Custom Ink News & Events

T-shirts of the Decade – The 2010s

As the 2010s come to an end, we thought it was the perfect time to reflect on the past decade and the t-shirts it gave us. There were sure some ups and downs, strong political opinions, and a focus on women, black lives, and the fight for the future. Luckily, there were also some great light-hearted memes turned tees that made us love and hate the Internet all over again–we’re looking at you, Baby Shark. So whether you’re looking for the perfect commemorative t-shirt to wear into the 20s, or just want a nice wave of nostalgia, check out Custom Ink’s T-shirts of the Decade: 2010s Edition below.

The future is female

You’ve probably seen this shirt all over the place in recent years. It’s a term that came back this decade as a memento of feminism, but actually has roots back to the 1970s. We’ve seen it used for women’s marches, sororities, friend groups, and more.

Keep calm and carry on

keep calm and ask mom t-shirt
Keep calm and carry on isn’t a new saying, but we sure saw it all over t-shirts this decade. While there were some trademark battles over the term in 2012, it’s become more widely used in pop culture and by groups for weddings, vacations, and schools. A “keep calm and ask mom” tee is the perfect example of how people have made the saying their own.

Black lives matter

One of the biggest movements of the decade, Black Lives Matter tees have popped up everywhere since it began in 2013. There are many styles for this tee but one of the most common and classic is a black shirt with white lettering.


It seems like everyone speaks emoji going into 2020, and we’ve see emoji t-shirts rise in popularity, too! We even have lots of emojis available as art in our Design Lab. Whether you’re expressing your emotions or are saying that something is 100, emoji shirts are great for anyone.


Are you so basic? Then a #basic tee is for you. This term has gotten so popular, whether you’re being basic with pride or trying to avoid being basic. We love it on a tee with a simple “basic” design.

Baby shark

Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo! Who can’t sing this cult favorite song by now? Babies, teens, and adults everywhere can’t escape the phenomenon. And we’ve seen the t-shirts to prove how beloved it is. Not only are “baby shark” tees on the rise, but so are mommy, daddy, and shark shirts for the whole family.

Climate change is real

Another popular topic of the 2010s was climate change. From political platforms to grassroots rallies, people are talking about the Earth–and wearing climate change t-shirts to show their stance. Climate change is real tees are all over, and we love this design with bubbly letters because of the retro vibes.

Captain America

You know this design when you see it–white star, red and white rings. This is also on our Most Iconic T-shirts of All Time list–and for good reason. Everyone knows the shield. It’s even more of a classic now that the Avengers ended their run in 2019.

Love is love

Love is love is a term we’ve been seeing on social media, in speeches, and on shirts. Whether it’s a simple “love is love” design or a longer version of the saying like on this tee. We’ve seen it with colorful letters, often rainbow, in support of pride movements.


You only live once, so get yourself a YOLO tee. The term YOLO blew up in 2012 thanks to rapper Drake. It was even a nominee for the 2012 Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society. We’ve seen this saying on tees all over the country.


Popularized by The Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper, Bazinga shirts gained popularity this decade. We love that his comic genius is immortalized in cotton–especially since the series wrapped up in 2019.


Whether you think mom life is the best life, or that mommy needs a nap, too, mom tees are all the rage lately. More than ever we’ve seen moms showing off their mom pride with tees that include funny mom quotes or share the realities of motherhood–like this “tired as a mother” tee.

Straight Outta

One of the shirts we see most as the decade comes to a close? “Straight outta” tees. Popularized by the movie Straight Outta Compton in 2015, this boxed design is used for schools, sports teams, reunions–and often for graduating classes.

Animal parents

We’d say animal parents give moms a run for their money when it comes to wearing their pride on a t-shirt. Dog moms and cat dads everywhere are designing shirts to show off how much they love their furry family members. From “who rescued who” shirts to fun quotes about dogs and cats, animal parent shirts are super popular nowadays.

Great again

While it’s probably one of the most polarizing sayings of the decade, “make _____ great again” shirts are everywhere you look. We often see the term used by groups who make it their own–like “make Mondays great again” or even for holidays like “make Thanksgiving great again.”


You’ve probably seen this “list” shirt everywhere in recent years—it’s formally known as the Helvetica shirt. This is the perfect sort of tee to customize in our Design Lab for any of event and occasion. Whether you’re listing your kids or your favorite pizza toppings, this is one of our favorite t-shirts to see people make their own.

Stranger Things

The popular Netflix series Stranger Things has been everywhere since it debuted in 2016. Everyone is using this red Stranger Things logo as art inspiration on their tees–for businesses, events, or school groups like this “senior things” shirt.


Y’all have loved your wine in the 2010s, because we see a lot of wine-themed t-shirts. Tees with wine phrases became popular in the later part of the decade, with wine quotes like this “9 to wine” shirt. They’re popular as gifts for the wine enthusiast in your life or for groups like bachelorette parties and 30th birthdays.


Friends may have gone off the air in 2004, but we saw a huge revival of the iconic “Friends” logo this decade. It’s everywhere from pillows, stickers, and yes, t-shirts. Sororities and graduating classes love to customize it by adding in their own unique take on the famous, “I’ll be there for you.”


Apparently all those wine t-shirt wearers are washing down some tacos–because taco tees are all the rage going into 2020. Whether you’re more of a “taco ’bout it” shirt than “feed me tacos” fan, showing your love for tacos is the form of a tee is hotter than ever.

Did we miss your favorite t-shirt of the decade? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Custom Ink does not sell or print all of the t-shirts pictured in this post. This is meant solely for social commentary, entertainment purposes, and fun!

Kate wants her work to impact the little but important moments in people’s lives—like birthdays, anniversaries, and family celebrations. She loves coming up with witty copy that might inspire someone to create an awesome t-shirt!

Start Designing
View Comments
There are currently no comments.

Leave a Comment