CustomInk > Blog

The 100 Most Iconic T-Shirts of All Time

by Jeff Gregory

in CustomInk News

Share on reddit


It’s no secret that CustomInk loves t-shirts. Especially custom t-shirts. We’ve always talked casually about the most iconic or most popular t-shirts of all time, but in light of the 100th birthday of the t-shirt, we decided to put our money where our mouths are and put it to a company vote. The result is a phantasmagorical stroll down memory lane through popular movies, rock ‘n’ roll, TV land, comics, college athletics, cultural movements, social statements, funky fads and so much more. We hope you enjoy and share with friends.

100 Most Iconic T-shirts of All Time

About the Author - Jeff Gregory


Jeff Gregory helps customers find what they need in search engines and loves writing blog posts that help people enjoy life. Follow Jeff on Google+.

{ 79 comments… read them below or add one }

greg zinner July 28, 2014 at 1:14 pm

do you know where I can get this mighty mouse shirt? I haven’t been able to find it anywhere. Thanks.

craig July 20, 2014 at 6:55 am

classic anybody thats about to print up some shirts need to see this list wow a must add to any bookmark.

Street People Atelier June 30, 2014 at 11:42 am

Interesting collection – Sweet neon tee too!
Agreed about Hyper Color being pretty iconic back in the day…

https://streetpeopleatelier.com/

Sarah June 10, 2014 at 4:21 pm

Hi Pat

http://teespring.com/DontMesswithTexasWomen . I found this today.

Thanks

Roscoe Gunning May 27, 2014 at 11:02 pm

This list was put together by a tax attorney. Right?!

Abigail Mae Presott May 5, 2014 at 6:14 am

Great list! Totally agree with all of it! It’s a great thing I can also get some of these designs from http://www.beltsbucklestees.com/collections/movie-tv-t-shirts

Pat April 11, 2014 at 4:22 am

I’m trying to find a T-shirt saying; ‘Don’t Mess With Texas’ saying on it.
Please help me find where I can purchase.
Thanking you in advance,
Pat

Chris April 2, 2014 at 1:39 pm

YOLO shirt is killing it! love it! Nolin!

Erin J. Cleveland April 1, 2014 at 11:55 am

Nc Iconic t-shirt and it has a good quality of printing design good work. thx for this site I just know what will i buy ^_~

Smithe439 March 29, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Very nice! fdadbkefba

rich sullivan March 25, 2014 at 4:49 pm

Hulkamania! So proud to be in this company! I created said logo in 1983 for Vince McMahon and the then litle knkown Terry Hogan..wish i had a nickel..etc..
Rich

Juana Jane Aguon March 18, 2014 at 5:33 pm

AUSTIN 3:15
What-a-shirt!

D.E. February 12, 2014 at 9:55 am

The stripes of the UK gained popularity stateside via Brit bands like The Sex Pistols and Def Leppard. Def Leppard’s Joe Eliot often donned the sleeveless tee in concert.

Have a bunch of the sleeveless……….FAME London label, made in England. From the early 80′s.

mikel February 5, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Lest we forget “Big Johnson”?

Lia January 26, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Notable Mentions:
“Sh*t Happens”
smiley face tshirt
New Orleans Mardi Gras tshirt
Rebel Flag (if you’re a white southerner)
Martin Luther King (if you’re black)
Tupac
Bart Simpson
Virginia is for Lovers

Maxanne Durkee November 22, 2013 at 3:21 pm

Does anyone ever look for a t-shirt style here rather than a graphic on a t-shirt. Do you like the weight of your tee to be heavyweight, feather weight or does it even matter? Do you like your tees to be made in the USA? Does quality matter or should it just be for a short term use for the fad that is current?
Just trying to get a feel for the trend.

Thanks for keeping us current Jeff.
MDurkee

Mark September 14, 2013 at 7:36 pm

I would like to see a t-shirt with a quote from the “Honeymooners”. The “POW, Strait to the moon” Used by Jackie Gleason should do it. Maybe a picture of Gleason with his fist held out like he is taking a swing.

Adam Levine September 9, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Steve,

You may want to check out Heart OMG’s website. Or you can create a custom one on ours.

Steve September 9, 2013 at 7:48 am

I am looking for the Team Jesus shirt that Ben Afleck wore …can you please advise. thanks!

site September 7, 2013 at 12:51 am

Hey there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.

Please let me know. Thank you

Adam Levine September 3, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Karen,

You should be able to find one by searching “John Lennon NYC sleeveless shirt” in Google. Best of luck!

KAREN ALAGNA September 3, 2013 at 2:27 am

I WANT TO BUY JOHN LENON’S SLEEVELESS “NEW YOUR CITY ” TEE SHIRT.
PLS ADVISE.

justin morgan September 1, 2013 at 5:52 pm

I have been trying to find a tshirt. I cant remember the brand name but it had a animated whitetail buck deer on the back flexing his arm muscle and a tattoo that said buck this.any help would be greatly appreciated thanks Justin Morgan

Pety Paspartoot August 28, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Don’t say no to nobody, Yoyo!

