Is this a uniform or a just bad habit?

It's time to fess up to my guilty secret. My name is Rio and I'm a concert shirt addict. 

I have more of these things than their usefulness merits. At the last count, there are around 40 of these babies, choking up drawers and overflowing from the laundry bin. But I'll always find room for just one more. I can't seem to get enough of them.

Some of them are over ten years old. The last one arrived only last week. I like to pretend that I'm supporting the artists but in truth the pursuit of another scalp has long since become an end in itself. No matter how much I'm enjoying the band there will always a part of me that's impatient for the music to stop so I can go check out the merchandise.

But they're a useful basic, right? They're superior quality and nicer prints than you find in the shops. They're more likely to carry organic cotton and/or fair trade certification. And every one of them has a story to tell.

Here's Patti Smith. She's touring her classic album "Horses" this year. If you love her, try and see her. I guarantee she'll make you cry. I'd swear up and down she was wearing Ann Demeulemeester, but who can tell at that distance?

And here's Underworld, a band I'd been waiting to see for 20 years, and managed it twice this summer. Karl Hyde may wear nothing but Breton stripes but he did good by the fans. This is a beauty, a shirt for a connoisseur of tees.

The silhouettes change but the formula remains the same. A bold print, a cute jacket, favourite pants and statement shoes. Instant cool.

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • replied 8 years ago

    Fabulous! You rock those band tees. Hey, don't knock a formula that works! I love the way you styled both of the tees here. The unusual fastening of those trousers in #1 and the cool shoes you wore in London are perfect partners. Changing the balance of blacks and white looks great in your second outfit. Love those shoes!

  • donnat replied 8 years ago

    Those are some pretty darn cool looks.

  • rachylou replied 8 years ago

    Boy that's a tough question. You look awesome, but I have a pile of tees of my own, staring me down...

  • viva replied 8 years ago

    I think it's a uniform, and a cool one at that ... but then again, I love graphic tees, especially concert tees so I am an easy applauder here. Yours are absolutely fantastic and seem integral to the outfits you have shown them with. Fabulous. I love them and I love them on you.

  • Maneera replied 8 years ago

    I'll agree with others, Rio.

    I don't wear concert tees and neither do I wear graphic tees, so I'm totally unbiased here. These concert tshirts look super cool! Until I saw the pictures, I had mental images of Dire Straits and Iron Maiden tshirts I remember from way back in college! Now those were hideous!

    The tees you are sporting are far cooler....and they seem integral to your style. It's like you 'OWN' this look. I honestly love those 'favourite' pants....very unique. And your statement shoes really do make a bold statement! Those are some cool an artistically warped recreation of boots married to stilts....I love them! I LOVE the details on everything you wear... You have a great eye for picking out something that stands out not because it's bright and loud, but because the details are so exquisite and extraordinary

    So how can this 'uniform' not be cool?! I don't think you need to justify having 40 tshirts...these are collectors items....justification or functionality doesn't count here at all. I mean, someone who collects rare coins is not going to worry that he/she can't use them - right?

    I think this is a uniform...a rather refreshing, out-of-the-box uniform that you should feel proud to flaunt. It's certainly not a habit you need to change, unless you want to.

  • milehighstyle (Linda) replied 8 years ago

    I'd call it your signature piece.  And I'd like a pair of those oxfords, please.

  • Liz replied 8 years ago

    I'd call it a collection that you happen to be able to wear. 

  • approprio replied 8 years ago

    Thanks so much ladies... You do realise you are justifying the purchase of yet more shirts? I sort of hoped you might talk me out of it, but no, enabling an addict, hehe. 

    Diane G, you noticed! They've been getting a lot of wear lately - they're relatively light and wear like sneakers. Very comfy in this muggy weather.

    rachylou, viva, I sense I'm not alone in looking at piles of shirts I can't bear to get rid of. There's something about a really good screen print, right?

    Maneera, that's a wonderful way of looking at it! I'll try thinking of them as a collection that happens to be useful, rather than fussing over having more than I need. 

    Incidentally, the Patti Smith shirt showed up on a street style blog. I'd forgotten all about this but I found the girl's card the other day. I was kind of amazed she asked for a picture. Here I am, among the bright young things of Barcelona. I only know for sure because that's my ink on the left of the picture. I'm cool, but I'm not that cool.

  • replied 8 years ago

    Manerra spoke for me.  She said it so well, I can't add anything.  So I am just seconding her post.  You do look great.  They just work for you.  

  • Sal replied 8 years ago

    I think it is a fun hobby and they look cool on you. No downside unless you are selling the family jewels to afford them!

  • citygirldc replied 8 years ago

    Maybe it's a little uniform plus a good habit. You look rockin' chic. That's what I'm thinking. It's funny you mention concert tees because I've recently wanted to collect some graphic concert tees of my own. Unlike the the past where most tees have been black, I'm in search of band tees that have graphics or have color other than black. 

  • annagybe replied 8 years ago

    I posted a band shirt outfit a while ago. I think I was inspired by some street style pic.
    Personally I only like the ones that I actually saw in concert.


    But your looks are actually more cohesive

  • Greyscale replied 8 years ago

    I've always wanted to do something different with tees and now you've shown how. Not sure I can manage, but inspired to try.

    I met a guy wearing the coolest math equation tee at this conference, today. I even asked him where he got it - some museum gift store in Spain. I might have to stalk it. Not as cool as Patti Smith, but great in its own way.

