This is a trick question of course, because the answer is you can never have too many.
At the moment I have around 60 t-shirts.
I do try to love all my t-shirts equally, and use a rotation system to make sure I usually don’t wear one more than any others (is this weird? probably!). But, of course, I do have favourites.
Here are my (current) top 5.
My first Threadless t-shirt
Tommy wished for ray-gun eyes came with my very first order from Threadless in 2006.
Threadless were the first company I’d come across creating a new way to do online business by building a community of artists and t-shirt lovers.
It was Threadless that shifted my love of t-shirts into an obsession.
They had so many great original designs, and were the first online shop I’d bought from that gave artists a new platform to sell their art.
I’ve lost count of the number of Threadless t-shirts I own. But I love this one for the simplicity of the design, the 1960’s style graphics and for the nostalgia of it being one of my first of many Threadless t-shirts.
By the way, if you love the design, last time I checked it was still available.
French book festival t-shirt
I prefer to wear fitted t-shirts but this one has to rank in my top 5, despite its loose fit, because I bought it from a book festival I stumbled on in 2015.
I was visiting Sète, a small seaside town in southern France, to walk up Mont St Clair and take in the amazing views across the Mediterranean Sea.
It was a beautiful hot September day, and on the way back from Mont St Clair my friends and I took some back streets. We turned a corner, and there was a small book festival happening in the street.
There were mostly local authors, many self-published, and I bought a young adult fantasy novel that I’m yet to read. (Still working on my French reading skills but I’m almost there).
This t-shirt is a reminder of that fantastic day, and the joys of wandering back streets while travelling.
Book covers on t-shirts - a winning combination
Mikhail Bulgakov’s weird-as novel The Master and Margarita is one of my favourite books of all time, and its brilliant use of the absurd definitely influenced my own writing.
So when I discovered Out of Print – a company that combines my 2 main obsessions of t-shirts and books – had this t-shirt, I ordered 2. One for me, and one for my sister who introduced me to the book and loves it as much as I do.
I have a few Out of Print tees in my collection, including one for my all-time favourite book Slaughterhouse 5 (The Master and Margarita comes a close second).
Some of the others fit better and have more interesting designs.
But this is my favourite because I remember how excited I was to find it.
Laura Dance Festival 2017 t-shirt
The rule is the same for all festivals – if you go, you gotta get the t-shirt.
And after travelling all the way to Laura in Cape York Queensland for their dance festival, there was no way I was leaving without one.
The Laura Dance Festival started in the 1980s and is believed to be the longest running Indigenous cultural festival in Australia.
Every couple of years, teams of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dancers from across the Cape come together to compete against each other for 3 days of traditional dance.
There’s a stage, but that’s not where the dancing happens.
The “dance floor” is an area of red dirt and dust surrounded by shady trees.
There’s no set program, no schedule. You just run to the dance area when you hear the drums signal the start of competition.
It is absolutely the most incredible event I’ve been to in my life.
Of course I had to have a t-shirt as a wearable souvenir of the great time I had there. Plus, it fits really well and is super cute.
Sneakers on a t-shirt: the next best thing to sneakers on feet
I love sneakers.
Once upon a time the only shoes I wore were Chuck Taylors, which I owned in a whole heap of different colours. They were my number 1 shoe of choice.
Unfortunately, around 15 years ago, my feet started to screw up.
It meant I could no longer wear Chucks or any other kind of sneaker. It was devastating for me for a whole heap of reasons.
When I saw this t-shirt while on holiday in Florence in 2012 I immediately loved it because it combined my favourite t-shirt colour (grey marle) with my favourite footwear.
Even though I could no longer wear the sneakers I could wear the t-shirt.
I still look longingly at sneakers and wish I could wear them. But my Florence t-shirt makes me feel a little better about my shoe situation.
The t-shirt life chose me
My oldest still-in-rotation t-shirt dates from around 2000, though I can trace my t-shirt obsession back to my childhood, to the t-shirt that started my t-shirt obsession.
It is still possibly the greatest t-shirt I’ve ever owned.
I outgrew it when I was around nine years old. And yet, I still have it.
If tragedy struck and I had to leave my home with only a few possessions, it’s quite likely I’d take it with me.
Don’t judge me. There are far worse obsessions to have.
I wear mine proudly.