Unlike any other garment, the T-shirt lets you wear a message on your chest. But unless you’re going for James Dean in a plain white tee, sometimes that message is bound to offend — especially as brands from Abercrombie & Fitch to American Apparel to Ed Hardy and beyond see just how far their graphics can push the envelope. It's no coincidence, of course, that the band T-shirts of the eighties gave way to graphic-logo mania in the nineties, and, along with it, the Internet rose to prominence as the place where those upset at racist, sexist, and otherwise offensive tees could call for boycotts. Billions of T-shirts are sold every year. Everyone owns at least one of them. But despite their undeniable simplicity in structure and purpose, sometimes their execution — whether rendered in crystals or dirty words — gets a bit complicated. Herewith, the 50 shirts that set off the biggest firestorms in (recent) history.
The Obama FamilyCritics’ Pick
Photo: Christie Goodwin/Getty Images
% Agree View the Top 100
Date Miley Cyrus by Dressing Exactly Like Her
Kim and Kanye Deny Versailles Wedding
Jessica Hart, Kim, Kanye & More at Art Basel
- Date Miley Cyrus by Dressing Exactly Like Her
- Kim and Kanye Deny Versailles Wedding
- Jessica Hart, Kim, Kanye & More at Art Basel
- Best Bet: Hive and Honey Military Twill Pants
- Cressida Bonas’s Baby Book: What Does It Mean?
- Who Knows What Men Want on OkCupid?
- Is Sex a Workout?
- ‘Hard-Wired’ Sex Differences Are Meaningless
- Adam Levine Doesn’t Brush His Teeth
- Lena Dunham and Judy Blume Talk Sixth-Grade Lies
- Meet Naja, the Do-Good Lingerie Line
- Dame Edna, Bearer of Holiday Cheer
- Ms. Blue Ivy Carter, Too Cool for Pre-School
- Happy Birthday, Jeff Bridges!
- Famous Person Dares to Wear Dress More Than Once