Living in This: The Graphic Tee

Photos: Emily Wraith

I love it when something dead cheap is suddenly cool. See: Converse kicks, Hanes white t-shirts, Levi’s jeans. Lately, I’ve noticed that all you need is a good graphic tee as the basis of a really cute outfit. See Victoria Beckham, wearing “It’s a Dark But Happy Place” with over-size dress pants; Giovanna Battaglia, dressing down over-the-top heels with a “Fashion Emergency” tee, and Tamu MacPherson wearing a Jamaica top with flowy pants. I mean, is there even any question about what to wear to your next [fill in the blank]?

Graphic Tee Buy

Sure, it’s nothing new, but graphic tees are officially topping my spring shopping list. It’s actually not as easy as you’d think to find the perfect graphic t-shirt with some sort of a slogan that you don’t feel weird about wearing though. I mean, you could go political, with one of those Future is Female t-shirts, but you’ve probably already got one of those. Otherwise, you’d be surprised how many tees I picked up and was like “I just don’t know if I can walk around in a t-shirt that says ‘Happy Go Lucky’ all day”. What if I were having a sad day? I’d have to worry about people calling me out.

Of course, graphic tees can run expensive. I first bought a Ganni tee with bananas on it, thinking, “Who doesn’t like the yellow of bananas?” It was $99. But when I got it home, it was tighter than I liked and somehow I missed that it had a slight mock neck to it and I don’t like that neckline on me so 29 days later, I returned it. What I ended up with was a Junya Watanabe Comme des Garcons tee that says “Chekov” on it, for like 60% off. I don’t know what it means, and figured nobody else would either. What I liked about it was its cool hidden construction.  It looks like a jumbo tee that you’d borrow from your partner but it has a sneaky barrier built in that makes it fitted in front and shirred along the sides. The message? Unexpected and not so easy to read. Finally, something I wanted to say.

For more half decent graphic tee picks, check out this handy shopping carousel below. And for more fun shopping stories like this one, check out this piece I wrote on the perfect transitional granny sweater.