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History of the T-Shirt

Who started wearing t-shirts and how did they become so cool? The history of the t-shirt all started in the early 1900s during WWI. U.S. soldiers realized the Europeans had comfortable looking cotton shirts on and they figured those must be much better than the wool uniforms they were wearing. Next thing you know cotton shirts shaped like the letter T emerged into the battlefield.

Another claim is that t-shirts were first worn by U.S. Navy sailors out on sea. It’s no surprise that there are various claims of the t-shirt’s origin. Either way, t-shirts were originally just worn as undershirts and weren’t considered fashionable at all. They were even specially produced for a college football team to be used as sweat absorbers.

Most would agree that the shirts were given the name t-shirt because of their shape, but even in this case there are other claims. Some claim they were referred to as “training shirts” as they were worn by training soldiers. Another crazy claim is that tee is short for “amputee” referring to the short sleeves. It’s crazy how all of these claims kind of make sense but no one knows the definite truth. One thing’s for sure; for a while t-shirts were worn as undershirts and for the specific purpose of staying cool.

Funny thing is, it was actually considered shocking to see someone wearing a t-shirt as an overshirt. It was unacceptable to society and the equivalent of walking down the block with nothing but boxers on. Not until after WWII did people begin to accept the t-shirt completely, as t-shirts were used during presidential campaigns.

The t-shirt didn’t become so popular until it was worn by pop culture figures like James Dean and Marlon Brando on the big screen. It all of a sudden became a status symbol and everybody wanted to be like these guys.

Soon enough people started making t-shirts with all types of designs and images on them, and the assortment ranged from tourist tees to popular cartoon character tees. The popularity of the t-shirt continued to soar as famous rock bands and other celebs wore them normally. Some trends like tye dying emerged in the 1960s, followed by a more current and ongoing trend of message t-shirts, which started in the UK in the late 80s, and the more recent all over prints. Some t-shirts even have LED lights integrated into them.

Now the t-shirt is one of the most common articles of clothing, and arguably the most worn garment in the world. Thousands of t-shirts are created each day, thanks to today’s technology, and a t-shirt lover or entrepreneur is born every minute. The t-shirt’s rise to fame will continue for ages, eventually making it the undisputed best apparel product of all time.

Posted in Features.