Tag Archives: shirt

No Sleeves, No Problem


With winter in full MF-in’ swing, and with the East Coast and Midwest getting buried under a foot of snow, I figured now was probably a good time to post a summer-related piece in hopes that it might give you something to look forward to and help melt away those February blues (or ‘whites’, seems a bit more fitting.)

After writing about the popularity of quirky tees in 80s movies, and having posted a picture of a sleeveless Steve Gutenberg in Police Academy, I realized the shirt-sans-sleeves look was a really popular one during the heyday of 80s cinema. It defined jocks, cool guys, tough guys, losers, and weirdos – making it easily one of the most versatile 80s fashion statements. Who wore it best? Let’s take a look.


Snake Plissken from Escape from New York and Escape from L.A. Gotta start the list off right, and the only way to do that is with Snake. Doesn’t get any cooler than him. This sleeveless look would definitely fall under the ‘tough guy’ category. Toss in an eyepatch and giant gun, and it’s elevated into the ‘total badass’ stratosphere.


The list went from bad-ass to sad-ass quick. Although, Ricky  – Corey Feldman’s character from The ‘Burbs – gets creativity points for slapping what appears to be the Batman logo on what looks like a mesh football jersey.


It only makes sense to follow a Feldman post with a shot from The Lost Boys. Above is Alan Frog – brother to Feldman’s Edgar Frog – and Alan is rocking a pretty proper sleeveless look. Combining the US Army 82 Airborne Division shirt with the dogtags definitely says ’15-year-old trying to look like grizzled war vet’. I give it a thumbs up.


Another great sleeveless look is worn by Freddy from Return of the Living Dead. The shirt reads “Domo arigato”, which is for Japanese for, “Thanks a lot”. I’ve searched and searched for this shirt online to no avail, so as far as I know it was created just for the movie. Is it a reference to the soft synth-pop 80s band Visage? Who knows! Complimented by a pair of skinny suspenders, this outfit says, “It’s 1985 and I love all that UK new-wave and punk shit.” When it comes to this shirt, u-needa it!



Rocking a look that defines “sleazeball”, we have Buddy from Just One of the Guys (1985) on top, and David fromFriday the 13th Part VII (1988) on the bottom, both rocking the sleeveless flannel look. This is good for late summer, when the leaves are beginning to change, and the afternoons are warm but the nights are chilly. Good for layering. Also good for teaching your sister how to act more like a dude, or when being stabbed by a maniac in a hockey mask.


I always thought Brand from The Goonies was an interesting character, because he’s so clearly a jock – yet the other jocky rich kids hate him. I wonder if any real life jocks who were unpopular with their peers saw this film and had a secret breakdown. We’ll never know, because a jock – unpopular or not – would never admit to such a thing. Bonus points for it being a sleeveless sweatshirt.



Speaking of sleeveless sweatshirts, here’s John Heard from C.H.U.D. Actually, C.H.U.D. delivers a twofer, with a young Daniel Stern popping up to show off his spaghetti strands. Do these two look like the biggest creeps ever, or what? Nice camera, John!


Easily the most creative fashion statement of the whole bunch, only Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds would be able to rock a sleeveless letter jacket and have it still make sense somehow. Plus, who would be brave enough to say otherwise? I bet that thing smells like sweat, stale Coors Light, and Brut.


Steve, Ponyboy, Two-Bit. Almost half of The Outsiders gang prefers a little sun on their shoulders. And a sleeveless Mickey Mouse tee? Truly one of the least threatening-looking groups I’ve ever seen.

And last, but certainly not least:


The entire Cobra Kai. Obviously inspired by their sensei’s fashion choices, the karate squad followed suit by nixing their sleeves as well. This is noticeable because they’re the only team participating in the final tournament without sleeves. It’s a tough look, one that racist ex-Vietnam Vet sensei John Kreese knows will intimidate opponents. But seeing what a lunatic nutbag Kreese is throughout the film – flying off the handle at every little thing – I don’t think it’s the outfit people find intimidating.

Well, that’s all for now friends. Hopefully this read has made the sun seem a little brighter and the air a little bit warmer. But remember: it doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside; when you’re indoors, everyday can be a sleeveless summer.

Dr. Jose’s Favorite 80s Tees


I’m a t-shirt kinda guy. Always have been, probably always will be. Sure, I clean up nice on special occasions, but nothing beats a comfy tee – preferably with some sort of antiquated, obscure, or flat-out offensive message emblazoned upon it. Yep, I’m one of those types who likes a good ol’ vintage t-shirt. They look cool, and plus they fit better!

No decade embraced this fashion choice more than the 1980s, and nowhere was it more noticeable than the various cult films over the years. My love and appreciation of these films is probably why I have such an affinity for weird, wordy, retro tees. Or maybe it’s my love of weird tees that lends itself to my love of flicks from the 80s?

To celebrate my appreciation of these 50/50 cotton-poly blended gems, I’ve compiled a few screenshots of my favorites from various 80s movies. Now this is far from a comprehensive list; just a compilation of the ones I really dig – the ones that stuck with me. They’re listed, as always, in chronological order. Enjoy and lemme know which ones you like!

I wanna start the list with two honorable mentions, actually. Neither are t-shirts exactly (one is sleeveless, the other is a sweatshirt), but I’ll be damned if they aren’t cool as all get out!

Stripes (1981) & Police Academy (1984)


First up is Lori Singer in Footloose (1984). I fully support curse words on t-shirts, especially when it’s embracing a healthy and positive message. Or when it’s just cursing for cursing’s sake.


