The History of T-Shirts in 320 Words
One-piece “union suits” are cut into separate top and bottom pieces. The top part of the union suit is long enough to be tucked into the waistband of bottoms. Miners and stevedores use the T-Shirt to combat the hot environment. The United States Navy makes the T-Shirt standard issue at around 1918 and are used as undergarments worn under uniforms. The T-Shirt appears in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary for the first time in 1922. During the Great Depression the T-Shirt becomes the default garment for many workers. The Wizard of Oz releases the first promotional T-Shirt in 1939. Presidential candidate Thomas E. Dewey was the first to put a political slogan on a T-Shirt and it said “Dew-It With Dewey.” Charlie Brown first appears in a T-Shirt in 1950. Following World War II it is common to see veterans wearing T-Shirts with their trousers as casual clothing. Marlon Brando turns the T-Shirt into a fashion statement after wearing one in A Streetcar Named Desire in 1951. In 1955, James Dean appears in Rebel Without A Cause in a white T-Shirt making it the symbol of rebellious youth.
Tank tops, A-Shirts (wife beaters), muscle shirts, scoop shirts and v-necks are developed as variants to the T-Shirt. Plastisol ink is developed in 1959 allowing variety in T-Shirt designs. Screen printing becomes the most popular form of T-Shirt printing. Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara graces the T-Shirt of many activitsts in the 1960’s. John Sebastian and Janis Joplin popularize tie-dyed shirts. Jacqueline Bisset appears in the movie The Deep in 1977 and is seen surfacing wearing a white T-Shirt and a bikini underneath – the Wet T-Shirt is born.Â Thermochromatic dyes are introduced in the 80’s and change color when subjected to heat. In the 90’s, Hip Hop afficianados wear T-Shirts that extend to their knees. Threadless revolutionizes the way T-Shirts are designed and sold online in the 2000’s with their crowd sourcing model of business.