Following the COVID pandemic of 2020, it’s fantastic to see a return to live music and the opportunity to attend gigs. But there is an (almost) unspoken dress code at these shows, and you won’t know you’ve broken it until you are already a violator. The debate: band tees. When it comes to wearing band tees, the debate turns heated (and downright nasty sometimes). Is it okay to wear the band’s t-shirt to their show?
Some people believe wearing a band’s t-shirt is redundant and lazy. After all, band shirts are made to advertise the band. You also might be pegged as a general, lazy “music listener” trying to prove yourself as a gawking superfan. Others, who are more relaxed, couldn’t care either way.
You aren’t likely to get chided for this unless you meet a particularly upset group of music fans. This taboo is more likely to result in silent judgment from a few select people. But, if you want to know more about the t-shirt debate, read below.
Why People Get Upset Over Wearing Band Tees at Live Shows
There are two types of taboos related to wearing band tees: wearing general band shirts and wearing a shirt you got from the merch table. People get upset over wearing these shirts generally because it’s viewed as lazy.
When wearing a band tee, you do it to make others aware of your love of the band. During the early days, small bands who see newly minted fans wearing their shirt appreciate it. But, as bands grow and become regular headliners, it’s less necessary.
Consider walking into Wendy’s restaurant and seeing an advertisement asking you to go to Wendy’s. It’s redundant, possibly annoying, and might make you take the restaurant less seriously. Concertgoers who take offense to other people wearing these shirts take this perspective.
Of course, they could also choose not to look at the shirts. But, that would be too easy.
Wearing another band tee, it’s like holding up a sign saying that you are a general “music lover.” Think of someone going to a Black Sabbath concert with an ACDC t-shirt. You won’t get any points for fashion originality.
It’s not quite as bad as wearing white to a wedding. But you might upset someone who’s gotten a few too many beers (with their inhibitions gone).
Why Can’t You Wear Band Tees at Live Concerts? The Potential Source
Not everyone agrees that wearing a band’s t-shirt to their concert is okay, thanks to an ongoing debate that may have stemmed from the 90s movie PCU. In the movie, Jeremy Piven’s character tells a fellow partygoer wearing the band’s shirt, “don’t be that guy.”
Whether or not this movie started the unwritten rule of no band t-shirts remains to be seen. Still, certain crowds may not appreciate the “uncoolness” of this attire.
So, if you are worried about being singled out as “uncool,” consider your shirt. If not, feel free to wear your best Metallica or Iron Maiden show – plenty of other fans will be.
What Are The Benefits Of Wearing Your Own Clothes To A Concert?
While it’s okay to wear the band’s merch on most occasions, there are benefits to wearing your own clothes too. It allows you to showcase your unique style and will enable you to connect with people who are drawn to your personality.
Another reason wearing a band’s t-shirt could be considered uncool is that the music culture prides itself on expression. Wearing the latest merch may lead to you being grouped in as a generic fan.
On the other hand, wearing your own clothes demonstrates your authenticity, making you “cooler” because you’re comfortable expressing your own individuality,
Is It Rude To Wear Another Band’s Shirt To A Concert?
It’s not a great idea to wear another band’s t-shirt to a concert and avoid rival bands. If the act has an ongoing public dispute with another band, you could not only upset them by showing your support to their rivals but are unlikely to be popular among your fellow fans too.
Can I Wear Custom Band Tees (DIY T-Shirts)?
Fan art can be a cool and awesome thing to experience. There’s virtually no reason not to do this, especially if you’ve got the talent.
But, if you don’t have the talent, you might look a little silly. So, get the opinion of strangers before bringing your custom band tee to a show. You want someone who won’t “pull their punches” when judging any custom piece of merch.
How Do You Wear Concert Tees?
- Keep it simple, and pair your tee with skinny jeans. Add a touch of class with sleek heels, or wear boots for a grunge look.
- If it’s hot, pair your band tee with ripped shorts. Tuck the shirt in to show off your waist, but make sure you pull out enough of the shirt so the band’s name can still be seen.
- Add layers and pair your band tee with a color-coordinated shirt. Leaving the shirt open allows people to glimpse your tee while expressing your style simultaneously.
When attending a concert, it’s always a good idea to pack a spare shirt to account for weather conditions, spilled drinks, or general mess. Plus, adding some design might distract from your choice in merch.