How-To: Destroy a Thrift Shop Tee

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Band tees are one of my closet STAPLES. Mario Kondo will not be taking those away from me! The one thing I hate about vintage-y band tees are the price. I don’t want to shell out $50 for an uncomfortably stiff Led Zeppelin tee. I want it to feel as though a groupie has worn it for 4 months straight. Super soft, comfy & probably has some wear and tear- because, groupies.

Especially the Rock Band groupies.  So, how can you achieve this by spending less than $10?

Insert Macklemore Thrift Shop... What, what

 For real though- head on over to your local Thrift (my personal fav's are Volunteers of America & Ohio Thrift) and get ready to search. I’m not talking just sifting through a few racks here and there, I’m talking about looking at every single t-shirt rack in the Men's, Women’s and even Kids section! Eight times out of ten I’ve found a band tee. A cozy, lived-in band tee. Sometimes they’re truly vintage, and sometimes they may come from current stores (think UO, or Target).

So, the graphic is dope, but it’s not quite the vintage vibe you’re looking for. Don’t get flustered and put it back on the rack, because I’m going to show you how to make those band tees feel like it was found in a KISS tour bus from 1987. 

After your thrift scavenger hunt, run over to your local Target (or supermarket of choice) and grab nailclippers, a lemon zester, chalk, and some scissors. We’re going to Macgyver the shit out of those tees! And after we’re done with the tee, you can give yourself a mani & make freshly zested. Look at you go.

  • Step One: Lay your new tee out on a flat surface and take your chalk and mark where you want any destruction. Throw the tee on to see if the destruction is…well, appropriate. I found this out the hard way. If you’ve watched Mean Girls, you know

  • Step Tw0: Time to destroy. Grab your clippers & scissors and begin clipping tiny holes into your tee where you marked with chalk. I like to use the sides of the clippers and go in at an angle for the sleeves, neck & bottom hem; and the scissors for everywhere else. After you cut the larger holes, give it a good stretch. This helps to achieve the nice "worn in" look!


  • Step Three:  Time to zest! Be SUPER careful when using the zester. I have grated my fingers before and it is not pleasant. RIP fingerprints. I would also recommend starting with a “less is more” approach so you don’t accidentally zest too much away.

  • Step Four (optional): To add a pop of extra to your band tee, grab some household bleach. Put on some gloves and carefully pour a teensy of bleach (eyeball it) into a spray bottle. Take your tee outside, or in a ventilated space and start decorating! For this tee i used the "fine mist" option on the nozzle to spray all over. For the more distinct spots i used the "stream" option. You can also use a dropper to get the same look!

  • Step Five: Toss your tee in the washer (I like to flip him inside out) and let it air-dry! You can definitely pop it in the dryer, but I personally, like to let mine air-dry to guarantee it doesn’t’ shrink up on me. 

You’re done! Show off your new tee like the groupie you are!

If you feel inspired to DIY your own thrift shop band tee, please share with me! I would love to see your creations!