Who First Started Wearing T-Shirts? A Journey Through Time

T-shirts, also known as tees or tops, have been a staple in our wardrobes for decades. But who first started wearing T-shirts and how did they become so popular? In this article, we’ll take a journey through time to uncover the history of the T-shirt and how it became a fashion staple.

The Birth of the T-Shirt

The T-shirt can trace its roots back to the 19th century when it was first used as an undergarment for soldiers. These undershirts were made from lightweight cotton and were designed to be worn under heavy military uniforms. This was the first time T-shirts were introduced as a type of clothing and the concept of wearing T-shirts as outerwear didn’t exist yet.

The T-shirt has its roots in 19th-century underwear. During this time, undergarments were typically made of heavy cotton and were worn underneath other clothing to absorb sweat and protect outerwear. In 1913, the US Navy began issuing lightweight cotton undershirts as part of their standard uniform. These undershirts were worn under the sailor’s uniform and were referred to as “T-shirts.” The “T” in T-shirt refers to the shape of the garment, which is a “T” shape when laid flat.

In the 1920s and 1930s, T-shirts began to be seen as a fashion statement and were worn as outerwear. They were popularized by movie stars like Marlon Brando and James Dean and became an iconic symbol of American youth culture. In the 1950s, T-shirts were mass-produced for the first time and became widely available to the general public. Today, T-shirts are an essential item in every wardrobe and are available in a wide range of styles, colors, and materials.

T-Shirts During World War I and II

During World War I and II, T-shirts became a uniform for American soldiers.

The T-shirt was perfect for the soldiers because it was lightweight, breathable, and comfortable to wear in the hot and humid conditions of the battlefield.

This was the first time T-shirts were worn as outerwear, and it wasn’t long before the trend caught on.

USS Moccasin (SS-5)
USS Moccasin (SS-5). Image: wikipedia.org

It wasn’t until the 1950s and 60s that T-shirts really started to gain popularity as casual wear. During this time, T-shirts became a symbol of youth culture and were associated with rebellion and non-conformity. This was largely due to the influence of movie stars and musicians who wore T-shirts as a symbol of their defiance against traditional fashion norms.

1938 Sears, Roebuck, & Company Ad

T-Shirts Today

Today, T-shirts have become a staple in every wardrobe and are available in a wide range of styles, colors and designs. From simple plain tees to graphic and printed T-shirts, there’s a T-shirt for every occasion. T-shirts have also become a popular canvas for artists and designers to express themselves, making T-shirts a unique form of self-expression.

Your best T-shirt should be like your bed; it just feels like you are home when you are in it. – Ashton Kutcher

The T-shirt has come a long way since its humble beginnings as an undergarment for soldiers. Today, T-shirts are a staple in every wardrobe and a unique form of self-expression. From its association with youth culture and rebellion in the 1950s and 60s to its current status as a must-have item in every wardrobe, the T-shirt has proven to be a versatile and timeless piece of clothing. So, next time you slip on a T-shirt, take a moment to think about its rich history and who first started wearing T-shirts.

About the author

Monica is a creative spirit who loves to express herself through her designs, writing, and paintings. She has a passion for dogs and spends much of her free time volunteering at the local animal shelter. With her artistic background, Monica brings a unique perspective to her work, creating designs that are both functional and visually stunning.