Donald Trump T-Shirts Have Taken Over the Wildwood Boardwalk

On the boardwalk, you are what you wear. Our fifth annual survey of the themes, memes, icons and catchphrases that are hot with the soon-to-be sunburned set.

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Welcome to the fifth annual edition of the Wildwood Boardwalk T-Shirt Guide!

Not a lot has changed on the boards since I did my first one of these in 2012. I probably wouldn’t have believed you four years ago if you told me that I’d still be doing this in 2016. I definitely wouldn’t have believed you if you told me Donald Trump would be the hottest item on boardwalk shirts this year.

But it’s true. I spoke with five different shop owners during a trip to the Wildwood boardwalk this week. None of them wanted to be identified — perhaps because of the massive copyright infringement the Wildwood boardwalk t-shirt business thrives on, or maybe they were just shy — but they all agreed: They expect to sell a ton of Donald Trump merchandise this summer.

[ Previous Wildwood boardwalk t-shirt columns: 2012 | 2013 (’13 Update) | 2014 | 2015 (’15 Update) ]

But if the hottest shirts on the Wildwood boardwalk this summer are ones supporting Donald Trump, the number two item might be shirts opposing him.

Wildwood boardwalk t-shirts - Trump

(Yes, that’s a “We Shall Overcomb” pun on a shirt that has turned Donald Trump’s hair into a bald eagle.)

But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Donald Trump is brash, offensive, bombastic, tacky and somehow incredibly likable for many, many people — exactly the terms I could use to describe the Wildwood boardwalk. And what is a “Make America Great Again” hat if not a repurposed dollar-store boardwalk rope hat?

Wildwood boardwalk hats

But Trump isn’t the only politician making his mark on the boardwalk. There are stores selling shirts for Bernie Sanders, for Hillary Clinton and even for George W. Bush, for some reason.

Bernie Hillary Bush

Okay, so maybe there aren’t very many pro-Hillary Clinton shirts on the Wildwood boardwalk. But there is one making a blowjob joke about her, which is about how I expected the t-shirt salespeople to treat the most prominent woman candidate for president ever. That people continue to sell that “Miss me yet?” George W. Bush shirt is mystifying, however. Does Dick Cheney go to the Wildwood boardwalk and keep them in business?

Sports logo mashups

The second-most popular genre of shirts this year are, again, mashups of professional sports teams with the Batman and Superman logos. These surfaced last summer, and I share them again to show that the awful reviews for Batman v. Superman did not dull the enthusiasm for showing your love for Superman and the Eagles at the same time.

Minion mashups

And, of course, there are lots of minions mashups.

tattoos-people

First, it was Marilyn Monroe. Then, it was Disney princesses. Now, you can pretty much get any cartoon character — or real life person, in the case of Jack Nicholson and Daniel Radcliffe — with tattoos all over them. You can even get a tatted-up cat and dog.

I wasn’t sure where to put a buff Joker telling you to lift, but it at least sort of falls into this category.

prince-straight-outta

Straight Outta Compton and its Parental Advisory-knockoff logo came out on August 14th of last year, but it is still going strong in Summer 2016. You can pretty much get “STRAIGHT OUTTA [anything]” on a shirt, it seems, though Philly and New Jersey are the most common.

Also, R.I.P. Prince.

senior-week

I spent several proms and my senior week in Wildwood, a rite of passage for Philadelphia teenagers for generations. I don’t remember if I bought a shirt, nor do I even remember what they said. (Millennium puns?) But, this year, “16” kind of looks like “ig” so that’s what most of the puns are. Also: “STRAIGHT OUTTA CLASS.” That works so many ways!

Dope Boys

Fan of drug dealing? You can get Pablo Escobar and El Chapo on t-shirts on the Wildwood boardwalk! Escobar was a lot cooler-looking than El Chapo, who looks like he’s about to do a guest spot on Comedy Bang! Bang!

dad-pullout-game

Here’s the most disgusting t-shirt of 2016. Besides Trump, I guess.

tramcar

For years, there has been one constant on the Wildwood boardwalk: The t-shirt with a seagull (that looks like a duck) about to be run over by a tram car. Now, apparently, the Minions and the Angry Birds have taken over that role. Geeze. First Trump running for president, and now this.

Dan McQuade has been chronicling Wildwood t-shirt trends for Philadelphia magazine since 2012. Read his previous columns: 2012 | 2013 (’13 Update) | 2014 | 2015 (’15 Update). Follow @dhm on Twitter.