The Best Of Your Vintage Penn State Apparel: Part Three

In the third and final segment of our vintage apparel series, we showcase the last batch of your favorite Penn State keepsakes. For our finale, we’re featuring some of the strangest, most romantic, and most memorable submissions from your Nittany Lion brethren.
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Mark Jewell purchased all of these shirts as a Penn State student before he graduated in 1987.


Olivia Marcks is currently a junior at Penn State. This 1987 Fiesta Bowl sweatshirt is reminder of how her parents, who are also Penn Staters, met for the first time. “My parents met at Penn State during the Miami Orange Bowl in 1986 on New Years Eve. They graduated in 1987 and now have three children that are also Penn Staters. My mom gave me these two crew necks when I got my acceptance letter. My sister graduated from PSU in 2015, I’m (hopefully) graduating in 2018 and my brother 2020. I’ve obviously added some well deserved stains to these crewnecks but I still get compliments every time I wear them!”

Marcks also noticed something a little odd about the sweatshirt. “My roommates and I also have had endless arguments trying to figure out if the Oklahoma wagon in the hand of the player on the Orange Bowl sweatshirt was purposely made to look exactly like a penis…we all agree it is.”

Joyce Turner of the class of 1992 danced in THON two years in a row, representing the Penn State York campus in 1988 and dancing independently in 1989 after she came to University Park. Although she didn’t get to choose the slogan on her shirt the first year she danced, she got the chance to create her own caption for her second year as a dancer — when Coors became the first corporate sponsor of THON.

Gina White got this T-shirt in 1991, a year before she graduated from Penn State. The shirt is from the Regatta, a huge back-to-school event held by Beta Sigma Beta. “I had interviewed one of the brothers from Beta Sigma Beta (forget his name, but most likely the man who ran the Regatta that year) about the Regatta for one of my journalism classes and ended up attending the Regatta itself. I know that either that year (my junior year) or when I went my senior year, I saw REO Speedwagon and at least one other band for the Regatta entrance fee of $5.”

Matthew Trainor graduated in 2015 in sent in this 1995 Rose Bowl shirt. How fitting.

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Kelly Lynch of the class of 1987 sent in three different pieces of her favorite Penn State apparel and has a story for each one:

  • The 1987 Greek Week T-shirt: “I was the Overall Chair that year. We had a contest for our committee T-shirt designs, the winner got $25 (tight budget). We had many submissions for the theme, “More than a Party.” I think at some point, I had each committee T-shirt color and our overall sweatshirt, but alas this pink one is the only one I still have.”
  • The Pitt button: “I bought this my first day on campus (August 1983) and it was the very first PSU item I bought myself (yes, I am from Pittsburgh). Bought at Findlay Commons”
  • The classic crew neck sweatshirt: “After I graduated and started working and earning money, I bought my “dream” sweatshirt. As you can see by the various split seams, it has been worn with love ever since!”

Becca Erdman (left) and Ali Gatlin (right) both graduated in 2014. These ladies decided to look through Becca’s mom’s clothes before heading to the 2015 Blue-White Game. “I’ve been wearing my mom’s old PSU apparel for ages — the better part of my college years and now even after. She saves EVERYTHING…literally. And in this case, it really has played out in my advantage. I just love the look of the vintage fonts, the styles, the crest…all of it. This past Blue White Weekend, my best friend and roommate of 3 years in college did some digging and found these great shirts of my mom’s from the early 80s. The white one on Ali is actually dated when Penn State won the National Championship in ’82. I made out with one that was perpetually stained…and everyone was convinced I spilled some tailgate food on myself…but both were still a big hit. The style is definitely coming back.”

Maureen Suchecki graduated from Penn State in 2013 and bought this 1986 national championship sweatshirt from a Salvation Army in 2010. “I’m always on the look out for old/vintage PSU clothing and this submission is my favorite one. My family are huge PSU fans and have a lot of PSU alumni! I thought this sweatshirt would be fitting due to the way the football team has been playing this year!”

img_6726img_6728img_6724Elissa Perkins graduated from Penn State in 2006. She also sent in a trio of tops, each with its own unique background story:

  • The Whiteout Purdue T-shirt: “First one is a t-shirt from the very first White Out in 2004. It’s not so white anymore since it’s been stored in a box in the garage for years, but pretty awesome to have. It was free, provided by SBS, but can’t remember if I got it at SBS or at the stadium.”
  • The Johnsons T-shirt: “Second is from 2002, when Larry, Tony, and Bryant Johnson were on the team and Larry was running wild for 2k. Hilarious shirt, and I’m glad I hung onto it.”
  • The College GameDay T-shirt: “Last one was when GameDay came for the OSU game in 2005. We all know what happened then. Probably also purchased by me at SBS or Family Clothesline. On a side note, got to wear it while posing with the GameDay crew (one of my degrees is in journalism and I participated in a panel discussion with the producer), so that was awesome.”


Kyle Williams sent in his collection of vintage Penn State gear. “The jacket is a trainer’s believed to be from the late 50’s.”

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Linda Fimmano Junkin of the class of 1976 submitted our last T-shirt triple threat of the series.

  • The 1974 Orange Bowl T-shirt: “First one is my favorite. I bought this T-shirt at the Student Bookstore in anticipation of the 1974 Orange Bowl and the Lions 12-0 season, plus 1973 Heisman winner John Cappelletti. Back in the day, these T-shirts had ‘flocking’ in the white print, so all the letters and the football were fuzzy and raised. After the fuzz wore off, the white letters and ink cracked. I used to have one from the 1972 Cotton Bowl, but it got lost somewhere. I am proud to say as a 1976 PSU grad, this now 40-year-old shirt still fits me?!…and I still look great in it.  I have worn it to Homecoming a few times, and always get many fun comments. I gave the shirt to my daughter when she was a freshman in 2004, and she proudly wore it too! It survived another 12 years, and will likely go to a grandkid someday.”
  • The 1995 Rose Bowl T-shirt: “The next is a T-shirt I bought for my son for the 1995 Rose Bowl…yet
    another big season (12-0) for the lions!”
  • The 2006 Orange Bowl T-shirt: “The last is swag from the 2006 Orange Bowl, which my daughter and I went to together. The Lions were almost 12-0, that year, if the refs didn’t add time to the clock during the Michigan game, I mean. I wanted a T-shirt similar to my 1974 shirt, and this was pretty close, but with fake cracked white letters, and no “flocking.”

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About the Author

Gabriela Stevenson

Gabriela is a senior majoring in print and digital journalism and Onward State's former student life editor. She is from Norristown, PA, which she normally refers to as "30 minutes outside of Philadelphia" (she looked up the exact driving time). She enjoys really enjoys eating cereal at night, in case you were wondering. To contact Gabriela, e-mail her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @GabiStevenson if you want to feel young again.

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