James Dean? Pretty damn cool. The UK… cool also.
Today, I decided I was going to do some research about one of my favorite items in this fine world. I went to Google, and typed in “History of t shirt,” thus, providing me with multiple websites that wanted to tell me all about how the T-Shirt came about.
Rumor has it, American soldiers, during WWI, noticed European soldiers wearing a short-sleeved cooler, lightweight, more comfortable type of shirt during the humid summer months. At this time, the American soldiers wore wool. Good idea they noticed somebody’s else’s lighter, more efficient outer garment.
The name “T” Shirt seems to have a number of ways in which it got it’s name. First, when laid on a flat surface, the “T” shirt resembles the look of the letter “T.” Next, “Tee” is supposed to have come from the end of the word “amputee” because of the cut-off short sleeves. Next, since the military wore these, they were considered “training” shirts because they were worn while soldiers trained. Eventually, they were produced only for college football players because they were known as sweat absorbers.
Probably the main reason they exist, t-shirts were worn as basic undershirts and for the specific purpose of staying cool.
1920′s = Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary listed “T-Shirt” as an official word in the American English language.
Back to “staying cool.” T-shirts were known to be frowned upon in public, similar to a man walking outside in his boxer shorts.
WWII – Shirts were used during Presidential Campaigns for advertising/propaganda reasons.
Marlon & James.
These guys set the bar high. In 1951, Marlon Brando sported the T-shirt in the movie “A Streetcar Named Desire” when he portrayed Stanley Kowalski. In 1955, James Dean is most noted for wearing the tee without another shirt over top during “Rebel Without a Cause.” These two men were status symbols; everybody wanted to wear a t-shirt.
People got creative. They figured out how to put what they wanted on a shirt and express how they felt. In the 60′s, the hippies began to tie-dye them. Next, rock bands were wearing them, increasing the popularity of both the band and shirt.
Today, the t-shirt is the most worn garment in the world. New technology and new shirt artists are born daily. The t-shirt will continue to grow it’s popularity, hopefully making it the undisputed best apparel product of all time.