If there’s one clothing item that tends to naturally pile up, it’s t-shirts. Chances are, you own at least a few (or maybe a few hundred — who are we to judge?) that represent something to you. There are your favorite ones like the perfect white tee or the shirt you got at your beloved band’s concert. Then there are the commemorative ones you just happen to own from when you volunteered or ran a marathon 10 years ago. And then there’s a whole other category of tees that speaks to you and speaks for you in the funniest way possible.
Allow us to introduce you to an Instagram account called ‘Good Shirts’, a social media project that celebrates and pokes fun at photos of t-shirts with oddly-specific slogans. The creators of this page are out on a mission to feature some of the strangest and most hilarious articles of clothing found around the world, and they don’t hold back.
From “my tummy hurts and I’m mad at the government” to “your baby is worthless if it isn’t a DJ”, our team at Bored Panda has scoured the page and wrapped up a hilarious compilation of pictures below for you to enjoy. So continue scrolling, hit upvote as you go, and let us know which shirts ring true to you in the comments! And if you’re interested in even more garment content, check out our earlier piece filled with weird and cursed shirts people actually wear right here.
No article of clothing can tell the world who and what you really are as quickly as a t-shirt. It’s the perfect combination of functionality and expression, even though sometimes things can get “lost in translation”, as the founder of ‘Good Shirts’ writes in the account description.
Ever since they started this social media project in July 2019, they created the perfect outlet filled to the brim with bizarre shirt slogans solely for entertainment. “‘Good Shirts’ began as an Instagram account documenting the strange and fascinating shirts found in Hanoi, Vietnam,” the creator revealed on their website.
“While living in Hanoi, I became obsessed with these strange shirts that bore corrupted versions of famous company logos, misjointed platitudes or complete nonsense text vomited all over a T-shirt. I sought them out at every marketplace like a thrifter searching for a hidden gem, though the gems I desired were not typically beautiful, but strange and rife with mistakes,” they added. “Still, there was an accidental beauty to the shirts I found, something profound and hilarious-without-trying.”
Then, their project started steadily amassing fans from far and wide and today has over 269K devoted followers eagerly waiting for the next hilarious shirt slogan to grace their feeds. “Over time, as the Instagram page grew and as submissions poured in from all across the world, the theme of the account began to change to a more all-encompassing fun T-shirt enthusiasm. Today, I post shirts that, accidentally or on purpose, make me laugh.” And from the looks of it, they make everyone laugh as well.
Everyone knows that clothing is one of the best ways to express yourself. When it comes to t-shirts, they have served this purpose ever since they came into existence. Even in the middle ages, according to historian Maude Bass-Krueger who wrote the piece “Everything to know about the history of the T-shirt” in Vogue. The now unisex and all-purpose tee began its life as an undergarment worn by men: “Wearing a clean, laundered shirt showed off a gentleman’s wealth,” the professor explained.
The shape of the shirt people wore in the old days — large pieces sewn into a “T” shape with long shirt tails tucked between the legs — underwent serious changes in the 19th century. With the rise of new technology, it was easier to mass-produce them into a more fitting shape. Although it was recommended to wear these knit-wool pieces of clothing as undershirts, “the British Royal Navy began allowing their sailors to wear these undershirts when working on deck” at the end of the century.
Then, the business skyrocketed in the early decades of the 20th century, and the t-shirt as we know it today came into our fashion lives. “As the T-shirt made its move from underwear to outerwear, the garment became a blank slate for messages, whether political, advertorial, graphic or humorous,” Bass-Krueger explained.
“Technological advances in silk-screen printing in the early 1960s made it easy, fast and inexpensive to print designs onto shirts. By the 1970s, consumers could have personalized, custom-made T-shirts. Businesses soon realized the potential of T-shirts for marketing, as did bands and music management companies.” Suddenly, the inexpensive garments could be seen on anyone, from musicians to actors to intellectuals. In fact, it has come such a long way in history that now “it’s hard to imagine any wardrobe without a T-shirt,” the professor added.
For the past few decades, T-shirt sales have been booming in the multibillion-dollar clothing industry. It’s hardly surprising, considering that people always want something new and fresh to wear. So it looks like these days, any kind of design on text is possible. And due to advancements in technology, having the desired design printed on a piece of clothing has become much easier and faster than ever before. The custom t-shirt printing market is set to skyrocket by USD 1.50 billion, progressing at a compound annual growth rate of almost 7% from 2020 to 2025.
T-shirts can tell us a lot about their owners. And as you’re scrolling through this list, you’ll notice they have plenty of things to say. What people wear lets others know about their kind of taste, mood, sense of humor, and lifestyle choices. However, purchasing a different t-shirt for every type of mood you get 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, is not the most conscious choice.
Did you ever think about how much water or material was used to make it? How much fuel was expended to ship it? Well, Sandra Roos, a Ph.D. student at Chalmers Institute of Technology in Sweden, did when she performed a comprehensive analysis to find out about the resources and tradeoffs that go into creating and selling fashion items.
In the report, which was published by the cross-disciplinary research program Mistra Future Fashion, she included costs of daily use, discarding or recycling a garment, and even the fuel to get to the store to buy the thing.
“We all know that carrots and beef are very different, and organic bananas and conventional bananas are different, but when it comes to textiles, we cannot really comprehend this difference,” she told the Smithsonian. “You can have very environmentally friendly textiles that are organic carrots, and you can have very climate intensive garments that are more like meat.”
According to her research, a T-shirt can use up to 120 liters of water per wear, and contributes 0.01 kilogram of carbon dioxide per wear, just from dyeing alone. “Everyone is talking about [how] you should wash [at] a low temperature,” Roos added. “When we calculate how much the washing temperature actually did influence the climate, we saw that … it has less than 1 percent of the climate impact. But 22 percent came from the transport, to and from the store.”
“Most important, by far, is the number of times consumers wear a garment before throwing it out,” she said. So the key takeaway is that when you set out to choose what witty shirt you’ll wear next, be conscious and choose them wisely. What are your thoughts about this? What did you think of the t-shirts featured in this list? Be sure to share your insights with us in the comments, we’d love to hear them!
Note: this post originally had 85 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.