Thrift Tip: When a shirt has a date from the ’90s printed in BIG, BOLD font, you MUST buy it! No questions asked.

As a 90’s style fanatic, (hello, Kate Moss!) this shirt was a no brainer when I came across it in the very back of the store while thrifting at The Salvation Army this week. It was lodged between a trench coat and a leather jacket, static holding it out of eyesight.

But let’s start at the beginning – this part I wasn’t actually there for, but Google helped me out.

In 1996, Iowa State and Kansas were set to play for the Big 8 Tournament title at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri. It was clear that KU was the favorite, considering their preseason #1 ranking over the entire NCAA and their baller roster, compared to our seemingly ragtag group of players on paper who were ranked last in the conference – according to Sports Illustrated.

But the Cyclones did what they do best, and pulled off the big upset. Final score: 56-55.

ISU won by a single point.


This win marked the FINAL Big 8 Tournament title. Iowa State got the last word AND their only conference title in the 13 years of Big 8 existence.The conference was disbanded after the school year’s end and both teams entered the Big 12 the following year. Someone designed a rad t-shirt to celebrate the win, the school and the unforgettable memories from one epic game.

While all of this was happening, I was a ONE year old living in Dillon, Colorado just trying to breathe at 9,100 ft.

Little did I know that I would eventually leave Colorado for the land of corn, farmers markets and hot beef sundaes and become a track and field/ cross country star at this university with multiple Big 12 NCAA Championship cross country team titles and a runner up individual finish in 2015. I know a thing or two about conference championships.

In short – it’s pretty cool to wear this and think about how I got here!

Once again, thrifting pays off BIG time. Pumped about this addition to my wardrobe and I can’t wait to rock this retro cyclone tee for years to come. For more info on the Iowa State win against Kansas in the 1996 Big 8 Tournament, see links below:

Sports Illustrated Vault 

Big 8 Conference Summary 1995-1996

Cyclone Jerseys

Speaking of all things conference-y, I’ll be cheering for the ISU cross country teams who compete at their conference meet this weekend. Good luck!

Go State and Happy Thrifting! ♥️ E