  • replied 8 years ago

    What an awesome uniform! You look so "effortlessly cool". 

  • catgirl replied 8 years ago

    It's a curated collection. :)

  • Style Fan replied 8 years ago

    Yes you are that cool.  I love Patti Smith.  Send me that T shirt right away.  I will have to check out her concert dates.

    Are those Trippen boots?

  • approprio replied 8 years ago

    This is all very instructive. Reading these responses I'm starting to think that instead of purging my concert shirts I should in fact get rid of other things to make room for more of them. Who knew!

    Linda: fyi, the oxfords are Church's. Spendy, but worth every penny. I've been wearing these for years. 

    citygirldc: unleash your inner rock chick! You know you want to!

    anngybe: I remember that look! I thought at the time it looked like something I'd wear myself. And I agree it's not the same if you weren't at the concert. 

    Greyscale: a nerdy shirt is as good as a concert shirt. What was the math equation? Will anyone without a masters degree understand it?

    ETA: Style Fan: Well spotted! Yes they are! And go see Patti Smith!

  • Kirstjen replied 8 years ago

    I think they say something about your style.  You look really cool & edgy & somehow a graphic rocker tee seems like the essence of some part of you.

  • shedev replied 8 years ago

    what? You were wearing concert tees? I was blinded by the sheer awesomeness of your pants and shoes.

  • UmmLila (Lisa) replied 8 years ago

    I also would only wear for a band I've seen. I like these tees better than e.g. shirts with writing on them. I was tempted by a shirt at Nordstrom that said "if you like piña coladas" on it because of the absolute cheesiness of the song it recalls, but then I thought I wouldn't like people reading my shirt so I passed.

    My problem with concert tees generally is that I hate the high crew neck, heavy cotton look on me and my short neck. I got a Florence and the Machine one last month, but haven't worn it out of the house.

    After the long digression about me, I say go for it, but leave the Iron Maiden shirts home.

  • Rambling Ann replied 8 years ago

    Drooling over the shoe collection, especially the oxfords. They make the uniform seem so much more sophisticated even if casual.

  • Jaime replied 8 years ago

    Love these! The Patti Smith is fabulous as is the way you have inverted the black and white in the two outfits. I have not kept any of my concert tees - mostly tie dyes from my Deadhead phase anyway. 

  • Firecracker (Sharan) replied 8 years ago

    Instant cool, for sure.
    Somehow, I don't think I'd achieve anywhere near the same effect with the race t-shirts I've hoarded. Someone suggested making them into a quilt, and I may do that some day.
    I really like those pants, and you wear the Trippen shoes so well!

  • deb replied 8 years ago

    I think you can take some of the more collectable pieces and make an art wall with them .

  • replied 8 years ago

    Those looks are killer - we should all have such cool "bad habits!"

  • Greyscale replied 8 years ago

    The math shirt was a black tee with small equations scattered around it (looked like writing on a chalkboard). The equations were all simple physics and math things, like F=ma and less-well-known but similar things.

    My college bookshop carried lots of nerdy equation tees (I used to have a few) but none of them looked cool like this one. I'll try to find it online.

  • approprio replied 8 years ago

    You know what ladies, I think you could be right. This is a signature which I should be embracing rather than fretting over. It's not like I need to wear it every day, and hey, I have an easy time buying an essential item. I should stop worrying and fix the storage problem. 

    UmmLila: mwahahaha that piña colada song! I don't mind text on my shirts as long as it's interesting (or mildly offensive *evil grin*).

    You hit on something crucial about the cut. I've long made my peace with the unisex crew-neck style, and I find cuffing the sleeves adds a little structure. I used to size up and cut the collars off, but I don't do that anymore as it drastically shortens the lifespan of the shirt. 

    I think that might be the root of my doubts about the style generally. I love wearing a graphic print in the summer, and it's forgiving of my large bosom, of which I can be a little self-conscious. But I do wonder if defaulting to such a simple style is keeping me from branching out and experimenting with different tops.

    shevia: oh that deadhead style! It's kind of cool, but maybe not so very - uh - current.

    I think Mr Edge's race shirts are proliferating almost as fast as the concert shirts. A quilt could be interesting, but I wouldn't know what to do with it. Maybe use it as camping gear?

    Greyscale: that sounds fun! I think I'd like shirt like that covered in Feynman diagrams. You should show us if you find it.

  • Astrid replied 8 years ago

    Now my question would be, do you wear them all? Are some only precious because of the memories but don't fit into your outfits as well as others? I think I would divide the collection - keep the ones that fit best into your style/your outfits in the wardrobe and keep the other ones that are more sentimental pieces elsewhere, in a box. And if you wanted you could visit your storage from time to time and do a little swap, to make the collection in your wardrobe feel "new". I love both outfits shown here, so I vote embrace it as an uniform!

  • cheryle (Dianthus) replied 8 years ago

    I can't comment on the tops because I was so distracted by how much I love the pants with the angled snaps.  Wow, they are amazing.  I am conservative and lack the panache to wear them but would try if I could.  I love all of your looks and think they suit you to a t.  (pun intended)

  • approprio replied 8 years ago

    Astrid, that's some wisdom right there. I'd say they do all get worn, but some definitely more than others. I'm going to sort through them and put inessentials into storage.

    cheryle, thanks! They are very much my favourite pants, from BYBROWN, a local designer who happens to be a friend of mine. I have two more of the same design, both transitional/winter weight and I'm considering another pair for the summer.

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