How to Buy Vintage Boys' T-Shirts

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How to Buy Vintage Boys' T-Shirts

Being cool is one of the top priorities of many boys. It is not easy to be cool either. A boy has to behave a certain way and dress a certain way for peers to consider him cool. Furthermore, the standards for being cool are constantly changing, which complicates things even more. Wearing vintage clothing is one way to handle the aspect of dressing cool that is relatively immune to fickle kids' fashion standards. Vintage clothing is always classic, making it less likely to go out of style.

One aspect of the vintage clothing market that is sometimes overlooked, is vintage t-shirts for boys. There are plenty of cool throwback t-shirts that boys will be happy to throw on. This guide proposes numerous ways of how to buy vintage boys' t-shirts that will help a boy look cool and classic. It is possible to find many of these types of vintage boys' t-shirts in vintage clothing shops and on eBay.

Defining Vintage

Vintage refers to new or secondhand clothing that appears as if it came from a previous era. Clothing from before 1920 is widely considered antique clothing, but the other chronological boundary for vintage clothing is debatable. Some consider the 1960's the end of the vintage era, while others say that it is the 1970's, and still others argue that it is the 1980's. A good blanket definition for vintage as it pertains to clothing is that it is classic, but subsequent styles have since outmoded it. By defining vintage in this way, a buyer can then categorise newly produced, classic boys' t-shirts as vintage.

Ways to Approach Vintage Boys' T-Shirts

This section points out the various ways that buyers can approach vintage t-shirts. The t-shirt can be representative of a style that was popular during a particular decade or it could have a certain theme from the past. Other elements, such as colour and fit can also lend boys' t-shirts a vintage look.


One way a buyer can choose a vintage boys' t-shirt is by the decade during which the t-shirt originated or the style of a particular decade that a new t-shirt is trying to reproduce. Vintage boys' t-shirts from the 1970's might feature a ringer design that has one main colour for the t-shirt and another for fabric around the neckline and ends of the sleeves. A vintage 80's t-shirt might have large, multi-coloured, simple renderings of a scene from nature on it with big block letters identifying the destination. If styles from certain decades appeal to buyers, then they should choose boys' vintage t-shirts from those decades.


Buying vintage boys' t-shirts by decade can make a broad selection available to shoppers. A more targeted way of searching for these t-shirts is by a specific theme. Buyers may be fans of certain movies, television shows, comic books, music bands, and sports teams, and these can all represent past eras. Many vintage boys t-shirts bear an image related to one of these themes, making them good ways to shop.

Movies/Television Shows

Almost everyone has a favourite movie or television show from the past. One great way to share with the next generation the love of a movie such as "Back to the Future" or a television show such as "Monty Python's Flying Circus" is by buying a t-shirt that bears imagery from that movie or television show. These forms of entertainment define an era as much as any style does.

Comic Books

Comic books are another good theme on which to base the purchase of vintage boys' t-shirts. Many comic book characters are classic, having as much appeal to boys now as they did when they first appeared in comics 20, 30, 40 or more, years ago. Spiderman and Superman are two examples of comic book series that still hold sway over kids today. Buying a vintage boys' t-shirt bearing the main character from either of these series, reminds the wearer and those around him of the timeless appeal of both of these comics.

Music Bands

Music is another form of entertainment that says a great deal about the era in which it was created. Choosing vintage boys' t-shirts based on the image of the musical bands they bear, is thus another good way to buy. The band may have been popular during the latter part of the vintage period, such as the Beastie Boys, or somewhere in the middle, like the Beatles. There are many timeless musicians and bands, and buying vintage boys' t-shirts is a great way of keeping their spirits alive and creating a new generation of fans.

Sports Teams

Many people are deeply attached to their favourite sports teams and they show their love by wearing t-shirts being imagery specific to those teams. A great many of these teams have long histories and rich traditions, and they have also changed their uniform designs periodically over the years. Thus, another facet of buying vintage boys' t-shirts is choosing ones that replicate a design from the past of a sports team such as Manchester United. Buying a vintage boys' sports t-shirt is a great way to show appreciation for a particular clubs' history.

Other Considerations

Decade and theme are two ways of structuring a search for vintage boys' t-shirts. Other considerations that buyers of these shirts may want to make are the shirts' colour, their available sizes, and their condition.


Colour is a very important consideration when it comes to any fashion, but especially for vintage clothing. It was a key theme in the 1960's as colour television and colour photography became standard. The clothing of the late 1960's and the 1970's seemed to reflect the greater place that colour had in everyday life, so buyers of vintage boys' t-shirts may want to take that into account when choosing a t-shirt. Black can seem contemporary, but red, green, blue, yellow, orange, and purple can help emphasise the vintage qualities of t-shirts.


Those wishing to buy a vintage boy's t-shirt can use the information in the table below to get an idea of which size t-shirt they should purchase.



Measurement (around the chest in cm)

Youth Small



Youth Medium



Youth Large



T-shirts were often fit tight in the 1970's, so a vintage t-shirt may appear tight by today's standards. However, those buying vintage boys' t-shirts may want to leave extra room in the shirt so that the boy wearing it can still grow into it. Buying a vintage boys' t-shirt is therefore a compromise between fashion and utility.


A true vintage t-shirt is one that was produced during a past era. It is unusual, though possible, to find an unworn t-shirt made 20 or more years ago. Therefore, many true vintage boys' t-shirts are used. New vintage boys' t-shirts are reproductions of t-shirts created in a past era, or t-shirts designed in a vintage style.

How to Buy Vintage Boys' T-Shirts on eBay

It is possible to buy vintage boys' t-shirts at second-hand clothing shops, flea markets, garage sales, and vintage clothing shops. There are also numerous online retailers who sell them. One good online source for vintage boys' t-shirts is eBay. The site has a large stock of vintage clothing, including boys' t-shirts. It is easy to search for and find the t-shirts you are looking for. To search eBay, go to the site's home page, enter the term "vintage boys' t-shirts" into the search bar and click Search. You will get a list of all of the vintage boys' t-shirts for sale on eBay. You can also perform a more targeted search by adding to the search term. If you are looking for a vintage Beastie Boys t-shirt for boys, for example, you can search using the term "vintage boys' Beastie Boys t-shirts". Once you have a listing of the vintage t-shirts you want, you can continue narrowing the selection by size and colour. Using search terms and colour and size options, you should be able to find the vintage boys' t-shirts you are looking for on eBay.


Outfitting adolescent boys in vintage boys' t-shirts is one way to help them look cool and keep them looking cool throughout the vagaries of shifting style trends. There are numerous ways to go about choosing vintage boys' t-shirts and this guide has presented a few different facets to explore. These include making a selection based on the era from which the t-shirt's style harkens or a theme such as a movie, a television show, a comic book, a music band, or a sports team. Buyers will also want to consider a vintage boys' t-shirt size, colour, and condition before deciding to purchase it. One of the key points of vintage clothing is that it almost never goes out of style. Understanding this concept, readers can use the information in this guide to find and buy vintage t-shirts on eBay that will keep their boys looking cool throughout their adolescence.

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