Spotlight On: Subtle Merch

Photo from mustardyardpress on

They say you are what you wear, but how can you represent your interests without it being obvious? We all have favorite artists and television shows and would love to share that with the world, but sometimes you want to wear something a little more subtle than those default logos or designs.

On top of that, sometimes official merch just… isn’t cute. Luckily, Etsy is here to save the day, and the artists on their website have created some of the best merch disguised as everyday fashion!

Movies & TV Merch
Herbology Plants Sweatshirt Magic Wizard Witchcraft School image 1
Photo posted by LizbethStoreFL on

Some of the earliest proponents of the subtle merch trend were fans of the “Harry Potter” series on TikTok. With such a detailed world, casual references are aplenty, resulting in some really cool designs, like this dark arts style and the above herbology crewneck (which blends easily with a popular style found in stores like Urban Outfitters now).

Fans of the MCU are no stranger to sneaky references, so this “WandaVision” reference disguised as one of those collegiate block letter sweatshirts should be right up your alley!

In a similar vein, many of us started as fans of “The Vampire Diaries,” and whether we’d like to admit it or not, would kill to live in Mystic Falls. Well, now you can pretend you do, with this adorable crewneck.

Music Merch
cowboy like me evermore sweatshirt . taylor swift forever is image 1
Photo posted by GhostlyScene on

Music is one of the most diverse discussion points in college, but everybody is sure to find something they like on SELFFIXATED’s shop. Their products are embroidered sweatshirts and crewnecks featuring artists ranging anywhere from Mac Miller to Frank Ocean to Niall Horan. Look a little closer and you’ll even find references to popular movies and TV shows like “Coraline” and “Gilmore Girls.”

If you’re like us here at VALLEY and remember a time when loving Taylor Swift wasn’t cool, you might be looking for a way to represent her music without calling too much attention to your love. Well, you’re in luck, thanks to obscure lyrical references! This “forever is the sweetest con” crewneck is the perfect example — it looks like something you’d see on the racks at Urban Outfitters, and the Etsy shop has plenty of other choices too.

If you just search “Harry Styles merch” on Etsy (or really any artist of your choice), there are far too many results for us to cover in one article — happy shopping!

Other Merch
Camp Half-Blood Tote Bag  Percy Jackson image 2
Photo posted by TayMasDesigns on

Many of us Penn State students know fashion is one of the most important parts of a game day. But what do you do with your clothes once you have no more games to go to? Luckily, you always have the option of this generic “game day” hoodie, which you can wear to every sport (and really any team with similar colors)! And if that’s not your vibe, searching “Penn State merch” on Etsy provides very fruitful results.

BiblioStylesCo on Etsy just came out with the cutest merch based on books — like this “Red, White & Royal Blue” sweatshirt, but they have a plethora of cute One Direction crewnecks too!

Who says merch needs to be wearable? One of the best forms of subtlety can come from not wearing something on your chest. Try a tote bag, like this “Percy Jackson” one from TayMasDesigns, or a nice new mug that you can enjoy in the privacy of your own home, like this one from OhDangItsAmanda (who also sells shirts with each outfit from HSLOT, by the way).

Trust us, the world is your oyster on Etsy — just go exploring for some new merch. And don’t forget to tag us, @VALLEYmag, on Instagram with your favorite purchase!


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