Vanity + Wearables

Shirts that say stuff on them.

Until very recently, I had a rule about what kind of shirts I’d wear and wouldn’t wear outside of the house. In the “wouldn’t” category, I had (mentally) listed t-shirts with things printed on them, especially slogans. Much like my issues with “affirmation” posters and the like (though there are some that don’t make me want to puke), I’ve always kind of seen message t-shirts as being attention-seeking and obnoxious. And maybe they are, but maybe I’ve also kind of started to love them a little. Maybe I’m an obnoxious attention-seeker, and I need a uniform.


I think what triggered my recent obsession was purchasing two DON’T BE BASIC t-shirts from the clearance rack in the teen girls department at Target (I can’t find them on their website, sorry) for me and Daniel. We were getting ready for our trip to Wisconsin in October (somehow I never blogged about that—oops), and we thought matching shirts would be a good idea. Because really, what’s more obnoxious than one person wearing a DON’T BE BASIC t-shirt? That’s right, two people wearing DON’T BE BASIC t-shirts.

And yeah, Daniel looks way better in teen girl clothing than I do, which is unfair.


1. My Spirit Animal Is a Goth Teenager
Heather Gabel’s awesome, truth-speaking t-shirt is perpetually out of stock (I was on a wait list for months before I snagged one!), but she has a tank top version in her shop right now.

2. Sad Dude Fan Club
Stay Home Club basically has the best t-shirts ever and I want to buy EVERYTHING THEY SELL. I also love sad dudes, and I’m not ashamed to let the world know.

3. Be Kind to Animals or I’ll Kill You
Oh, Morrissey. You fight with your right hand, and caress with your left hand…and I wouldn’t want it any other way. (This shirt is a nod to one worn by Doris Day.)

4. I’m So Tired
I am. It’s true. That vertical apostrophe is giving me hives, but I want the shirt anyway.

5. I Just Want to Drink Coffee Save Animals and Sleep
Kind of puts everything important right there on one shirt, doesn’t it? If ever there were a message shirt for me, this is it. Thug Life has a number of cool shirts, and a number of lame ones as well. I’ll let you sort out which are which.

6. Feck Perfuction
Maybe it’s unfair for me to include this shirt since it’s no longer available, but it’s one of my favorite recent acquisitions…so I really had to. It was made by heroic designer James Victore and sold through Cotton Bureau, which means all sales were pre-orders. There’s always a chance that it could be re-listed, though, so if you really want one, put your email address on their notification list. UPDATE! Straight from the horse’s mouth: “‘Feck Perfuction’ will be available in January from Cotton Bureau” Excellent!


Sweetness I Was Only Joking
I can’t not mention my own design from my K Is For Black shop! Modeled here by my handsome designer friend Richard Yoo, this fine shirt is available as a women’s fitted tee, men’s fitted tee, unisex v-neck, long-sleeve tee, tank top, biker tank, or onesie. I mean…that’s a lot of options. (And there’s even a sequel.)

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  • Reply rebecca December 29, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Oh gosh I love this. I’ve felt the same recently about the tee-shirt thing. I’m anti-logo too, but the funny ones have me going. I love these. The Doris Day one especially. Hell yeah. Thanks 🙂

  • Reply Colleen December 29, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    I never realized that my spirit animal is a goth teenager until this moment. But it’s totally true. I love your picks!

    • Anna @ D16 December 30, 2014 at 10:18 am

      I’ll be a goth teenager until the day I die.

  • Reply Patrick December 30, 2014 at 12:53 am

    #3 yes!

    • Anna @ D16 December 30, 2014 at 10:16 am

      I wish they made them in Chihuahua size!!

  • Reply Jensen December 30, 2014 at 3:25 am

    hahahhahaha yes to all of this! 🙂

    adam jk has a “sad girl fan club” rendition of the sad dude one (not sure which came first) and a bunch of other great shirts with sayings on them:

    • Anna @ D16 December 30, 2014 at 9:59 am

      The Sad Dude shirt was done in collaboration with Adam J. Kurtz! Based on the description at Stay Home Club, I assume Sad Girl came first. 🙂

      BTW, I love that he has a t-shirt with a picture of another t-shirt on it. That’s pretty great.

  • Reply Annemarie December 30, 2014 at 5:35 am

    I actually have the same rule still firm in my head. But mainly because having slogans on your chest usually means at one point people will bother you about it. Ugh…it’s just ashirtleavemealoneee…

    • Anna @ D16 December 30, 2014 at 10:19 am

      The thing I get the most comments about from strangers are my nails (when they’re all painted up fancy, at least) and this gold horse brooch that I like to wear on blazers and coats. Interestingly, I don’t get many comments on the shirts—just occasional knowing glances and smiles. 😉

  • Reply Natalie R. December 30, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Great T shirts! I love to wear things with words, but I’m too shy /-: and It’s like talking to strangers…
    I tried to order the Goth teenager a long time ago and it is always out of stock.

    • Anna @ D16 December 30, 2014 at 10:07 am

      “It’s like talking to strangers…”

      YES. Natalie, that is exactly right, and I hadn’t thought about it that way. I used to wear band t-shirts a lot when I was much younger (I still do, but I don’t leave the house in them), and it was a little like showing a secret membership card to the world. That was nice. Messages that can be understood by a broader group of strangers is different, and yes, it takes a little bravery as well as a (maybe secret) desire to get attention. I’m at peace with that now, but it may not last.

