Who Should be Allowed to Wear Band Tees?

How big of a fan do you have to be before you’re allowed announce your fandom to the world with an awesome band tee? Everyone will give you different answers, but most will say that you have to have heard at least three of the band’s songs before it’s okay to sport their symbol in public. Well, I’m going to tell you the real number of songs you need to know before you can buy a band’s shirt. Can you guess what it is?


It’s zero!


While it may be a little awkward to admit you aren’t a fan in front of an eager fan who walks up to you to geek out, you’re certainly allowed to wear whatever you think looks cool. You might want to be familiar with a least a couple songs just in case someone tries to chat with you about the band, but do not by any means feel compelled to conform to other people’s idea of what a “true fan” is.

Now, I know that many of you may be screaming angrily right now, insisting that it’s just not okay to wear a band’s shirt unless you’re a huge fan. It’s almost like telling a boldfaced lie, isn’t it? It’s an insult to the artist to pretend that you love them when in fact you only listen to their one hit on the radio, right?

2You might feel that way, but policing other people’s wardrobe choices over something as silly as what they like to listen to (or not listen to) is far more trouble than it’s worth. To be frank, it’s really not even something you should be angry about. By all means, declare your love for your favorite band with shirts, buttons, stickers- you name it! But don’t forbid someone from using those items just because she’s heard two of their songs and you’ve heard twenty.

3Now, before you say that I just don’t understand your frustration because I’ve clearly never been a big fan of anyone, let me tell you this: I absolutely love my favorite band, Poets of the Fall. I have every single one of their songs (including covers) and download new albums in their entirety without reservation. That’s how sure I am that I’ll like everything they do! Big fan that I am, I would be just as pleased to see one of the band members wearing their symbol as I would someone who had never heard their music before but just liked how the shirt looked. It really isn’t that big a deal to me; nor should it be to you.

4As long as the shirt is from an officially licensed merchandiser, your favorite band will get something from the purchase. It may be only pennies, but they’ll get something. How is it a bad thing for a casual fan or non-fan to help out your favorite artist, even in just the tiniest way? And, furthermore, whenever they wear the shirt, they become a walking billboard for the band! Most devoted fans are more than happy to do a little bit of advertising for an artist they admire, but why do there have to be rules about who’s allowed to do that advertising?

5 6

So if you love a band, wear their shirt. If you like a band, wear their shirt. If you listen to a band’s hits but can’t be bothered to check them out further, wear their shirt. If used to love a band but don’t really like their new sound, wear their shirt. If you went with your BFF to see her favorite band (whom you’re not crazy about) and got a shirt just to be a good sport, wear it. If you were just walking around Hot Topic or the thrift store or a yard sale and found a really cool shirt from a band you’ve never heard of, by all means wear it and don’t feel obligated to look up and listen to the band before you put it on.

7For Pete’s sake, it’s a fandom, not a religion! I understand why you’d be upset if you saw a non-Catholic wearing a rosary, or a non-Hindu wearing an Om, as it can be sad to see someone wear such an important symbol without giving it the respect it deserves. But band symbols don’t carry so much weight. Bands are here to entertain us; that’s what they get paid for! They got into the music business to make art and money, and what’s it to them if you’re a casual fan or a super fan, as long as someone appreciates and buys what they create? Chances are, the band doesn’t want their fans getting elitist or exclusionary; all they want to do is create something for people to love.

So the next time you find yourself scowling when someone wears a band tee just for the look of it, or worrying about getting criticized for wearing the logo of a band you’re only casually interested in, just take a deep breath and don’t fret! It’s not your business what other people wear, and it’s not other people’s business what you wear. Let’s all save our energy for something a little more important, shall we? After all, why get angry about something that’s supposed to make you feel good?


Written by: Rachel Manning

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