Obsolete Planet August 14, 2013 at 7:03 pm

The Max!

lynn davis Pres/Owner July 30, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Had the pleasure of using customink for a small order but with your service it felt like a large order. Thanks so much.

Jonny July 21, 2013 at 6:24 pm

NO T-SHIRT IS WORTH THAT MUCH!

Fred Nelson July 19, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Thanks Jeff

Jeff Gregory July 19, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Hi, Fred,
Target department stores currently carry reprints of about 2 dozen of the ones on our list. Plus, they’ve printed some that didn’t make our list.
Other than that, I’d say searching Amazon or eBay is your best bet.

Best wishes,
Jeff

Fred Nelson July 19, 2013 at 3:27 pm

the 100 t-shirt –i used to have so many of them and so many of them have been lost–i am 72 and am still alive—any idea where i can find some of them to
wear again
thanks

Iliana July 14, 2013 at 11:58 am

How about the Old Navy flag t shirt? Every summer…

Andrew W July 10, 2013 at 11:02 pm

No Mod target shirt? Tsk, tsk.

JEFF CHAPMAN June 20, 2013 at 3:24 pm

#31 MICKEY MOUSE ON GRAY HEATHER IS AN ICON…HOWEVER IT IS REALLY MORE IMPRESSIVE PRINTED ON BLACK. MY PRODUCTION MANAGER AND MYSELF PRINTED THE FIRST ONE WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY (FLASH CURING) IN 1982. THAT LED TO OVER 6,000,000 BEING PRINTED OVER THE NEXT 5 YEARS. MY PRODUCTION MANAGER, DAN ZELLNER AND MYSELF ARE STILL TOGETHER, AND WE BOTH WISH WE WERE STILL PRINTING THAT SIMPLE BUT ICONIC SHIRT. THANKS FOR PUTTING THIS “100 MOST” LIST TOGETHER.
JEFF CHAPMAN

Adam Levine June 4, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Hi Raymond,

Thanks for visiting CustomInk’s list of Iconic T-Shirts. I believe you may be referring to Oregon Live’s contest for the 100th Birthday of the t-shirt. It looks like they ran a separate campaign on their website and the best way to reach them is by emailing living@oregonlive.com.

Best of luck.

Raymond L. Wilder June 3, 2013 at 2:44 am

HI – Apparently you did not receive our T-shirt submission. ” I skied Mt. St. Helens – 5/18/80
Since this appears to be a problem with our computer, we will send a photo to the Living section of the Oregonian
by snail mail.

Bryden May 29, 2013 at 5:25 pm

i might just get that shirt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Capt. J E Wilson May 21, 2013 at 10:48 am

No. 7 should be number one but from Hard Rock in Fukuokay, Japan. I still am amazed that I forgot to buy a t-shirt when I was there. Sound out the city phonetically and you get something that sounds like your saying, well do it yourself. C L Marine surveyors and consultants had a pretty awesome t-shirt also, i guess because I designed it. I’ll put it up for #201.

hoolia May 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm

What about the Hooters shirt?!?! I’m not a fan, particularly,but it is iconic.

Charles Jenkins May 19, 2013 at 11:02 pm

When I joined the Navy in 1944 they issued skivie shirts to me. After demobilization I found them called T shirts. Still sleep in mine every night.

Jerry Taylor May 18, 2013 at 10:32 am

I love the ghostbusters one #17 ghostbusters all the way…..lol

CK Patrick May 18, 2013 at 7:45 am

Love the list! Your description for the Grateful Dead shirt is a bit off though . . . fans were allowed to sell shirts outside the shows only if they were original works of art – hence the abundance of tie-dyes. Anything with a copyrighted image (especially Grateful Dead copyrights) was at risk of being confiscated.

Mark Reed May 17, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Doesn’t work on my system, which is a pretty standard HP Media Center with Windows XP. I read the note about viewing it on a phone but I prefer to use mine as a phone and my computer to view the internet.

Jeff Gregory May 17, 2013 at 11:36 am

Thanks, Fred. Very much appreciated coming from an industry veteran such as yourself.

fred meyers May 17, 2013 at 11:30 am

A nice attempt to pull this together and clearly some refinement could help the list.

I would vote for the shirt with the muscles printed on it, as well as the one with the skeleton printed on it.

My mother invented those with her partner in the ’70′s and that was my introduction into the shirt business!

