Everyone has their own guilty pleasure t-shirt. Whether it’s a band tee from middle school or a Zelda shirt you just bought last week, we all love the graphic tee because it lets us show off our interests (and as I always say style is a reflection of you!). But, when you’re rocking the same jeans and tee 7 days a week, it can stifle your sense of style. Luckily, being stylish doesn’t mean you can’t let your nerd flag fly. Games, movies and TV shows can be very influential on fashion trends, and there are other ways of showing off your favorite game other than having the main character’s face plastered across your chest.
The simplest way to upgrade your wardrobe is to turn your graphic tees into graphic button-downs! A quick online search will reveal plenty of retailers who sell button-down, collared shirts in prints that subtly reference popular games and movies. Super Hero Stuff is one such online retailer that has a collection of Marvel-themed button-downs with allover prints depicting the Arc Reactor, the Punisher’s skull, and even Captain America himself. What I love about these shirts is that the Superhero logos are made into small, allover prints that look normal from far away, but upon closer inspection are recognizable as Marvel symbols.
ThinkGeek is popular for anything nerdy from electronics to collectibles, but they also have some geek chic styles to amp up your wardrobe. I really like the Star Wars Empire and Marvel SHIELD logo dress shirts. Their simple designs make them easy to style and dress up for more formal occasions. They also have a large collection of polos featuring Star Trek, Zelda, World of Warcraft, and Doctor Who!
Looking for something to wear to the Founder’s Day Ball? Check out Fun.com, an officially licensed retailer for Marvel and DC-themed clothing. The coolest part? They sell full suits inspired by Marvel and DC heroes and villains. The suits range from “Secret Identity,” which include suits with superhero patterns on the lining, to “Authentic,” which are essentially replicas of suits worn by popular villains.
As a rule of thumb, a more stylish approach to fashion inspired by nerd culture is to look for pieces with subtle references than those explicitly depicting games and movies. The clothes I’ve mentioned above do this by accenting plain clothing with superhero logos or symbols or by shrinking these logos into smaller patterns. Clothes like those featured in the Hot Topic x Her Universe collection take a different approach by creating pieces inspired not by popular characters themselves but by the clothes they wear. The Her Universe collections are specifically for girls and sold at Hot Topic. Some of the pieces can be a little too in-your-face with the styling, but others, like the Phasma Leather Jacket, are a nice blend of nerdy and wearable.
If you would rather leave your clothes free of Storm Trooper helmets and Death Stars, you can still channel your inner nerd through accessories. Macy’s has a number of really fun Star Wars ties, and ThinkGeek sells cuff links with characters from Batman to Portal. Replica jewelry is another great option for accessories that might appear normal to people you meet everyday, but will be especially appreciated by fellow nerds who recognize the designs. For example, I’m obsessed with the official Lord of the Rings WB shop. You can buy a sterling silver replica of Aragorn’s ring or necklace, or a bracelet or ring inspired by Arwen’s evenstar. I have the bracelet because it looks like any fancy piece of jewelry but I know that it’s not!
No one ever said fashion couldn’t be fun. These are just a few ways you can bring your favorite movies, shows, and games into a stylish outfit for the street, the office or a dressy occasion. I would love to see more clothing taking inspiration from the characters and stories we love while still keeping style in mind. After all, most of those characters have a pretty good sense of fashion themselves!