As a middle-aged person, you could be sitting on a treasure trove you never even thought of… your old clothes! As everything vintage-retro continues to rise in popularity amongst millennials and even more so gen-x, you would be surprised what your old, worn-out t-shirts and sweatshirts can be worth today.

The craze originally started about five years ago, but back then was primarily focused on t-shirts, especially vintage concert shirts. Any t-shirt produced before 1994 is known by collectors for their iconic single stitching. This is referring to the stitching around the arm cuffs and collars. Modern era (post 1994) shirts have a double stitching that creates a stronger hold, keeping the form of the shirt. Thus, vintage shirts were prone to stretching and tearing and wore out as they lacked the elasticity of modern era clothing.

The really interesting part though is what originally started as a new collecting trend has turned into mainstream fashion. People are not just buying old shirts with stains and holes to collect, but to wear! Ironically enough the more beat up (yet still functional) the shirt is, the better in the eyes of every trendy fashionista. “Thrashed” is the term used today to describe an article of clothing that is heavily worn, stained, and tattered – but still useable. Have an old 1990’s Champion crewneck sweater you painted your house with three different times over twenty years? Perfect! You’ve just entered the world of high fashion. Now, it does take the right buyer and marketplace to sell these things, but when you reach it, you won’t be throwing your old concert t-shirts into the donation bin anymore!

If you are sitting at home and have been contemplating emptying out the spare room closet or totes of 1990’s Guns ‘N Roses and Motley Crue t-shirts, you’ll want to have an expert take a look first. For example, earlier this year at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers we had a 1984 Ozzy Osbourne Rules graphic t-shirt that was heavily worn. The shirt was stretched, had multiple holes, and one sleeve was cut; It was the definition of “thrashed” - and it sold for $190.00 in our auction! Will you be able to retire early off one shirt? Nope… but if you have fifty of them, it’s a good start! When the time comes, give me a call!


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