We've all gone on a vacation and returned home with a tan and a ridiculously touristy t-shirt. It just happens. They must put something in the water in those gift shops because the shirts just look so appealing.
"I ❤ NY"? "We went to Death Valley and all I got was this lousy t-shirt"? Come on. You've thought about it. Don't lie.
Tourist shirts are... inexplicably varied. Any joke, any image, or any cartoon you've ever heard of has been slapped on a cotton t-shirt next to "Virgin Islands" or "Minnesota" in one of Microsoft Word's exciting default fonts. What does Snoopy have to do with Washington state? Nothing, but wouldn't you buy this shirt?
I've never even been to Washington! Buy here.
Vintage tourist shirts generally fall into three solid categories: sailboats, the "Night Wolves", and slogans. The 70s and 80s were a good friend of sailboats and sunsets, while the 90s had an iron grip on all-over prints. Slogans... well, we've always loved slogans.
Night Wolves may be my favorite. Take a look:
It's a very specific niche. Buy here.
Wolves in the moonlight, Alaska's finest sight. Click here to buy!
This is a tourist shirt for St. Louis. Seriously. Click to buy.
Wolves in Minnesota? Don't mind if I do! Click here to buy.
You get a wolf! You get a wolf! Everybody gets a wolf! Look into it and your home state may have a wolf tourist shirt too! It's a perfect 90s storm of an all over print and a realistic drawing of an animal that looks just weird enough to be uncomfortable. We kind of love it.
The next tourist staple is a sailboat. These are usually for waterfront destinations, but not always. What, you don't want to sail in the open oceans of Colorado?
This one doesn't even have a destination. Click to buy.
These sailboat tourist shirts are interchangeable with the holy trinity of tourist tees: the sailboat-sunset-palm tree combo. You can't even think about tourist shirts without ten of of these bad boys popping up. What's up with that?
The last kind of tourist shirt is the slogan tee. Possibly the most well known tourist design, the modern slogan shirt has its roots in these 70s and 80s tees. If you've ever wanted strangers to stare at you for an uncomfortable amount of time trying to read your shirt and figure out where it's from, we've got just the thing for you.
Awww. Not our first choice, but we'll roll with it. Click to buy.
C L A S S I C. Click to buy.
The best way to show off your incredible worldliness is with a tourist tee from every place you've been. Not an avid traveler? Get one anyway, and pretend.
Don't worry- we won't tell.