People don’t have to know the bands they’re wearing


Emmalee Martyak

Music madness! Seventh graders Leah Bolvin, Haleigh Martyak and Ava Miller are just some of the students that wear band shirts frequently. Bands like System of a Down, Nirvana and AC/DC are just some of the bands that many people wear.

Recently, I was shopping at Hot Topic, looking at a David Bowie shirt that had the cover of his album, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” on the front. A man I don’t know and his daughter were standing next to me. She picked up a Nirvana shirt, and he made a comment.

“You shouldn’t be wearing the shirt of a band you can’t even name a single song from,” and then he looked at me.

 I wear band shirts pretty frequently, so I’m fairly used to being asked about them. I’m still awkward about it though.

 “A David Bowie shirt?” he said. “Do you even listen to him?”

 I do listen to David Bowie. I did not feel like talking to him, so I just nodded. 

“Then ,what’s your favorite song?”

 Honestly, I don’t really have a favorite, so I just told him my favorite was “Moonage Daydream” and kept looking through shirts. He seemed satisfied with my answer and looked back at his daughter, and said something along the lines of,

 “See, she knows about what she’s wearing.” 

I didn’t really care at first, but the more I thought about it, the more it made me wonder why people care so much. 

As someone with a passion for music, a large portion of my closet is dedicated to my collection of band tees. All of the shirts I have are for bands I know and love, but I know not everyone that wears band shirts actually knows the band. There’s a good chance if I go shopping and see someone my age in a Sublime shirt, they don’t actually listen to Sublime. However, there’s also a good chance someone my parents’ age has stopped to ask them about their favorite Sublime song.  

Like many things, clothes are a form of self expression. But what exactly are people wearing band tees expressing? They could be expressing their interest in a band, but they could also be expressing their interest in what’s trendy.

 A lot of bands, like AC/DC, Queen, The Rolling Stones and many more have been radio played for decades and are familiar to many people, and therefore have a fairly large fan base. But they also have recognizable logos and/or album covers that are often put on shirts. So, shirts with bands like these advertised on them are often popular buys and are more commonly seen. 

Because of the large fan bases of bands like these, it is likely that there are people across different generations that are familiar with these bands, and similarities between people often serve as good talking points when starting conversations. So, if someone is trying to create small talk with someone wearing a band tee shirt and learns that they aren’t actually familiar with the band they’re wearing, they may be disappointed. 

However, many people seem to take that to another level, trying to turn it into an opportunity for them to explain why they disagree with what someone else is choosing to wear, where they could’ve just said nothing. While it may not be as common, people also wear shirts with smaller, less radio played bands on them. Usually, if people come across someone wearing a shirt of a band they’ve never heard of, or a band that they’ve never seen on a shirt before, they’ll assume the person they’re talking to is truly a fan of that band. And while this may be the case sometimes, it isn’t always. If they choose to bring this up in conversation, they should still be willing to accept that it’s not up to them what other people wear.

It doesn’t matter what people choose to wear, they should be able to express themselves however they want without getting comments on it. Whether you express yourself  through your interests in music or fashion is up to you and nobody else.