Whatever your personal feelings towards the ’90s may be, the decade remains one of fashion’s favorite reference points. Track jackets are favored by the likes of Balenciaga and Wales Bonner, while the adidas adilette slide has experienced a renaissance as a WFH staple. In eyewear, Oakley brought back Michael Jordan’s favorite ’90s sunglasses this year. It’s safe to say that the ’90s aesthetic is here to stay, sometimes more and sometimes less popular.
While ’90s sportswear is no doubt at the forefront of that trend, another of the mainstays of the has been grunge style, which has seen its baggy torch picked up and carried on by new generations of famous faces. If you’ve been paying attention, graphic T-shirts have been at the center of the grunge rennaissance.
The lethargic sound and angsty attitude of ’90s grunge has always gone perfectly with oversized graphic T-shirts. In 1992, however, the subculture got an Haute reworking via Marc Jacobs’ groundbreaking Grunge collection, which he reissued in 2018. At the time, it was a shocking shift in gears from the opulence of late ’80s fashion. Looking back, it became a pivotal moment in grunge style’s long history.
Fast forward to 2021 and artists like Travis Scott and A$AP Rocky are keeping the look alive thanks to their penchant for oversized T-shirts and baggy flannel shirts — the winning combination Kurt Cobain often turned to.
There are plenty of reasons why ’90s-style T-shirts have been a staple for decades, wearability certainly being one of them. They’re easily styled and offer a simple way to inject statement into your looks, especially in summer where your fit is often composed of fewer pieces.
With warmer weather approaching, we’ve picked out some of this season’s best ’90s-style T-shirts, from the ubiquitous wolf graphic that roams eBay and thrift stores to church merch by Balenciaga. Pro tip: go a size or two larger to get the oversized grunge look.
Though tie-dye originated several decades before the ’90s, it celebrated a major resurgence 30 years ago. Pairing the pattern with bold graphics, as seen on Travis’ IG above, is a big summer look. This Story MFG tee shows that grunge doesn’t always have to be angry.
This one arrives oversized, so need to need to overdo it in search of the true grunge look. Is church merch the next big thing in the T-shirt game?
The second of several tie-dye entries on this list, LA-based Camp High’s tee brings the sunshine of its hometown into your wardrobe. The tee has dropped sleeves for a more relaxed look.
This entry, from San Fransisco-based Phipps, gives off serious Mad Max vibes. It’s also not far off some of the Cactus Jack merch that’s come out recently, but definitely easier to get your hands on.
Stain Shade is hand-dying all of its garments in South London, putting its own tie-dye spin on some of streetwear’s best staples. This Carhartt pocket tee has been ice-dyed, a process in which ice is left to melt for 24 hours, spreading ink over the tee.
Luxury fashion just can’t put the graphic tee down, which is why we continue to get high-end spins on tees you would normally find on Etsy. This one comes from Loewe’s latest collection with Ibiza-based boutique Paula’s.
We’re entering the depths of ’90s-style t-shirts now, and that’s when the animal graphics start to pop up. Thrills’ graphic tee has a shorter sleeve style for a more streamlined fit.
Last but not least, a graphic that you’ll find in pretty much any thrift store you visit across the world. The ultimate ’90s tee.
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