The evolution of a basic wardrobe essential- A Tee!

T-shirts are one of the most commonly used and versatile piece of clothing. With all the prints and patterns available, they help in expressing emotions, opinions and behavior as well. The history of how they came to be is quite interesting and amusing as these garments have been a part of revolutions and cultures one might not be aware of. Here’s how tees have evolved over time.

It’s Origin

T-shirts were introduced as an undergarment to US Navy in the year 1898 during Mexican-American war. They were usually worn underneath a uniform, better known as a union suit, that was nothing but a white one piece suit with white buttons in front.

Sears, then launched their version of the t-shirt known as a ‘Gob Shirt’ that could be worn both as an undergarment as well as outer garment. These Gob Shirts were similar to modern plain tees

How they gained popularity during the 50's

At the time of World War II, tees were repurposed as an outer garment. Hollywood saw the possible potential of this garment and soon in the year 1950, Marlon Brando was spotted wearing a t-shirt in the movie A Streetcar Named Desire, followed by James Dean in the movie Rebel Without A Cause.

Soon enough, tees gained popularity and became a symbol of rebellion, as they were initially worn as undergarments.

Use for new purposes

However, the first t-shirt used for a promotional event with printed slogan was in the year 1948 by presidential candidate Governor Thomas E. Dewey who issued tees with slogan “dew-it with Dewey” for a promotion campaign

The year 1950 called for various experiments and creativity and tees started to become a medium for self expression. Tie and dye techniques and prints were introduced and various companies in Miami started experimenting with them on t-shirts.

Later in 1950’s, a company then known as Tropix Togs held the license to print Walt Disney Characters on Tees. It was then, people started to realize the potential market and profits that could be incurred by printing on tees.

Tees in pop culture during the 70's

By the year 1970, the full potential of a t-shirt was identified and soon enough, they became a part of pop culture with logos of famous music bands.

New printing techniques were introduced and on the spot printing was made possible, all thanks to malls and garment stores.

Contemporary times

Now, tees are used as a styling statement and as casual wear depending on personal style and one’s creative fashion sense.

They are used as school uniforms, athletic uniforms, branding tool, etc. apart from a regular garment.

Civilian at the BLM protests, USA

Tees are also source of self expression as observed in BLM Moment recently.

Isn’t it amusing to know what journey a regular T-shirt has gone through and how it has evolved!




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