The desire to belong is a universal one. All of us want to form bonds with like-minded individuals. Buying and wearing movie shirts is a way to identify oneself as part of a group and connect with other fans. Wearing a shirt with a Star Wars or Marvel reference, for example, helps us to find others with the same interests at Comic Con, among friends, and even among strangers. Movie shirts have a social aspect to them: they invite commentary from others.
A movie shirt displays one’s personal affiliation with and knowledge of a series. It reinforces our loyalty either to a franchise or individual movie, and among subgroups of fans – for instance, other people who also like Captain America. And at the midnight premiere of the sixth Harry Potter movie, for example, the crowds of people who wore shirts that said Dumbledore’s Army displayed to other Harry Potter fans that they knew the plot of the fifth movie and were well prepared for what came next.
Wearing a movie shirt also can display our own unique bond to a movie, especially if it focuses on a specific character or obscure reference. These types of movie shirts also invite social commentary, particularly from other members of the same fan subgroup: only other devoted fans will also get the reference. Wearing a Lord of the Rings shirt with the One Ring on it might not be familiar to the casual observer, but another fan will know what you’re talking about.
Buying a movie shirt can be a social experience. To buy clothes, most people either go with a friend to the store or buy one online, and then post about it on Facebook or Instagram. Buying movie shirts is especially social: we are more likely to only go shopping with friends who are also fans of that movie. Posting about your movie shirt online strengthens your tie to the online fan community. When we post about a shirt on social media, and use hashtags, this enable users looking for content about that movie to find a fellow fan.
Movie shirts come in several varieties and are suited to every taste and budget: shirts with holograms, movie logos, character prints, or patterns; replica shirts based on ones worn in the movie; and more. There are many places to buy the movie shirt you’re looking for. These include local specialty stores, major retailers, and e-commerce stores.
Local specialty stores are a great way to find others in the fan community: a store owner who has an extensive knowledge of that movie or franchise, dating back to the first movie, can help you find what you’re looking for. Major retailers have a plethora of options to satisfy both hardcore and casual fans, and draw in new ones. E-commerce stores reinforce your affiliation with the online fan community, especially after you post your purchase on social media. No matter what movie you’re a fan of, there is a shopping option to satisfy your movie shirt needs.