      Ahhh, t-shirt psychology! 😉

  • Reply Susan December 30, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Love these! Could you ask Richard where he got his eyeglasses from? They’re amazing.

    • Anna @ D16 December 30, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Susan, I will ask him!

  • Reply Pat E December 30, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Art museums also have fun, graphic t’s. I was on a work trip to St. Louis this summer and picked up this lovely thing at CAM:

    The Walker has a good shirt:

    The New Museum has shirts that say (in Braille!) “do not touch”,110.html (all sorts of geeky museum humor here)

    • Anna @ D16 December 30, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      Hah! That “Closed Mondays” one is pretty good.

  • Reply Justine December 30, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    I have also come around. There’s still a ton that make me dry heave but there’s some great ones out there (including these!).

  • Reply Victoria Ross December 30, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    I was in the same boat for quite awhile. I always hated the snarky shirts because they usually came with some childish or annoying graphic on them. A monkey eating a banana or whatever. I feel like there is a small subsection of these shirts now that are just simple and focus on the words, and I kind of like that.

    Good picks!

  • Reply Joanna January 1, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Ok, I don’t mean to be rude, but are there going to be a design-related posts anytime soon?
    Because – like Chris – I’m so tired of those advertorials.

    • Anna @ D16 January 1, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      1. This is not an “advertorial” (which would imply I was paid to write it), it’s a post about t-shirts I like. If this post had been sponsored/paid for, I’d say so. I think I did three (four?) sponsored posts in all of 2014, so perhaps your perception is a bit off.

      2. I write about lots of different things on my blog, including dogs, food, makeup, home renovation, personal wellness, and—yes!—clothing and textile design. That has been the case since I started blogging, and I have no plans to change that.

      3. Happy New Year! I hope you find some blogs you like better than mine in 2015. 🙂

    • Joanna January 5, 2015 at 4:00 am

      Happy New Year to you too, Anna!

      1. Paid or not, these are still posts about products, which I’m not really into. Comments indicate, that lots of people do like them, so…too bad for me;)

      2. Yes, but proportions have changed: there used to be a lot of posts about your home/apartment, and a few others. Right now, there was not a single design post for months! I miss them!

      2. Well, I was hoping I wouldn’t:).

      Ps. What happend to this loft-apartment you showed us a couple months ago?

    • Anna @ D16 January 5, 2015 at 10:00 am

      My blog has always included posts about products available for purchase, particularly ones made by independent makers. Always. Writing about products does not equate to “advertorials.” An advertorial is an advertisement disguised as editorial content, hence the name. Regardless of other comments, the key here is that I like them, and this is my blog. So yes, too bad for you.

      This post is about design—graphic design and textile design. Perhaps you are confusing the words “design” and “renovation”? I’m not sure. At any rate, I’ve owned my house for 9 years now. There are only so many projects a person can do. This has never been and will never be a blog about endless renovations, as doing so would mean that I’d have to artificially create projects to blog about just to have content—or, as many interior/renovation bloggers do, buying another home in order to have more stuff to write about. I am not someone who would do that.

      My life and personal interests dictate the contents of my blog, not the other way around.

      Regarding your ps, I posted an update about the new apartment just a couple of weeks ago, right after I moved in. Perhaps you missed it.

    • joanna January 8, 2015 at 3:35 am

      Yes – I DID miss this post, so thank you for this reference. This really is a great apartment.

      Anna, I see that I offended you, which was totally not my intention. I do respect the fact, that you do not create stupid projects only for the blog content. The home-renovation bloggers have it so much harder than i.e. fashion bloggers. As you said – you cannot renovate forever. Daniel had a smart way to solve this problem, but you’ve got a “proper” job so it’s not a way for you.
      The problem has arisen, because of our different perspectives – you write about ALL of your interests, I’m interested only in house related stuff. But in the end, it’s still your blog and it’s supposed to be fun for YOU.
      I meant only, that I really admire your taste and love to see more examples of it.

      I hope you’ll see this comment, despite new post you posted. Yay for vintage rugs!

    • Anna @ D16 January 8, 2015 at 10:02 am

      Joanna, thanks for your understanding, but I must clarify one more thing: I am not, and have never been, a “home renovation blogger.” I’ve been blogging since 1998 (nearly 17 years!), and in all of that time, my blogs have ALWAYS been about one thing: ME. That was true before I even owned a home or knew the first thing about using a drill. I write about what’s interesting to me, whether it’s a shirt or my dogs or food or wallpaper or music or movies or makeup or…whatever.

      I understand that you may have only discovered my blog during a time when I was doing a lot of renovation on my house, but that’s only one aspect of my life, and only one of many things that I’m interested in. I’m not offended by your comments, but I do take issue with the attempt to shoehorn me into a category of blogging to which I have never really belonged.

      This is a blog about me.

  • Reply Chris January 2, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    I love the Sweetness shirt, but sadly the skull would land right where a lot of my *ahem* body lands. 🙂 Maybe if I stay on the exercise gig…

  • Reply AImee January 30, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    OMG Heather is a great friend! So stoked to see you feature her shirt after having read your blog/site all these years!

    PS. I wear my spirit animal tee probably once a week out of the house 😉

  • Reply Irina May 2, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    omg, as a vet, I NEED THOSE

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