Vintage T-shirts: Costco style

Thu, Nov 19

How'd you like to own a vintage Phil Simms T-shirt? Or maybe this groovy 1979 World Series tee? Or this nice Twins number?

There's only one catch: If you want those T-shirts, you're gonna have to buy some more shirts along with them. Like, a lot more.

Those tees are part of a 200-shirt batch that's currently available for $2,500 on eBay. The seller is Arrin Williams, a 33-year-old Chicago designer who amassed the collection primarily by combing through thrift stores.

"Team jerseys were always beyond my price point, but T-shirts were affordable and easy to find," he says. "I'd spend three or four days out of every month going to thrift stores. I could probably hit eight to 10 of them in a day, picking up maybe four or five shirts in each store."

Williams amassed some real beauties along the way. He cites this Hank Aaron design and this Refrigerator Perry model as personal favorites ("I love that they show him shaped like a fridge!"); plus, he has a soft spot for "Property Of" shirts. "Anyone can wear them, which is nice, because not everyone can pull off a Darryl Strawberry caricature shirt, you know?"

We know, we know. But hey, if Williams likes these shirts so much, why is he unloading them?

"I hate to say it, but it was an adult decision," he says, his voice heavy with regret. "Like, how many vintage T-shirts can I actually keep in my closet and wear? Plus I can't even fit into half of 'em anymore, so I may as well let them go to a good home."

Fair enough. But don't shed too many tears over Williams' supposed maturation -- he's keeping 40 or 50 shirts for himself.