College gear is pretty much the best kind of gear out there. But you know what's even better? Vintage college gear.
There are plenty of places to buy vintage – or retro, if you prefer – apparel showing off your support for one of America's fine institutions of higher learning, but I'm here to make a case for just a handful. And not even that really; I'm here to make the case for three.
Whether you're a Wolverine, Black Bear, Ragin' Cajun or some other thing that's probably not as cool (but I forgive you anyway), you may want to peruse the wares of one of these online retailers for your next collegiate purchase.
If you're looking for...
...real deal vintage sweaters: Hillflint, hillflint.com
The brainchild of two twenty-somethings – one who graduated from Dartmouth in 2012, the other from Princeton in the same year – who set out to help you "break up with your college hoodie" shortly after earning their degrees, Hillflint now partners with 120 universities across the country to bring you college gear with an identity. It's an identity looking to encapsulate the college experience, one that helps you say, "Yeah, that's what it's all about." Comes in a little pricey, but the products are said to last long, knit by craftsmen using the "softest, most durable yarns."
...a smorgasbord of rad T-shirts: The Original Retro Brand, originalretrobrand.com
Started by a University of Arizona alum while he was still in college in 1982, the Original Retro Brand offers an array of super-soft tees bearing classic logos from a wide range of universities, including the givens (like Alabama, Duke, and Oklahoma) and the not-so-well-known (Bridgewater State, Rollins College). You would be remiss if you didn't check out their collection of classic Final Four tees. In addition to sports and university apparel, Retro Brand also offers clothing lines centered around Marvel Comics, MGM Movie Studios, and General Motors, to name a few.
...all things Michigan-related: The Mitten State, themittenstate.com
The state of Michigan, that is. Offering gear featuring 19 universities and colleges across the Great Lakes State, including Aquinas College, University of Detroit-Mercy, Michigan Tech and more, The Mitten State is a Michigan-fueled online retailer ready to help you represent your in-state school. The people in charge over there say their products tell the story of Michigan, its history, its people, its places. And they sure do design some sexy looking stuff. If you're all in for (the state of) Michigan, get yourself to their website.