History: So the Shirt Became the Evergreen in the Wardrobe

Soon it will be time again: on 21 June the international T-shirt day will take place.Reason enough to deal once more with the popular garment.We have researched the history of the T-shirt and found many interesting and amusing facts.Let yourself be surprised!

The beginnings: Who borne it first?

Strictly speaking, the ancient Egyptians have worn T-shirt-like outerwear:on representations they are often depicted with half-sleeved white tops.

But the real predecessor of today’s T-shirt had its origin in the 19th century.Both Englishmen and Americans want to see themselves as the fathers of the T-shirt.

More myth than fact seems to be the version, according to which English butlers were allowed to wear short sleeves while serving the high tea – to avoid unsightly tea stains on their shirt sleeves. This may sound reasonable, but whether the British nobility had been really amused by the sight of hairy butler arms?

On the other hand, English sailors in the late 19th century were forced to wear wool shirts with short sleeves under their sailor blouses.

In the Spanish-American War of 1898, the US Navy also introduced short-sleeved shirts:these had a round neckline, which lacked the typical button-button.The sailors wore these T-shirts first as underclothing, later also without uniform jacket.The downside was that these undercuts were made of scratching wool.It was only with the introduction of little cotton shirts that the soldiers were more comfortable.

T-shirts are mainly produced from cotton, as this material is very comfortable to wear – even if you sweat in it.You can find more information about natural and chemical fibers in our contribution to the textile trade.

1920-1940:The T-Shirt on triumph in America

After the garment had established itself with the navy, a name was soon found: the characteristic T-shape of the shirt made it a “T-shirt”.

The American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald was the first to write the word “T-Shirt”:In his debut novel “Paradise on Paradise” published in 1920, it is next to underwear, sweater and coat in the suitcase of his youthful protagonist Amory.

At about the same time the “T-Shirt” also found its way into the dictionary, more precisely the Merriam Webster Dictionary.In the German spelling, however, it was only in 1980 that it was adopted.

In 1939, for the first time a t-shirt with a printed motif was used for advertising purposes: it applied the film “The Wizard of Oz”.

Properly popular were printed T-shirts in the Second World War, when the LIFE magazine 1942 presented a soldier in the shirt with the imprinted logo of the Army Air Corps Gunnery School on his cover.

With printed t-shirts, you can still put today signs:

1950-1970:Between rebellion and marketing

The simple white T-shirt entered the triumph in the 1950s: Marlon Brando carried it in the film “Endstation Sehnsucht” in 1951, James Dean did it four years later in “Because they do not know what they are doing”.Two handsome and rebellious filmmakers in a tight-fitting white T-shirt – not only were the female film fans impressed.The (white) T-shirt was now regarded as a symbol of the rebellious youth culture.

White T-shirts should also have in 2016 every man in the wardrobe. Whether for jeans or under your shirt – the plain white shirt is always a good choice:

With printed T-shirts you can remember the heroes of the sixties. The country rebel Johnny Cash and the recently deceased boxing legend Muhammad Ali live on T-shirts:

In the 1960s the T-shaped top also gained more and more friends in Europe. But especially in the USA it developed further and changed its appearance again and again. Batik T-shirts were the last scream especially in the emerging hippie movement.

Printed shirts were increasingly used as signs of protest, in election campaigns and advertising.This was made possible, among other things, by the plastic plastisol, which was used to make more detailed and more durable T-shirt imprints.

The 1970s were finally the birth year of many legendary motifs, which are still printed on T-shirts, from the Mickey Mouse to the band logo of the Rolling-Stones.

In 1977 the city of New York commissioned the graphic designer Milton Glaser to design a logo in the course of an advertising campaign. This is how the world-famous”I (Heart) New York” logo was born. It’s one of the most imitated t-shirt designs. However, Milton Glaser got only $ 2000 for his design.

1980s to the present

Until the 1970s, the T-shirt had been more art object and advertising medium than everyday clothing.That changed in the 1980s clearly: now the short-sleeved, practical upper part in the clothes closets of the masses.At the latest with the series Miami Vice, in which hero James “Sonny” Crockett wore a T-shirt under his Armani suit, the T-shirt became fashionable.

By the way, you can easily imitate the Miami Vice style by wearing a single-color shirt under your summer suit.The color shades of that time are now again announced:

In 1990 the Hard Rock Café finally released its T-shirt design, which, in addition to the restaurant logo, also shows the name of the city in which the respective store is located. Collecting these t-shirts quickly became a cult, and for many tourists, a city dine without a visit to the Hard Rock Café and t-shirt acquisition is unthinkable.

T-shirt today: With annual birthday celebration

Since 2008, there is also an international T-shirt tag.This falls on the 21st of June – not much longer so!If you are an avid t-shirt wearer, then you should mark this day as the best red in the calendar and make sure you wear your favorite t-shirt.And if you want to have a new T-shirt to celebrate the day, have a look around!