Slogans and logos are worth a thousand words in one shirt. As a closet essential, a graphic tee is a treasured heirloom that can’t be thrown away. Regardless of color, brand and silhouette, every girl HAS to have a graphic tee.
As a t-shirt collector, I’m a sucker for GOOD t-shirts – especially, graphic tees. Although I love plain fitted white or black tee, the one thing that I have a steady collection of is graphic shirts. Inside my collection it kinda goes like this: fitted or oversized; long or short; faded or factory fresh. Since I love being able to own a handful of graphic tees, I just can’t live without them. However, the type of graphic tees that I wish I can own are worn by celebrities.
Being a pop culture geek myself, graphic tees have always made a splash on some of the most famous photographs in the world. Given that most celebrities from the ’80s to early ’00s didn’t hire a stylist to dress them up on off-duty, I always felt that a graphic tee was the most F you way to express yourself without opening a single word from your mouth.
Here are my most favorite iconic graphic tees that I wish I owned:
- Pamela Anderson’s “GIRL” cropped baby tee
It was a divine time when she was married to rock ‘n roll’s #1 bad boy, became the lead of an action movie and starred on TV’s most-watched show about lifeguards. As the ’90s hottest blonde bombshell, Pamela’s style during the Tommy Lee years consisted of rock ‘n roll pleather, tattoos, latex dresses, statement accessories and anything that basically showed off her boobs. If I had to pick a Pamela moment I can personally recreate, it’d be her cropped cap sleeve GIRL t-shirt, which she first wore in 1996. The shirt was so comfy that she wore it again in 1998. Although I can’t find much info on the original designer of the GIRL graphic tee, you can find it again from RE/DONE (except it’s looser and longer than the original!).
2. Britney Spears’ Juicy Couture “DUMP HIM” tee
2002 was a completely different time when no one ran around town in Lulu Lemon leggings, dad sneakers, chunky gold hoop earrings and hoodies during coffee runs. Back in those days, girls ran around town in thin gold necklaces, low rise pants and Juicy Couture. In fact, we have to credit the incredible Miss Britney Jean Spears for inventing this look. Spotted with a cup of Starbucks on one hand a ruffled purse on the other, she hid half of her makeup-free face with a newsboy hat. While she looked nonchalant, the shirt screamed, “DUMP HIM”. As a direct reference to her breakup with Justin Timberlake, the shirt was a badass, yet chic moment that packed a punch in two words. Designed by Juicy Couture, this boatneck tee became one of the most iconic shirts in history. (P.S. Juicy Couture, can you please recreate this t-shirt?!)
3. Nicole Richie’s Juicy Couture “Dude, Where’s My Couture?” muscle tee
It seems like Juicy Couture’s headline-making blue graphic tees didn’t stop more celebrities from wearing the brand. Continuing the bandwagon was Nicole Richie, who last wore it on a video interview in The Simple Life. Paired with chunky highlights, matching Juicy Couture velour tracksuit bottoms, a watch and thin gold jewelry, it was THE quintessential LA girl uniform. Although Richie wears floral dresses now, this outfit left me thirsting for Juicy Couture.
Last year, Juicy Couture linked up with VFiles to revive the slogan. In spite of featuring the same slogan, it’s a slightly oversized t-shirt featuring two colorways: black and white. Sadly, it’s sold out on Juicy’s website; however, you can find it on eBay.
4. Kurt Cobain’s “Corporate Magazines Still Suck” T-shirt
You can assume that Nirvana was a band full of sellouts, but underneath the guise of being a major label band, they’re Seattle punk rockers through and through. For Rolling Stone‘s cover shoot, Kurt Cobain wore a DIY handwritten tee that screamed, “CORPORATE MAGAZINES STILL SUCK”. It was the biggest F you style statement complete with paint stained ripped Levi’s and an oversized vintage grandpa cardigan. Although he doesn’t walk on this Earth anymore, his influence was recently felt at Vetements’ runway show in Paris. Keep up the DIY spirit by grabbing some fabric paint and a ratty old t-shirt you barely wear.
5. Rihanna’s Adam Selman “Spoiled” long sleeve tee
Bad Gal Riri always knows how to serve looks whether’s she at the bleachers, stage, red carpet or streets. At an NBA All Star Weekend game, Rihanna wore an Adam Selman F/W 2015 matching two piece set with her Fenty x Puma creeper sneakers. Pink graphic tees aren’t easy to pull off, but I love how she makes it dressier.
6. Cara Delevingne’s Local Heroes “Last Clean T-Shirt” tee
As one of the OG supermodels of this decade, is it hard to believe that she’s been around for nearly 10 years?! When we first heard the blue blood’s name on our lips, it was hard for us to believe that underneath Cara’s aristocratic background belied a girl who forgoed Chanel two pieces for skinny jeans, graphic tees and beanies. If there was one iconic Queen Delevigne moment, it’s this super meta shirt from Local Heroes. Even though Rihanna wore the same shirt, I honestly think that Cara wore it better.
7. Sarah Jessica Parker’s Dior “J’Adore Dior 8” distressed tee
Sex and the City 2 was one of the most memorable movies I’ve watched when I was 17. I felt compelled to watch it after I heard about it from my sister. I snuck into the movie theater with my parents, laughed out loud, dreamed of going to Abu Dhabi and salivated over the OTT outfits. If there’s one outfit that truly stood out, I couldn’t forget about the J’Adore Dior tee. We might not be able to find the exact design, but there’s plenty of Y2K Dior tees on Etsy!
8. Mary-Kate Olsen’s Metallica Damage Inc. Tour tee
I was obsessed with New York Minute and honestly, this was one of the most memorable outfits. Even though I highly doubt that Mary-Kate herself listens to Metallica, wearing a Damage Inc. tour tee is proof that anyone can go to the nearest Hot Topic and buy a Metallic shirt in spite of not hearing a single song. Heck, even James Hetfield (the lead singer) throws in some two cents about what he really thought of her in his band’s tee. (P.S. If you haven’t heard a Metallica song, I recommend “I Disappear”, “The Unforgiven” or “Master of Puppets”! Seriously, I actually have them inside my Spotify! Shhhhh!!!!!)
9. Paris Hilton’s Von Dutch T-shirt
I don’t know what 2000s fashion would’ve looked like without Paris Hilton. As the OG style queen of that era, Paris invented Von Dutch. She wore a gray logo tee while interviewing Jeremy Scott in 2003. What a time to be alive when you have a flip phone sitting on your hip bones! Also, it doesn’t get any more 2000s than a pair of low rise Juicy track pants, blinged up dog tag necklace and frosted lip gloss. If you have to score your fix, eBay and Depop have everything you need.
10. Liv Tyler and Stella McCartney in “Rock Royalty” Tees at the Met Gala
Say what you want about the Met Gala, but if I have to pick the most underrated moment, it’d be this matching DIY one-shoulder tee twin moment. Not only do the shirts feel meta, I just dig the fact that it’s glam, campy and very playful. Plus, it’s a nod to the theme, “Rock Style“, which exhibits how rock ‘n roll influenced fashion. (It still does today!)