Screen tees that aren’t embarrassing

Oh the screen tee. I have pinned dozens of them. I want to look edgy-chic and pair one with a blazer for the office. I want to look effortless with cut offs and sneakers on the weekends. And YET. My friends. Why are there so many t shirts with strange sayings on them? Why do I have such a complex about what those words are? Here is a round up of screen tees that I would not be embarrassed to wear. The list is small!

I want to start by saying 1) wear what you want, 2) if I see you in a grocery store rocking a tee that says “wine mommy” I don’t judge, but 3) I do think that wearing words on my body in some way means I endorse those words. This thought has made it very, very hard to find a screen tee I don’t mind, and it turns out many of you agree, too. When I asked on instagram for suggested screen tees, I got like…4 brand names. When I asked you what words you dislike on shirts we got some real gems, like “Good vibes only” and “Smile” (we’re all tired of demands to be happy) and, most confusingly, “I need a margarita the size of my butt” (I’m afraid to google this one!!!). But I have found a few categories of tees that I think I would wear:


Vintage-y tees are appealing because in my head they’re always so soft from years of going through the washing machine. I also like that vintage tees come in lovely saturated colors. This pepsi tee caught my eye for both reasons. I know, Rebecca, you just said the words you are wearing are words you endorse?? I have been gravitating toward brand names on tees lately because I realize my brain doesn’t process them the same way. When someone is wearing a shirt with a pithy phrase on it I’m 10/10 reading it. When someone is wearing a Nike shirt I feel like I don’t even notice?

Place specific

I think we all have our hometown pride to fall back on so I’ve been in a big Etsy trap of browsing vintage Arizona tourism shirts lately. Also very into all Michigan related shirts. It’s pretty easy to find tees in this category by typing in “vintage+[place name]+t shirt” on Etsy. Read the listings carefully, sizes are usually misleading in vintage tees so I make my decision based on the pit-to-pit measurement.

90s nostalgia

Ooooh boy the 90s are vintage now?? I don’t believe it. But I do like this 90s tee for its simplicity! And my current fave screen tee is my Backstreet Boys shirt…because I really wanted one as a child.

Edgy, aka tiger tees

This category might as well be “shirts with tigers on them.” I don’t know why I like shirts with tigers on them so much ok?? But I’m so into it. This Emerson Fry shirt caught my eye because 1) tiger and 2) it’s half the price of the Anine Bing tees I’ve been coveting. I also like this leopard print tee because it serves the same purpose as a screen tee just without words.

Support a local business

I don’t know why every microbrewery and coffee roaster needs a t shirt, but I like them, they’re abundant, and you can support a small business. My friend who is a coffee genius told me she loves the merch at Dark Horse in San Diego.

There you have it. The list is short. If you see any others you like, send them my way!

4 thoughts on “Screen tees that aren’t embarrassing”

  1. I love these. It’s so hard to find a good graphic tee. Also, I have that Emerson Fry tee and love it so much that I hunted down two more on Poshmark (and I NEVER buy multiples of things) – it’s that good. I know I need to get rid of at least one, but…later


  2. Screen tees are the best option to have when you don’t find your desired outfits or when you are confused about what to wear. Screen tees can be worn with literally anything around because they get easily matched with any of your shoes, jeans, or under your blazers also.
    Some screen tees give you a vintage feeling and make you look different from others which makes you feel special. Thank you for listing this together and sharing it with us.


  3. Bonfire! You can buy a t-shirt that benefits a nonprofit. Just bought one for Carry the Future with an Amanda Gorman quote on it.


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