The evolution of the T Shirt

Jun 20th 2016

The T Shirt is arguably the most popular outer garment in the entire world. Coming in a range of styles, colors and sizes there is quite literally a T Shirt for everyone.

Relatively speaking, the T Shirt is a fairly new addition to our collective wardrobes and it has only been an acceptable piece of clothing in its own right for around half a century. While the garment itself has existed in a recognizable form (albeit with wider necks and shorter sleeves) since the early 20th century, it was almost universally considered to be underwear and it was rarely, if ever worn in public.

So where did the T Shirt come from? It’s thought that it evolved from a kind of all-in-one underwear made from red flannel known as the “union suit” which was popular with workers in the 19th century. The union suit was patented in 1868 in New York and was based on a similar kind of underwear that had been popular with Victorian women. While the Union Suit excelled at keeping men warm, it was all but useless at keeping them cool in hot weather, unless that is, it was cut in half, which many workers did. In so doing, they inadvertently created the top half of what many would recognise today as “Long Johns”, a similar garment which consisted of two pieces of long underwear.

Sometime in the 19th century, the people making these type of toasty undergarments began experimenting with fabrics that could stretch back into shape to make the product more comfortable. This resulted in the creation of buttonless undershirts made from wool and cotton that you could pull over your head without ruining the collar.

But things gradually changed from the 1900’s. Buttonless undershirts gradually started being manufactured to fit the formal environs.

As the clothing evolved, so did its varieties. People started wearing T Shirts with slogans that would find resonance with them. As technology advanced, the material used in manufacturing these T Shirts changed.

And, today, the world has programmable T Shirts. These T Shirts can be programmed to reflect what is on your mind – word for word. Broadcast Wear T Shirts can be programmed to say what you want to – from the good to the bad and the beautiful to the ugly.


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