Embarrassing your besties on vacation is an essential part of any girls trip, but TikTok’s latest trend may be taking things a bit too far — in the best way. As if forcing your squad to strut through the resort flaunting some of the ugliest phone cases you’ve ever seen wasn’t bad enough, creators are taking the humiliation to the next level with the viral ugly T-shirt challenge to make vacations more fun.
The challenge began making its rounds on the FYP in late June after Malin Hodne (@malinhodne) posted a video of their besties surprising one another with a new T-shirt to wear to dinner on their last night of vacation. Only the T-shirts weren’t the cute memorabilia kind you’d find in the hotel lobby — each person came prepared with an intentionally hideous top to exchange with one another because not every vacation should be picture-perfect. One friend received a very, er, fashion-forward top with roses and a pink car on it, while another was gifted a hot pink TikTok-branded tee with frayed sleeves. There was also an Among Us-themed shirt in the mix, and another hot pink number with a stick figure “downloading” on the toilet, if you know what I mean.
Clearly, the whole dinner idea was pre-planned, too, because the creator referred to the event as “sh*t shirt night out” in their caption.
The video has over 29.8 million views and 4.7 million likes as of July 18, so it was only a matter of time before other users organized their own shirt swap on their vacays, too.
User @herminet1 and their friends took the ugly gift exchange super seriously, gifting a series of novelty tees that say things like, “Sexy and I know it,” “Allergic to stupid people,” “12 beers a day keeps the doctor away,” and “Just did it” with a sperm in the shape of the Nike swoosh, to name a few. Oh, and don’t forget the “F*ck me I’m famous” tank. To make the challenge even more embarrassing, the group chose to wear the shirts to a nightclub in Greece, because an ugly T-shirt simply isn’t humiliating enough. Bold move.
TikToker @moo__cat and their besties also hopped on the trend during their beach vacay, but the forecast for their shirts was anything but sunny. The first top exchanged was a Shrek tee, where the ogre can be seen holding a World’s Greatest Father mug. Next was a ~patriotic~ tank that says, “Star Spangled Hammered,” followed by an aqua T-shirt that says “Trap babies.”
One friend repped a hot cross buns tee as a nod to the popular elementary school instrument the recorder, while another rocked a “Trap gawd” ensemble. There was also an accidental parental theme going on, because someone was given an “It’s a girl!” top, and another received a shirt that said, “He or she? Dad to bee” with a bumble bee on it.
@Malinhodne may have inspired the viral trend, but they weren’t the first to try it. On March 30, creator @caitlinleex and their crew celebrated their last night in Mexico with a batch of ugly shirts, including a galaxy tee featuring a sloth riding a llama, a tube top dress styled as a top, and a gold short sleeved button down.
If the ugly T-shirt challenge proves anything, it’s that there’s no point in being embarrassed when you’re having a good time with your besties. The point of vacation is to have fun — even if you get a few stares along the way.