A Brief History Of The “T”

By Mary Ann

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Here at Simply Stylish we feel that a little Fashion 101 is always a good idea.  After all, in any passionate endeavor you can never overemphasize the basics.  So we thought that we could all benefit from a little history lesson on this powerful wardrobe basic.

According to Wikipedia, the T-Shirt evolved in the 19th century when union suits (one piece underwear garments) were cut into pieces to create separate tops and bottoms.  They were quickly picked up by miners and dock workers as the perfect garments to wear in hot environments.

In the US, they became popular with the US Navy in the late 19th century because T-Shirts were the perfect things to wear under uniforms and could be worn alone in hot climates while laboring.  They quickly became a clothing staple of laborers of all kinds, as there were comfortable, inexpensive and easy to clean.  They subsequently became so popular that the word T-Shirt was added to the Webster Dictionary in the 1920’s—named in reference to the shape that it makes when laid out flat.

But the T-Shirt’s true glory emerged when Marlon Brando wore a plain white “T” in “A Streetcar Named Desire”.  It quickly escalated to new heights of fashion and sex appeal and began showing up on people on streets all over the world.

The “T” took its next great leap in the 1960’s when it went “graphic”.  T-Shirts became the canvas of self-expression as psychedelic messages were splashed across millions of chests—tie-dyed free love for everyone!

The “T” has been a wardrobe staple ever since and continues to be designers’ basic garment of choice for self-expression.  We dare say that there is hardly a closet in the world that does not contain at least one favorite “T”.

Until next time-




Stay Stylish!

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