Fritz May 16, 2013 at 10:43 pm

A few of these supposedly iconic t-shirts really fail to meet the standard of the definition of the word “iconic.” Sure, the dorks on “Saved by the Bell” had “The Max” t-shirts, but who had one in real life? The Misfits’ Crimson Ghost shirt and the classic ’70s “Keep on Truckin’!” t-shirt should have made the list… and what about “The Warriors?” There are tons of others you could name, too many, in fact. My personal favorite t-shirt is the classic “Gorilla Snot” t-shirt. I thank whatever power governs the universe that Joey Shapiro decided to relaunch the company…and resume t-shirt production.

Bob May 16, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Can I, uh, buy these? I’m a-clickin, but I can’t find any way to buy ‘em.

It’s kinda silly if these aren’t for sale…

b

allen May 16, 2013 at 7:55 pm

QUEEN OF THE F@%#*!% UNIVERSE ANY QUESTIONS ? , WHY BE , SHIT HAPPENS ! LAMRON ?

Anna Gray May 16, 2013 at 6:15 pm

I love the Bikini T-shirt (#40)! Makes you feel slim :)))

Jennifer May 16, 2013 at 6:08 pm

Where can I buy these Tshirts?

Ellie H May 16, 2013 at 4:00 pm

NO MICHAEL JACKSON….the most iconic of them all….

Bill May 16, 2013 at 3:43 pm

It does not work and I can not find any vertical scroll

Jeff Gregory May 16, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Hi, Bill,
Apologies for your not being able to view our slide show on your desktop.
We tested it across numerous devices, browsers and operating systems. Unfortunately, we were unable to get it to work on all of them.
You can find a vertical scroll version on an iPhone and most Android-based phones.
Let me know if you aren’t able to view it on a phone.
We’ll do whatever we can to get you a readable version.

Cheers!

Jeff

Leigh Marble May 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm

The classic Misfits t-shirt is M.I.A.

Bill May 16, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Your slide show doesn’t work in IE 9, WIndows 7 64-bit

Jarek May 16, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Where can I buy the Rainbow Brite Tee for MEN? That would be a hoot!

Will May 16, 2013 at 1:57 pm

T&C surfwear? Quicksilver? Blatantly overlooked.

Jim May 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Wow! At least 2 Che Guevara T-Shirts! Nice to know that a sociopathic mass-murdering communist is held in such high esteem! Excellent! Not!

Tim S May 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Mickey Mouse! Oh gosh, that swell!

brenda May 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm

where is the spuds mackenzie shirt?

Rocky Reynolds May 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm

How can you leave off the So Cal Bullitt Owners shirt>?. Bullitt Mustang the tribute car for the movie Bullitt one of the best Movies that Steve McQueen stared in

Paul May 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Spuds McKenzie? Where are you?

Kelley May 16, 2013 at 11:30 am

Che at #12. Iconic by definition, but man, that shirt ticks me off. Nothing like walking around with a racist murderer’s face on your chest.

Kcoreyedstrom May 14, 2013 at 8:00 am

These are almost random.

Chad May 13, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Vote for ‘Vote for Pedro’ to be knocked back a very pegs. It is not nearly as influential as any of the shirts preceding Dare. What kid didn’t have a Dare shirt?

Arlo Klinger May 13, 2013 at 11:57 am

How about the “Everyone Loves A” T-Shirt?

Peter Bolam May 10, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Great choice for number one. And no Yankees shirt!!

Frog Gentlemen May 10, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Vote for Pedro at #2? There’s no way that has proved its influence and staying power better than Batman!

j May 3, 2013 at 5:45 pm

No The Black Dog? list fail.

MM93 May 2, 2013 at 9:54 am

No “I shot J.R” ???????!?

Dale May 2, 2013 at 6:16 am

So the Autobot symbol makes it onto the list and not the far cooler Decepticon one?

Dan May 1, 2013 at 10:59 pm

needs no ma’am and the “who needs tits with an ass like this” one

Nitro May 1, 2013 at 10:00 pm

nWo 4 Life

Anonymous May 1, 2013 at 9:16 pm

“the bat signal. It is presence on t-shirts has become the calling card of fans worldwide.”

Anonymous May 1, 2013 at 9:14 pm

“In 1955 James Dean soared to iconic status in Rebel Without A Cause, rocking nothing more than a white shirt and leather jacket.”

No… I’m pretty sure he wore pants, too. Maybe… blue jeans. I bet he wore underwear, too.

Michael Stamp May 1, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Vote for Pedro at # 2? That’s somebody’s idea of a joke right?

kyle May 1, 2013 at 6:26 pm

where is no ma’am?

Russ Weakland May 1, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Hyper Color or Vuarnet France shirt? Those were on everyone!

Adam Levine May 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Stan, funny you mention those. Both shirts made our list of nominations, but fell just short of the Top 100. Farrah Fawcett #111 and Keep on Truckin #104. Thanks for the feedback!

Stan Williams May 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm

How in the world did you leave off the iconic Farah Fawcett T-shirt? Or the Keep on Truckin’ T-shirt?

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: