodiment of the band’s sound (the swooning has stalled at a dull roar), what you wear says a lot about you, especially when the design is as distinguishing as what specific music you listen to. Just like a uniform of Polos, pastels and Sperrys gives a fairly accurate depiction of its owner’s frat-tastic social scene, a Deerhunter shirt can do a pretty good job of hinting at the psyche hovering above the shoulders it rests upon. Sure, you’re not supposed to judge a hipster by its cover, but that’s not to say people don’t. Advertising your personal music preferences (especially on a daily basis) is bound to give people-watchers some strong first impressions. And since there’s a good chance most people who recognize a Fleet Foxes tee are fans of Fleet Foxes, most of those first impressions will be positive.
See? Band tees are awesome! Which brings me to my final, and most critical, discovery I’ve made during this un-audacious quest for the meaning of my wardrobe…
3) Band tees are so freaking comfy!
*Dedicated to Natalie Cheng. May her upbeat, overachieving spirit forever haunt the walls of this newsroom.