The most used and wearable piece of garment on the Earth. Everybody has at least a few of them in wardrobe. But do we know, how the T-shirt was born? This article will show you the beginnings of the T-shirt.
The earliest T-shirt was issued in the United States by the U.S. Navy sometime around the Spanish American War and 1913. The first T-shirt had a crew neck and short sleeves and it was meant to be worn underwear beneath the uniform. Soon it was adopted by the Army as a part of the standard issue ensemble given to recruits. It got an iconic name from its shape resembling the letter “T”. Dockworkers, farmers, miners, and construction type workers also adopted the T-shirt preferring the single jersey cotton in warmer weather conditions. The word “T-shirt” became a part of American English by the 1920s, and appeared in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
The earliest screen printed shirt was perhaps the highly sought-after collectible tee made for promoting the 1939 film “The Wizard of OZ” (no photo available). Credit of the first printed tee often goes to the Air Corps Gunnery School T-shirt featured on the July 13th, 1942 cover of LIFE magazine. Mickey Mouse would follow suit a few years later as an exclusively licensed print for Tropix Togs, a company founded by Sam Kantor in Miami, Florida.
Following World War II, it became common to see veterans wearing their uniform trousers with their T-shirts as casual clothing.
Aside from veterans and bluecollar workers, the popularity of the T-shirt reached to even greater heights when Marlon Brando wore one in “A Streetcar Named Desire”. It became fashionably cool to wear as an outer garment.
Today T-shirt is 101 year old and its versions are available in many different designs and fabrics and styles.