History of The T Shirt - From Plain White Ts to Endless Unique Shirts

Why is it called T shirt? The T shirt got it's name from its shape that resembles the letter T.

The history of the t shirt began with miners in the late 1800's by cutting off their one piece undergarment in two pieces and cutting the sleeves just below the shoulders when it got warm during summer months.  The first T shirts were mass produced in the Spanish American War between 1898 and 1913. They were  Unlike other style of under shirts, the T shirt can be pulled over the head and didn't have buttons that may may eventually fall off and must be sewn back on.  It became popular with young men with no sewing skills. It was cheap, simple, and utilitarian. The US Navy started to issue T shirts as standard issue under garments for troops stationed in tropical climates or working in closed and hot environments, like submarines and ships. It became common practice for military personnel to take off their outer shirt or jackets down to their T shirt to keep cool.  Eventually the T shirt became standard wear for those working in agriculture and manufacturing industries.  Eventually, the T shirt evolved and became available in various colours other than white.

In 1942, a printed version of the T shirt made it's appearance on the cover of Life Magazine. This began another chapter in the history of the T shirt. It featured service men in the Air Corps Gunnery School wearing their shirt with their logo on on the front.  After World War 2, the T shirt was even more popularized when veterans wore their uniform trousers with only their T shirt as the casual look. 

T Shirt in Pop Culture

In the 1950's, actors like Marlon Brando from the movie Streetcar Named Desire, and James Dean from the movie, Rebel Without a Cause made the T shirt even more popular with young men. 


 Marlon Brando  James Dean


Printed Shirts

 The printed shirt became a popular form of self expression in the 1960s and became a popular medium for marketing and advertising companies and continues to be, to this day. Follow us at www.waterdragonapparel.com to see our new addition to our collection of unique T shirts that reflect your personality from various collections.


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