While t-shirts have a distinctly trendy feel, their origins as an undergarment go back over a century.
T-shirts get their name from the T-shape fashioned by their cubic body and connected sleeves. And such T-shaped clothes go back centuries; originally made up of wool or silk, these sets of underclothes usually covered the complete body, were designed to soak up perspiration, and served as a barrier between a man’s skin and also the costlier clothes he needed to safeguard from bodily grime.
The original “undershirts” were united with bottoms to form unified set of one-piece underclothes known as a
“union suit”. once the undergarment was divided in half the fashionable undergarment was born. It originated out New York, and it had been a very basic one-piece garment that was white in color and fastened up the front. Once the design of undergarment began to gain popularity, the P.H. Hanes Knitting Company presently followed suit and released their own version in 1902; it had been a two-piece men’s garment that looked almost like the union suit.
Although the cotton used for bulk manufacture of T-shirts originally came from America, the history of T-shirts unrolled itself in Europe. when a relay of several experiments, cotton turned out to be the best material for underclothes, and this was worn to stop the onerous, rough outer covering from inflicting irritation to the skin. the use of T-shirts gained momemtum but remained strictly an undergarment, seen publically solely on laundry lines. the original “T-shirts” ordinarily took the shape of the tops to two-piece union suits men wore underneath their garments, that miners and dockworkers took to sporting alone with trousers as they laboured.
The fate of what would become the tee shirt began to vary in 1904, once the Cooper Underwear Company began selling them to single men as “bachelor undershirts” with a tagline that simply read: “No safety pins — no buttons — no needle — no thread”. The advertising played up to the very fact that the “undershirt”, as it was then renowned, consisted of one piece of cloth that had no buttons, that means it would be more sturdy than its button-down counterpart, with less maintenance.
Around the flip of the twentieth century, the naval forces began supplying undershirts to its sailors, and different branches of the military would do likewise in the decades to come. These undershirts were designed to be worn under one’s uniform, however soldiers, sailors, and Marines, particularly those fighting in sweltry tropical climates, usually removed their uniform top so as to work just in their tees and trousers.
Shortly after WWI ended in 1920, the author F.Scott Fitzgerald became the first celebrated person to use the word “t-shirt” in print once he wrote it in his novel, This Side of Paradise as one of the items the main character takes with him to school. And, in fact, a very slight tweak on the look of early t-shirts materialized at university, the invention of the “crew-neck t-shirt”. These were created in 1932 by Jockey International INC at the request of the University of South California, who needed a light-weight, absorbent garment its football players may wear beneath their jerseys to stop their pads from rubbing and chafing. The ensuing style jersey was an enormous hit with the team and it wasn’t long before students began popularly wearing them. The tees become so trendy that students began pilfering them for casual wear. In response, the college begins stencilling “Property of USC” on its T-shirts as a crime-prevention manoeuvre, not an announcement of pride. The soldiers battling in the hot tropics sporting only their t-shirts ended up on the cover of Life magazine and therefore the tee shirt became an emblem, a hero’s icon!
The U.S. Army soon followed suit, adopting the tee shirt as a part of the standard-issue uniform given to new recruits. outdoor workers like farmers, dockworkers, miners and construction workers presently began to favour the tee shirt because of its light-weight cloth, that made it easier to work in hot weather conditions.
Comfortable, cheap, and straightforward to wash, they were adopted by farmers, ranchers, and laborers of every kind, as well as athletes and sporting enthusiasts. in the 1940s tees-as-outerwear also started to become fashionable play garments for young boys, who didn’t have to follow as strict a dress code as older men, and who were infamous for getting dirty.
WWII lent the undershirt greater acceptance as article of clothing, yet as some heroic cachet. troopers continued to wear them back reception round the house, and civilians adopted the practice also.
As a Nineteen Forties Sears, roebuck and Co. catalogue read, “You needn’t be a soldier to have your own personal T-shirt.” The white under-shirt worn by United States soldiers spread to Europe throughout the second war.
After WWII, veterans continued to wear their undershirts with trousers while working round the house. Then during the Fifties, films like the Wild Ones, A streetcar Named desire, and Rebel without a Cause, popularized the undergarment as stand-alone article of clothing. Marlon Brando and James Dean lent the tee an air of edgy rebelliousness, turning it into an emblem of masculine cool. Worn by brooding film stars like Brando and Dean, as well as beatnik poets like Jack Kerouac, t-shirts became an emblem of one’s allegiance with the working person, and disdain for authority and mainstream culture.
Although it had been long considered an undergarment, the tee shirt entered the realm of fashionable fashion during the Fifties, once Marlon Brando popularized the look in “A streetcar Named desire.” during the early 1950’s, T-shirts were still thought of underclothes, until Marlon Brando, and James Dean appalled Americans by wearing their “underwear” on T.V. Hollywood inevitably had the largest impact on the classic tee with such iconic images as Brando’s tee shirt in the 1951 ‘A streetcar Named Desire’ and James Dean’s memorable white tee in ‘Rebel without a Cause’ in 1955. These incidents made tee shirt sporting both cool and rebellious. This was followed by Presley and others, who added to the recognition of the once “underwear”. In time, tee shirt finally earned the status of trendy, stand-alone, outer-wear vesture.