Hawaiian Shirts, Shop Shirts & T-Shirts, Oh My!

As I looked through our closet the other day it dawned on me that (a) we really have a lot of clothing and (b) I’ve clearly gone through phases.

For example, I’ve got a mid-80’s Coogi sweater collection and a Pendleton wool shirt collection from the late 80’s/early 90’s that don’t see much use here in Georgia. There’s my Big Dog Hawaiian shirt collection from the mid-2000’s , a Harley shop shirt collection from 2011 and then there are the T-shirt collections.

My first T-shirt collection is sitting in the attic and was created between 1984 and 1990 when I was racing Hobie Cat sailboats in Southern California just about every other weekend: attend a regatta get a T-shirt. There is also a Georgia cycling event collection that we amassed when attending Metric & Full Century rides from 1991 through 2000, after which tandem rallies displaced the charity rides. Very few of the charity ride and tandem rally shirts made it into the permanent collection despite attending well over 100 such events because the shirts were usually pretty unattractive, i.e., big pieces of art on the front. Yeah, not a fan of that. I prefer the small logo on the left breast or a small breast pocket with the major artwork on the back. So, our kids have a lot of the cycling event and tandem rally shirts and the rest are either splattered with paint or have gone on to rag heaven.

When it comes to “brand name” T-shirts for cars, boats, bicycles, motorcycles, sports teams, etc., I think I may have only owned one or two Honda shirts during the 33 years that I owned and rode Honda sport bikes and I still haven’t owned a BMW Motorad shirt as I move into my 7th year as an owner. No automotive brands either and maybe one or two cycling-related branding shirts.  However, the move to the Harley-Davidson in 2011 brought with it a torrent of Harley-Davidson T-shirts: apparently it’s like a disease.

Many of them were picked up at dealers during my various travels (e.g., Classic, Mike’s Famous, Peterson’s, Horne’s, Unicoi, Iron Horse, Racing’s, PCB and the Georgia & Tennessee dealers), some came from vendors when I purchased things (e.g., Fullsac) and the more recent acquisitions were all picked up on eBay for nearly nothing. This second wave of eBay T-shirt acquisitions came after Debbie informed me the shirts from 2011 and 2012 just looked too large after I’d dropped a few pounds and she preferred me in more form-fitting T-shirts: who was I to ignore that. If nothing else, I learned not to buy the darn things at retail: $5.00 – $18.00 on eBay was the norm in case you’re curious.  Well, that and the local dealer offerings are either not available in my size (small) or have changed names / have art that just doesn’t rock my world.

Just for kicks I decided to plot the original source for each of my Harley T-shirts and, as you might expect, I think I can easily say I have more than enough. Again, more than ½ of my Harley shirts are now “retired” since they’re too large; here’s hoping they stay retired!


Yeah, it’s quite an interesting map and there are some odd-balls in the collection. But, some of them have a story. For instance, the Harley-Davidson York Operations open house shirt for 2013 is an homage to our 2013 Road King, which was assembled in the York, PA, plant in 2013. The Powertrain Operations facility in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, is where the motors for both of our bikes were produced. I was born in Reading, PA, which is where one of the Classic H-D’s is located and I lived in Chicago for several years. Some of the shirts I found on eBay were bought as bucket list destinations (e.g., Laconia & Kauai) and others just because I liked the shirt (Red + Cowboy’s, Austin, TX & Pin-Up Girl from Timpanogos, Lindon, UT).

Anyway, I think I have enough T-shirts at this point.


About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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