Evolution of the T-shirt in America

T-shirts, as a slip on garment without buttons, originally became popular in the United States when they were issued by the U.S. Navy during or following the Spanish American War. These were a crew-necked, short-sleeved, white cotton undershirt to be worn under a uniform. It became common for sailors and Marines in work parties, the early submarines, and tropical climates to remove their uniform "jacket," wearing (and soiling) only the undershirt. It is possible that the Navy uniform boards first discovered the T-shirt by watching dock crews. Named the T-shirt due to the shape of the garment's outline, they soon became popular as a first layer of clothing for workers in various industries, including agriculture. The T-shirt was easily fitted, easily cleaned, and inexpensive, and for this reason, it became the shirt of choice for young boys (perhaps more the choice of their mothers than of the boys themselves). Boy's shirts were made in various colors and patterns and became so ubiquitous that cartoon character Charlie Brown rarely was seen without his T-shirt with distinctive zigzag stripe around the waist. By the time of the Great Depression, the T-shirt was often the default garment to be worn when doing farm or ranch chores, as well as other times when modesty called for a torso covering while conditions called for lightweight fabrics. Following World War II, it became common to see veterans wearing their uniform trousers with their T-shirts as casual clothing, and they became even more popular after Marlon Brando wore one in A Streetcar Named Desire, finally achieving status as fashionable, stand-alone, outerwear garments. T-shirts have come a long way in 70 years or so! For one thing, they are just as popular and as much a wardrobe basic and fashion statement with girls and women now as with boys and men. As clothing culture has become more and more relaxed and informal for the most part, jeans and t-shirts have evolved into the Tour de Force of wardrobe basics. Companies and designers are constantly creating new washes, colors, fits, stitching and fabrics to add variety and desire for more of these basics. While the T-shirt has evolved into a fashionable, gender-bending basic from it “men's undershirt” origins, its comfortable, easy-to-wash, go-with-everything elements keep it alive and well in our wardrobes. source for material for this article: Wikipedia.com.

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