Whether you have your own collection of vintage t-shirts from your past, or you like to purchase them from secondhand retailers, maintaining the timeworn fabric requires a bit more TLC than their newer counterparts. Since the older material may be more delicate, you'll need to clean and store the t-shirts with a gentle touch.

Your t-shirt collection may reflect all of the concerts you went to in your younger years, or the bands you liked, and can be celebrated and worn in the present day. The t-shirts may also showcase your love of certain movies, TV shows, food and beverage brands, places, and attractions.

When it comes to styling the classic shirts, your options are almost limitless. You can pair them with jeans, jeggings, or denim shorts for a cool, casual appeal, or with a floral-printed or plaid skirt as a on-trend, mixed-pattern look. Just make sure some of the colors in the t-shirt match the skirt designs to keep the combination cohesive. You can add an edgy touch by topping the shirt with either a real or faux leather jacket.

Most vintage t-shirts are made of 100-percent cotton or a cotton and polyester blend, making them easier to care for than some other type of older fabrics, such as silk or chiffon. Following are some tips for for cleaning and maintaining your wearable relics from the past:

Washing and Drying 

While you can simply throw modern cotton t-shirts into the washer and dryer, vintage t-shirts require more patience. If the shirt features intricate detailing, such as rhinestones or beadwork, or a screen-printed design on the front, turn it inside out to protect it. 

Consider hand-washing t-shirts that have fabric that has thinned over time, as they're especially susceptible to rips and tears. For vintage shirts in good condition, wash them on your machine's delicate cycle in cool or cold water using a mild detergent. Avoid using any harsh cleaners or bleach, which can damage the fibers. 

Either air-dry the t-shirt by hanging it or laying it flat, or use your dryer's low heat temperature setting. Avoid ironing it, as the high heat can ruin the fabric. 

Maintaining and Storing

Repair any small holes or rips in the t-shirt as soon as possible using a needle and thread or a sewing machine. If you don't close the tears right away, they can snag on something and get even bigger.

Store the vintage shirts in a humidity-free space away from direct sunlight, and hang them on wooden or padded hangers to avoid unsightly stretch marks on the shoulders.