This next one is a little weird. Not sure if I find it so troubling because I, without hesitation, would take him up on the offer — or if it’s because he wore this to a Halloween party in the real-life drama, Mask (1985). I mean, Cher’s kid Rocky is dying of a super rare disease, and you show up rocking that tee? I guess that’s why nobody puts Sam Elliott in the corner.


This one may be a little hard to see, but this amazing shirt from Aliens (1986) says, “Peace Through Superior Firepower”. Kinda prophetic, ain’t it? Anyway, I wear a size small (or Youth XL) in case any a-you charitable types wanna snag me one.


Oh boy, The Feldster. While Corey Feldman’s personal attire has always been pretty embarrassing — especially during his Michael Jackson phase (1988 – Current) — he’s always been pretty decked out in his movies. Look no further than the film The Lost Boys (1987). I always felt his Edgar Frog character was some distant relative to his Ricky Butler character from the film The ‘Burbs (1989), but that’s another article entirely. Feldman’s hard-to-see shirt says “Why Waltz When You Can Rock & Roll?”, and it’s got an AK-47 on it. Look, I’m no gun nut or anything, but there’s no denying: that is a badass shirt. Again, size small/Youth XL for those reading.


Confession: I own this next shirt. I don’t care if that makes me lame, or wannabe-cool, or a dum-dum or what. Stephen King does, in fact, rule – as does the shirt itself. As does Monster Squad (1987). It’s a win-win-win. Fun fact: I wore this to a horror convention last year and so did one other person — A 50-something grandma type. I still say the shirt is cool.


Poor Martha Dunnstock. Besides the fact that she’s alienated, picked on and given the nickname “Martha Dumptruck”, her short, permed hair is the true tragedy. It’s so painfully 80s. But at least she’s got that awesome Big Fun shirt. Big Fun, of course, being the fictional band that sings the incredibly catchy “Teenage Suicide (Don’t Do It)”, from the film Heathers (1988). Considering Martha walks into traffic shortly after this scene, I don’t think the song worked. (Don’t worry, she lives! Oh, SPOILERS. Sorry.)


This beaut from The Great Outdoors (1988) is just a simple, cool looking shirt. Nothing particularly spectacular about it, but it definitely looks like something you could find in your local thrift store if you dug deep enough. Plus, it’s being sported by the dude who gives Danny his magic ticket in Last Action Hero (1993)!


Okay, so this list didn’t start as a competition, and it’s not intended to be, but these next three characters have to be handled a little differently. There’s no doubt in my mind that they not only are the most memorably-clad of the decade, but that their styles helped influence and solidify the quirky/offensive/wordy t-shirt trend that exists today. Bold statement, sure. But just check these out and tell me I’m way off base.

First up, your friend and mine, Stiles Stilinski from Teen Wolf (1985). The man might not have been the smoothest operator when trying to score a keg from the liquor store, but boy he sure knew how to wear a t-shirt. Let’s take a look:


“What Are You Looking At Dicknose”, “Life Sucks Then You Die”, and “Obnoxious: The Movie”. Classics. I know “Dicknose” is a crowd favorite, but – while it does have a nice ring to it – I gotta say my favorite is “Obnoxious: The Movie”. It’s a head-scratcher, which gives it that extra edge. T-shirts should do one of three things: educate, offend, or confuse. If you wear one that can do all three, hell, you’re doing it right. And don’t it look great on that robin’s egg blue shirt?

Next up is probably my favorite character from an 80s comedy, hands down: Dudley “Booger” Dawson, from Revenge of the Nerds (1984). I don’t want to say he’s a direct influence on my wardrobe/personality, because he’s such a scumbag. But I also don’t want to say he’s not, because then I’d be lying.

If Stiles was the high school version of the lame-o who thinks he’s hotshit, Booger is definitely the college version. But what Booger lacks in hygiene and charm he makes up for in amazing t-shirts. Check ‘em:


“Gimme’ Head Till I’m Dead”, “High On Stress”, “Who Farted?”, and “Greasy Tony’s”. First off, “Who Farted?” is timeless. Secondly, tell me that “Greasy Tony’s” shirt isn’t one you’d see hawked at some store in the mall. And “Gimme’ Head”? I mean, the man is a fashion icon. If you’re a scumbag and you know it, clap your hands *clap, clap*

However, despite his extensive and awe-inspiring collection, Booger is not the ultimate t-shirt idol of the 80s. That honor actually goes to Val Kilmer’s Chris Knight character in Real Genius (1985). While not as offensive as I like, they’re all still really cool. Some may be hard to read, but I’ll go through them:


“International Order For Gorillas”, “Roy Rogers Olympic Games 1984″, “Summer Games 1984″, “Surf Nicaragua”, “I (heart) Toxic Waste”.

Now, I’m not sure on the history of all these shirts, but the word is that Val Kilmer was friends with Roy Rogers and eventually bought his house, so that may have something to do with the Roy Rogers shirt. But why “Roy Rogers Olympic Games 1984″? Remember: it’s important to confuse. The other shirts are just as bewildering and colorful, and one was apparently popular enough to pop up in another film: “Summer Games 1984″, which shows a runner in a gas mask, carrying a torch, smoggy Los Angeles in the background — that shirt also made an appearance in Repo Man (1984). That’s gotta be a first, right? And “I (heart) Toxic Waste”? Forget about it.

Well, that concludes my list of favorite t-shirts from 80s movies. Although I didn’t include Chainsaw from Summer School (1987). He had a couple really cool tees in that film. As did Billy from Big (1988).

Looks like it’s time to start working on a second list.