Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tee-Cember: Holiday Hot List 2009

Hark, the herald Adders sing! Glory to the newborn tees! Or at least, welcome to our yearly Christmas list for you holiday shoppers out there. As last year, we figure any site can list hot sellers, shops begging for promo time, and themed lists, so we're catering to that most underserved of markets: your friendly neighborhood Adder. These ten tees are on my personal list, and if you have a dashing, daring, XL-wearing tee fan on your list, you'd do well to check it out. Especially if it's me.

1. Wet and Windy (Shirt.woot): As last year, I felt it was worth it to put out the hunt for a long out of print Woot tee. Last year, dreams came true, and I now own an Avocado Man of my own. This year, the search is on for Wet and Windy, a piece I fell in love with far too long after its departure. I don't expect my luck to hold out, but if the spirit of the holidays prevails (and probably if people insist they believe in fairies) perhaps a Christmas miracle will get one in my hands in 2010.

2. Between the Eyes (Threadless): The greatest thing about Threadless sales is Selects at incredible prices, but that means that eventually, there's so much great stuff in your cart that something doesn't make the cut. This tee is one of them, languishing behind despite it's big, bold graphic, quirky yet classic concept, and smart use of CMYK (allowing the colors to pop instead of hit you over the head with a weak print joke).

3. Caution (Red) (Supermandolini, shown left): Besides the obvious things drawing me to this shirt (seriously, I feel like I cannot get more self-parodic sometimes), I am in love with the flow of the illustration making its home on this tee, and more so with the smart placement, allowing for a strong double-take when you see what's just over the shoulder. Part of it's also the subject matter... sometimes we need a shirt that truly shows off who we are. Total class, and a tee I've desired for a while.

4. Digfoot (Enclothe): A big and bizarre print with an epic "fun" quotient. I love the character highlighted here, with his loosely drawn body (the way only half the lines ever seem to connect is very appealing when you notice it) and his funhouse-mirror predicament. This is the sort of thing a great one-color tee should be made of... the ink is visible and tasteful against the tee, and the graphic is unique enough that more color is hardly needed.

5. Time (302 Designs): Something about this piece has stuck with me ever since I first saw it (sold out and more expensive). The pose of the graphic seems to be on the defense, blocking an implicit vulnerability. The colors pop on the tee itself. The graphic feels classic and weathered, as the image should portray. I even love the brief text incorporated into the piece: "Time, may I be provided the strength to one day understand you." It's just wise enough to not be cliché, and it makes the piece feel almost personal.

6. Vulpes (Design by Humans, shown right): This graphic simply lures me in... its colors are murky as midnight, and the graphic itself is hypnotic... the fox featured here is not only mutated to start with, with it's multiple legs and tails (the creature is more of a Rorshack test than a true animal), but the base in the back of the same graphic, 180'd and painted in purple, helps make the whole piece truly hypnotising. Creative, unique, and a must-have.

7. The Coral Castles Tee (Paper Root Clothing): We just brought Paper Root into the blog last week, but this is the tee that made me fall in love. It's nothing too complex, just coral textures on a particularly sweet looking heather gray blank, with some geometric elements. It's very hipster, and hits on many chords of what's popular right now, but it's hard to deny how GOOD the whole thing comes out looking. Of the pieces we're featuring here, this is probably the one I'm most apt to grab after the holidays.

8. Ostrich Egg (HaHa Press): There's something about bird skeletons, or really all animal skeletons, that draws me in to a design, and this one is all the more irresistible not only for the life vs. death motif the feathers and egg give, but for the vibrant colors making the whole shebang eye-delicious.

9. Stop (Fullbleed): Rob Dobi of Fullbleed is probably the king of indie tee lines, given the amount of iconic designs he's put out, and the distinctive style his work has. It's a style that, to be honest, I've usually been left a bit cold by, but the more I see Stop, whether for it's great placement, smart use of minimal colors, or simply that his shadowy style is sans human silhouettes in this piece, the more I am simply drawn to it. I figure it's about time... what shirt connoisseur can truly go without a Fullbleed in their closet?

10. Octophant Polo (Resist Today, shown left): Perhaps it's time for something classier? The Octophant polo is absolutely gorgeous color-wise... the blacks and golds shine against the rich cranberry blank, the graphic itself, with trunk and tentacles writhing along, is intriguing and flows amazingly, and the placement, coming at us from around the side, is something I love to see... it helps keep things fresh. But to have all that on an AA polo shirt for the price of a regular tee? I just don't see how a boy could resist.

Of course, we do suggest that if you want a gift guide, this whole blog is technically just that. Especially check out our Contest Watch updates for choice ideas. And don't forget, sometimes it's nice to add new people to your list. Wink wink.

No comments: