History of Tshirts and tshirts and tees

T-shirts and t-shirts and tees

History of T-shirts

So, who invented the T-shirt?

Once upon a time in merrie olde England, in a rustic cottage in a small village in wintertime, a husband felt chilled and called to his wife, “Old woman, bring me some hot tea, bring me my Fokking shirt (he had been on the nerdball team at Fokk University – see my hub), and throw another log on the fire – NOW!” His wife, tired of his constant orders and miserable attitude, threw his shirt at him and then threw the cup of tea all over his favorite shirt. Ergo, the “tea-shirt” was born. There are also rumors she beat him about the head with the fireplace log but they are unsubstantiated. As is this anecdote.

Well, we don’t really know who invented T-shirts. But we do know that T-shirt history began with the Industrial Revolution in England and the subsequent increase in international trade. Before that time, folks wore clothes that were hand-sewn from materials available locally. They had no desire to wear political pontifications, suggestive slogans or any other denigrating designs on their undershirts which had short sleeves but looked nothing like what we call a T-shirt today.

Union suits either $1 or 80 cents

Early T-shirts

In Europe, cotton was discovered to be the ideal material for underwear, and garments made from soft cotton prevented harder and rougher outer clothing from scratching the tender skin of the wearer. The cotton used to manufacture them came originally from America. But they remained an undergarment and were only seen in public on clothes lines.

The T-shirt evolved from undergarments used in the 19th century, by cutting the one-piece "union suit" underwear into separate top and bottom garments, with the top long enough to tuck under the waistband of the bottoms. T-shirts, the tops, with and without buttons, were adopted by miners and laborers as convenient comfortable clothing for hot environments.

By the 20th century, workers in Southern European countries were wearing T-shirts during the hot summer days, but in America the vest still ruled supreme. It was when United States army personnel came to Europe in the first half of the 20th century that they were introduced to the lightweight cotton T-shirt.

T-shirt Tidbit: The word, T-shirt, did not become an official word until the 1920s when it was first included in Webster's Dictionary.

How did the T-shirt get its name?

Take a look at the T-shirt silhouette on the right? Does it remind you of any letter in the alphabet? Possibly . . . . a T? Spot on! Some early, brilliant-like-you, unknown individual in the early 1900s also noticed that resemblance.

Nobody knows exactly when the first T-shirt was produced, but there is documentation dating back to as early as 1913 that the U.S, Navy adopted the crew-necked, short-sleeved, white common undershirt to be worn under overalls. Do you know why the Navy switched to T-shirts?

a) To keep the outer shirts from scratching and itching naval personnel? No.

b) To keep sailors warm while sailing in frigid weather? No.

c) To be worn under overalls to conceal the sailors’ chest hair. Yes! Don't ;laugh. That is the reason T-shirts were adopted by the Navy.

Make Your Own Tiny T-shirt (with a collar)

Film: "It Happened One Night"

Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert
Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert

T-shirts in the 30s and 40s

In 1934, the T-shirt received a setback when the popular actor, Clark Gable, took off his dress shirt to reveal a bare torso in the movie “It Happened One Night.” American women liked the bare-chested look, and many men followed Gable's lead by discarding their undershirts, too.

In 1937, undershirts were called "skivvies" or "jim-shirts." They weighed only 1.5 to 2 ounces then – much lighter than today’s heavy weight T-shirts which range from 5 to 8 ounces.

In 1938, Sears introduced a T-shirt that sold for only 24 cents. It was called a "gob" shirt or sailor shirt and was proclaimed to be either an outer garment or an undershirt. Sears' ads proclaimed: "It's practical and correct either way."

The producers of the 1939 movie classic “Wizard Of Oz,” knew before it was even released they might have a blockbuster of a film. So for the first time in the history of America, a movie was promoted on a T-Shirt. The tees proved to be almost as big a hit as the movie.

T-shirt historians insist that the army had T-shirts early in WWII, but it was really the marines who first issued the Navy-type T-shirt. It didn't take the Marines long to realize that white was an easy target, however, so the early white T-shirts were dyed brown in the field with coffee grounds. Later the men were issued sage green shirts to blend in more with their surroundings.

The army didn't actually get their own T-shirts until late into the war. A 1944 study from the Quartermaster of Clothing and Equipment for the Tropics shows that the army was still field-testing T-shirts and sleeveless undershirts to see which the men preferred. In the field test, the men preferred the T-shirt because it had a better appearance and was more comfortable due to greater absorption under the arms. They said that it was also more comfortable when worn with backpacks, and provided greater protection from sunburn. When servicemen returned from the war, the shirts came home with them, and T-shirts were here to stay

Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando
Natalie Wood & James Dean
Natalie Wood & James Dean
Paul Newman
Paul Newman

During World War II, the T-shirt was more for function than fashion. The early issue military shirts had a much wider neck and shorter sleeves than today's full cut T-shirt. They were also a much tighter fit. The tight fitting style remained much the same from the early 1900s through the 1960s.

The late 40s saw the first printed T-shirts. The Smithsonian Institute's oldest printed shirt reads "Dew-It with Dewey" -- from New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey's 1948 presidential campaign.

T-shirts in the 50s and 60s

The T-shirt got a real boost from underwear to outerwear when Marlon Brando displayed his build in a tight-fitting T-shirt in the 1951 movie, “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

Brando again set the stage as a T-shirt and jeans rebel in the 1954 movie,” The Wild One,” and James Dean continued the look in 1955 with the classic movie, “ Rebel without a Cause.”

Paul Newman, as well, flexed his T-shirted body in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" in 1958. Elvis Presley would soon appear on the world scene with his hip T-shirt and leather jacket look. "Love Me Tender" in 1956 was the first of 33 Presley films.

Marlon Brando

James Dean, Marlon Brando, Paul Newman films

About that time, T-shirt style also changed a little. The neck opening became smaller, but the tight fit remained to show off a man's physique. T-shirts were still a very masculine piece of clothing. That's when clever marketers such as Walt Disney and Roy Rogers saw the advertising potential of printed T-shirts.

In the early 1950s, innovators, Ed Rother and Carl Smith, started to screen print and airbrush T-shirts with automobile designs. Back then, the ink they used was house paint and spray paint. In the later 50s most college shirts and sport shirts were decorated with cloth letters or with "flocking," a process in which thin fibers of rayon were electrostatically embedded in an adhesive printed on the shirt. This was a very slow and messy process that did not produce long-lasting results. I remember a very old T-shirt I saw at a flea market where the flocked letter “T” had disappeared from the shirt and the graphic of Marilyn Monroe was subsequently described as “SHE IS HO …” It’s probably a collector’s item today.

T-shirt Tidbit: It takes six miles of yarn to make one T-shirt. An acre of cotton is enough to produce 1,200 tees.

Elvis wearing a T-shirt in Jailhouse Rock

Farrah Fawcett
Farrah Fawcett
Jacqueline Bisset
Jacqueline Bisset

T-shirts in the 70s and 80s

A new type of ink called "plastisol" was invented in 1959. It was durable and stretchable and contributed to the birth of modern T-shirt printing. The 1960s provided the background for statement shirts, tie-dying, and freedom of speech. The British rock 'n roll invasion and Vietnam were the perfect partners for this new culture, and the printed T-shirt was the perfect vehicle for expression. T-shirts were sold at state fairs, car shows, and festivals. The lowly T-shirt that had been a fad in the 60s suddenly grew up in the 70s.

The iron-on transfer made it easy to pick a design, pick a shirt, and combine the two using your household iron. The T-shirt store didn't exist until the early seventies. The iron-on transfer made it easy to mass-produce hundreds of different designs, and every mall and shopping center had a T-shirt shop. In the late seventies, a new photo-realistic iron-on transfer called a "litho transfer" was developed. It revolutionized the quality of the graphic images that could now be printed on T-shirts.

In 1977, more than $8 million worth of Farrah Fawcett T-Shirts were sold when she appeared on the television program, “Charlie's Angels.”

T-Shirt Tidbit: Do you know what prompted the "wet T-shirt contest”? It began after Jacqueline Bisset's appearance in the 1977 film, "The Deep." Jackie first appears swimming underwater and then surfacing, wearing a very wet, very tight, white T-Shirt and bikini bottom.

Everything changed when T-shirts became an industry in the 1980s. The great graphics craze started when artists who had ignored the T-shirt now found a new medium. T-shirts became a new marketing vehicle and the public couldn't get enough of them.

T-shirt Tidbit: 91% of Americans – men and women – claim they own a "favorite” T-Shirt.


T-shirts Today

T-shirts were originally worn as undershirts. Now T-shirts are worn frequently as the only piece of clothing on the top half of the body, other than a bra (possibly) or an undershirt.

T-shirts are typically made of cotton or polyester fibers or a mix of the two knitted together in a jersey stitch that gives them a distinctive soft texture. They typically extend to the waist.

Variants of the T-shirt, like the tank top, crew neck, A-shirt (with the nickname "wife beater"), muscle shirt, scoop neck, and the V-neck are also available. Hip hop fashion calls for "tall-T" T-shirts which may extend down to the knees. A 1990s trend in women's clothing involved tight-fitting "cropped" T-shirts that are short enough to reveal the midriff. Another popular trend is wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt and then putting a short-sleeved T-shirt of a different color over the long-sleeved shirt. This is known as "layering".

Since the 1990s, it has become common practice for companies of all sizes to produce T-shirts with their corporate logos or messages as part of their overall marketing campaigns. T-shirts with prominent designer-name logos have become popular especially with teenagers and young adults. These garments allow consumers to flaunt their taste for designer brands in an inexpensive way in addition to being decorative. Examples of designer T-shirts include Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren.

The political and social statements that T-shirts often display have become, during the 2000s, one of the reasons that they have so deeply permeated so many different levels of culture and society. These statements, often politically incorrect, may be considered offensive, shocking or pornographic by some.

The story of the message T-shirt embraces the modern phenomenon of “personal branding” indicating the wearer’s sense of humor as well as a climate in which statements - political or personal - may be catchy but not necessarily true. Notable is the popularity of political slogans and messages on T-shirts.

T-shirt Tidbit: A popular phrase on the front of T-shirts demonstrating T-shirts' popularity among tourists is the humorous phrase: "My parents went to Las Vegas (or any other destination) and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."

I won't go outside in the dirt, Without my washable tee shirt.
I won't go outside in the dirt, Without my washable tee shirt.


Think about how far we've come today. We now wear our underwear on the outside and it is socially acceptable.

We push the limits of free speech almost beyond its bounds with our politically incorrect slogans and suggestive sayings and others laugh at and often praise our selections.

Men, women, teenagers, children, babies, and yes, even pets now wear T-shirts.

Let's hear it for free speech and the privilege of living in the U.S.A.

© Copyright BJ Rakow 2011, 2013 Rev. All rights reserved.

B. J. Rakow, Ph.D., Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So." Enlightening information about interviewing, networking, writing resumes and cover letters and negotiating. But fun to read.

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Comments for History of Tshirts 116 comments

lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Yes the tee shirt is truly a historical phenomenon, but at least this one is practical, easy care, inexpensive and comfortable. What more could one want? Beats the hell out of the corset. Lynda

Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

Wonderful, engaging and funny. I think you hit all of the high points of T-shirtdom with many fascinating factoids.

(This is the kind of thing that makes many of us wish we had thought of it first.)

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

Well, what can I say...with regard to the "T-Shirt", we've come a long way, baby!...especially when the babes started wearing them. Keep on hubbin'! WB

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 6 years ago from Minnesota

I have always worn t-shirts since I can remember. I am so glad I wasn't in the days of wearing layers of clothing that was soo restrictive. It could not of been good for people or very comfortable. Thank you for a really well written article. I had a lot of fun reading it.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Lynda. I agree with you wholeheartedly; I'll take the T-shirt over the corset or any other restricting feminine garment of torture any day.

It was probably the popularity of loose-fitting, comfortable tees that led to the saying, "Let it all hang out!"

Thanks for your quick and perceptive comments; you and they are much appreciated.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Rochelle - you are a sweetie-pie. Thank you for those attractive adjectives. And your closing parenthetical remark - what a really nice thing to say!

BTW - "fascinating factoids" is a great phrase. May I use it one day? :)

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

From a masculine standpoint, Wayne, as you pointed out, the T-shirt may have been one of the greatest apparel inventions ever. Right behind the teeny weeny bikini. You keep on hubbin' and I will, too. Promise.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Linda, yes, we're lucky we're not living in the days of the ante-bellum South. Did you ever see the movie, "Gone with the Wind?" The scene with Vivien Leigh getting laced into a corset even though it appeared she had an 18" waist is hard to forget. And all those petticoats and stuff. T-shirts are a wonderful and comfortable way to go. Thank you for the sweet comments; delighted you enjoyed the read.

FindYourSearch profile image

FindYourSearch 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

You know what got me reading this hub? The fictitious opening story showing up as the hub summary - then I just couldn't stop reading! Who would have thought T-shirts could be so interesting. Hats off to your writing ability and all the extra bits-and-bobs you add to each hub.

Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

You've covered it all. Well done drbj!... I thoroughly enjoyed the read, the history and the photos. My favorite is still Brando's classic "Streetcar" costume. Of course, the filthy torn one (not shown),is a joy to behold too and literally set the stage for the classic "wife-beater" model :)!

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

We were not allowed to wear T-shirts and denims when I was a child in my parent’s home – it was regarded as “sin”. In my adult life, until about 10 years ago, I never bought them, because it appeared after the 1st wash to be sloppy and crooked. But nowadays the quality and style are perfect, so I’m wearing it with confidence and even sleep in the faded or less stylish ones. And thereafter – when I’m done with them, it become scrubbing-cloths. Long lives the T-shirt! This was a very interesting hub and voted UP.

carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

I love the alma mater shirts.. two with Fock U please... LOL

psychicdog.net profile image

psychicdog.net 6 years ago

Hilarious read. You've produced the goods again DRBJ! Thank-you.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you such a wonderful hub. I like that woman. Isn't it amazing that the t-shirt was invented in England and yet it really made its great breackthrough from the USA in the '50s.

Specialk3749 profile image

Specialk3749 6 years ago from Michigan

I love my t-shirts and jeans!! Thanks for a good interesting hub.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

I really enjoyed your T shirt article. I will saw Clark looked great without his and Brando looked great with his! Now everyone wears T shirts but I had never thought about the history of them before. Rated up!

Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 6 years ago from Los Angeles

I much appreciate the history of the T- Shirt and the way it evolved, but loved best the story of how it all started; "tea-shirt" makes perfect sense. Would love to have a Fock U T-shirt from the prestigious FoKK University if there is any left (price is irrelevant for such collectable item)

3rdeye Brand profile image

3rdeye Brand 6 years ago

The most innovated item ever made.

De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

What a mine of information you have become drbj. It must be all that education at your university. Sometimes education is the scourge of mankind! :-)

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, FYS. So you enjoyed reading the fictitious story at the beginning of this hub. Good for you, but how did you know it wasn't the real thing? Well, maybe I did go a little over the edge.

Thanks for your visit and the gracious kudos. I'm enamored of your expression, "bits and bobs." You know I'll use it in the future, too.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Always a delight to hear from you, Hillary, and happy you enjoyed my T-shirt saga. It was fun for me, too, to dredge up some of the bits and bobs (as FindYourSearch puts it) about the fascinating history of T-shirts.

And who can forget Brando in that disreputable torn T-shirt in "Streetcar Named Desire?" That's why I included the photo of him wearing a nice clean tee in "The Wild One."

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Oh, Martie, so sorry to hear about your deprived childhood. No tees and denims then, but delighted to know you are making up for that lack of casual clothing by wearing T-shirts now - even to bed. I use old ones for mopping up, too.

Thank you for stopping by and the up rating. Just goes to prove your excellent taste. :)

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Somehow, I just knew, Chris, that the Fock University tees would be especially attractive to you. Order them in quantity for Christmas gifts and the price is discounted. But hurry, there are only a few thousand left! :)

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Good to see you again, psychicdog. "Produced the goods," eh? I knew you were a discriminating, intuitive reader. And it was my pleasure. Thank you for the "hilarious" - one of my very favorite accolades.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, hello. Yes, we've imported some very significant products from the U.K. - like the Beatles, T-shirts, Sean Connery, and Elton John among others. Delighted you enjoyed this hub and thank you for the "wonderful." Your far-away-places travel hubs are wonderful, too.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, famous cereal person. You're very welcome. Happy you're happy in your T-shirts and jeans. Wouldn't have it any other way.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Pamela, for rating this "up." I agree with you, Gable looked great without his shirt and his lack of an undershirt in that movie definitely created a ripple in the undershirt business at the time. But then guys started wearing T-shirts in the 40s and this new business made up for the temporary loss or income previously.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Petra - I knew my tea-shirt story would appeal to your aesthetic side. Yes, the Fock University t-shirts are selling like hotcakes. Now I'm just wishing they would sell like t-shirts! :) Price is irrelevant? Guess I should start charging more.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Nice to meet you, 3rdeye Brand. It's not difficult to guess from your avatar that you would consider T-shirts as the most innovative item ever made. But then I tend to agree with you. Thanks for the visit.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Yes, dear Dimi - we at Fokk or Fock University tend to be avant garde and on the cusp of whatever is new and innovative in today's world.

And if education is the scourge of mankind then it does not apply to womenkind. We adore innovation.

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Awesome of course. I like men wearing the T-shirt of Marlon Brando, hugging shirt. Maita

ACSutliff profile image

ACSutliff 6 years ago


Where do I get my Fock U Tea Shirt?! (Loved that story about the tea~!) To think, such a louse actually attended Fock U! I hope his wife did beam him with the log.

This is an impressive account of famous people whose lives have been altered by the t-shirt. And it all started with a onesie! I was especially surprised to find out that the wet t-shirt concept has been around for such a long time. Jee, thanks a lot Jackie....

I'm curious, do you plan another hub about the history of jeans? Most people wear t-shirts and jeans, and the combo would match perfectly. I'd love to read another fun history lesson by you!

PS: You have made me look at Elvis in a whole new way.

sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

So the navy put sailors in T-shirts to cover their chest hair. I think it's best not to let that information out. Imagine the money saved if they decide tomorrow to simply tell sailors they have to shave their chests!

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

Well done as always and gotta love those tees....my favorite one was one I had made up for Bob one year when he coached our son's baseball team. He was having fits with all the parents and their blasted opinions every minute on what he should do, who he should play.

Being the boldy that I am, I went down to the local mart and had one printed up in big letters....All the best coaches are in the stands.....

Didn't make a lot of friends that summer but at least it shut them up!

God didn't you just love Newman in a tee shirt? Sigh...Brando too until he got so bloody fat!

epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

...I am now the proud owner of a brand new T-shirt with the caption on the front: "It's DRBJ or it's no way at all" ....... people stop me in the street and tell me yes it's not what you know but who you know!!!!

epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

..this is such a great hub of the highest order my friend that you will receive 3 comments on it: this is comment #2:

I admire people like you who can put together an essential hub like this with so much effort and detail.

As Johnny Carson (and his sidekick) once said - 'everything you want to know about the T-shirt

is in this hub right here' - essential says the epigramman.

epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

Comment #3: Jacqueline Bisset in a wet t-shirt - need I say more - thank god my eyes are still working - this is hub heaven indeed - and like they say - a woman's greatest asset is a man's imagination!

And you managed to include the famous episode about the T-shirt and Clark Gable - where the sales of the undershirt went down after that movie ...... so I say to you once again - I nominate this hub in 2010 as one of the great ones - so look forward to its inclusion as one of the top ten hubs of 2010 ....along with the nine of the hubs I have done - lol lol lol

...and speaking of those little rascals - you put a lot of time and effort in your hubs - I just write a few words here and there - so you are a true - and a new word here just invented for you: hubsmith.

Yes you are a true hubsmith!

(and not just because Jacqueline has her headlights on)

....thanks as always for making MY day and making your hall of fame comments - life, as I said to HELLO HELLO would not be the same without you!

p.s. - and I guess you are aware of your poetic twin (not just me naturally) but JUST EXPLORING - another great poem champ!

Sweetsusieg profile image

Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

Well ho on earth can I follow that? I think epigramman just about said it all. Except for the part of Jacqueline Bisset.. My eyes didn't catch that sort of thing, but then again since I'm a girl I wasn't looking!

One again you have managed to capture it all! I am truly glad to have found you and your wonderful Hubs. The tidbits of information you impart make me feel just a little bit smarter every day!

Thanks for keeping those neurons working!

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 6 years ago from Sweden

Great hub, both informativ and fun! And I can not help thinking that history repeats itself and that more iteems that have been regarded as underwear comes out in the light. Such as tights or leggings. Some of them are so thin and girls wear them without anything above as if they have forgotten the skirt! Lovely hub! I especially liked the story at the beginning.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

I do agree with you, Maita. Men - good looking and buff - wearing tight T-shirts are a sight for sore eyes. Now there's an old saying that makes no sense at all. If your eyes are sore, you should be resting them not ogling guys ... or Jackie Bisset.

Thanks for the visit, m'dear, and the "awesome."

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, AC. Actually the tea shirt man was too much of a "fokker" even for Fokk U. He never survived the admissions test. The Fokk Shirt he had appropriated from his son who was a genuine Fokker.

After learning that Jackie Bisset was the stimulus for wet T-shirt contests, I have begun looking at her in a different way. Imagine being remembered historically as the stimulus for such a popular avocation!

I like creating fun history lessons (like "Doughnuts are Good for You" and "Chocolate Chip Cookies" - the invention of) so I'll investigate jeans as you suggested.

The "Fock U" T-shirts are actually available from the Zazzle link below. Thanks for your interest, your visit and your meaningful comments.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, sheila.

Wasn't that just about the most stupid idea the Navy ever had? If the naval "powers" were so sensitive to men in the navy displaying their hairy chests, isn't it peculiar they never supported the cause of adding more material to the extremely tight-fitting pants that sailors wear? :)

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I lived in T-shirts or scrubs before I got so fat like Marlon Brando. Before that, I looked as good as he did! Wish I could go back to having a great body again. Now I just have the old t-s and scrubs. Thankfully they stretch out with age, just like me! Hey! Elvis was POLE dancing!

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sord87 6 years ago

Never know t-shirt had so much history before it was born.Good information!great sharing,TQ

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Now there's an idea for a viable business, Audrea. You could create more tees like the one you had made for Bob and sell them to Little League baseball coaches across the U.S. I'm sure that authoritative parents like those he encountered are everywhere. You would make a fortune - perhaps not from the parents - but certainly from the coaches who would proudly wear them.

No need to pay me for this idea. I'll just take a cut of the gross.

I'm with you on how studly Marlon and Paul looked in those T-shits. True, Brando did start to resemble Orson Welles, but Paul Newman, bless his heart with those beautiful blue eyes, was hunky to the end.

Thanks as always for your clever input.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

So . . . people stop you in the street, epi, when you wear that T-shirt? Just make sure they are not armed!

And you are on the mark that it's not just what you know but who you know, and maybe even more crucial, who knows you!

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

I needed a separate comment box, Epi, to respond to that effulgent and lavish, but not undeserved of course, praise in your comment #2.

When I first decided to write a hub on T-shirts I didn't know if there was enough history and other facts available to make it more interesting and hopefully humorous than just a mere apparel recitation. But the more I learned, the more I laughed. Tee history I discovered is inherently funny.

So thank you, epi, for "highest order" and other brilliant comments. It takes one to know one, eh!

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

epi - I included that photo of Jackie not only because of its relevance but its "eye-candy" appeal to red-blooded males like yourself. That one was for you.

I included the photo and video of Clark Gable for me. And Marlon, And Paul. And Elvis' video.

Thank you for the new cognomen - hubsmith - that's very classy. And as far as making your day, that's a two-way street. Thank you for writing such thought-provoking poetry which prompts me as well as others to attempt to match poetic wits with you.

I'm honored and delighted to be a part of your HP life, Colin.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, susie, Believe me, I'm even happier than you that the neurons are still on the job.

Happy you enjoyed the T-shirt tidbits and other tee tomfoolery. It was my pleasure to unearth all that history.

Thank you for being a faithful follower.

Oh, and just for fun, go back and take a look at Jackie again.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hello, thoughtforce, how nice to meet you. It is strange, isn't it, how apparel that was once hidden from view is now displayed as outerwear. We even design catchy sayings for our tees so other people will be sure to notice them.

And I have noticed that tight leggings seem to be back in style again - just for women so far.

Thank you for finding me and I'm delighted you appreciated my slight variation of history with the telling of the "tea shirt."

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Lela. Aren't stretchable T-shirts just the greatest invention? They can cover up a multitude of sins including too many chocolate chip cookies and doughnuts. (Unabashed plugs for my hubs on "Chocolate Chip Cookies" and "Doughnuts are Good for You.")

You noticed! Yummy Elvis WAS pole dancing in "Jailhouse Rock."

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, sord, thanks for stopping by.

Me, too. I never realized there were so many interesting facts about the birth of the T-shirt until I began researching it. Now they have taken over the world!

Thanks for the kind comments. Believe me, the pleasure was mine.

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

I love this hub. Especially you told to us how the story of t-shirt begun. I learn much from you, my friend. Sometimes we just wearing, but never thought where this stuff came from. Very informative hub. Good work, my friend. Vote up.


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drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, prasetio, it is always nice to see you at my hubs because your comments are sincere and I believe from the heart.

I agree with you. Most of the time we never consider how things came to be - we just accept them. Thank you for the very kind words and the up rating. Namaste.

2besure profile image

2besure 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Don't you just love 18th and 19th century underwear. The onezie just crack me up. Thanks for the informative history of the tee shirt!

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

I agree with epigrammans comment regarding this amazing hub. Here's to a nomination for one of the great hubs for 2010. It is the best article I have read full of information and wonderful photos. I have learned so much from you. The history of the t-shirt - who would have thought? Thank you for writing such an interesting hub and for being you.

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drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, 2besure. Like you, I'm happy with the evolution of the T-shirt. Those onezies are cute on kiddies but for adults - NOT! Delighted you enjoyed the history of the T-shirt - it was my pleasure.

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drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hello, Audrey - thanks for visiting. Wow - now I have two nominations. You're much too kind - but also perceptive. :)

I was amazed myself at how much interesting info I could find about T-shirts. Just as you said, who knew?

Believe me, the pleasure has been all mine - and the best part is encountering and bantering with literate hubbers like yourself.

Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 6 years ago from The Fatal Shore

Terific work drbj. This is indeed the definitive T-shirt hub and I agree with Rochelle...wish I'd thought of it first!

How interesting that the Wizard of Oz produced a promo T-shirt..gee I bet that's a valuable collectable.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Jane. Thanks for the approbation. You and your perceptive comments are much appreciated. It's nice to be "definitive."

You are spot on about the value of that Oz T-shirt. It would probably be close to #1 in any T-shirt collector's collectible collection. The number one spot would probably be an original - never worn, of course - onesie!

jacobkuttyta profile image

jacobkuttyta 6 years ago from Delhi, India

Thanks for sharing the story of T Shirt

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TattoGuy 6 years ago

Jacqueline Bisset's T shirt gets my vote, deff a nippy day ; )

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, jacob, nice to see ya. And thanks for your thanks. It is genuinely my pleasure!

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drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

I just knew, Art, that you being such a connoisseur of beautiful women, Jackie's photo would get your vote. A nippy day? You devil, you!

katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Fantastic, light hearted and very informative. I love t-shirts and now even more so that I have new found knowledge on the history of T-Shirts. Nice layout and the videos are a wonderful addition. My twelve year old will love the video of how to make a t-shirt with a dollar bill, she makes rings now. Thanks for the delightful subject matter we can all relate to and enjoy while relaxing in a nice cozy t-shirt! :)

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

I love t-shirts, too, katie, they are lightweight, comfortable, inexpensive, machine washable and here in my neck of the woods (south Florida), acceptable for almost every occasion except weddings and funerals. Note: I did spot a teenager who was a wedding guest wearing a T-shirt with the front printed to look like a tuxedo shirt and tie.

No one seemed to mind.

Delighted that your lovely daughter will learn to make T-shirts out of dollar bills. As long as she doesn't try to pass them as 10s or 20s.

Thanks for the comments; your pleasure is my pleasure.

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

I was 19 in 1977 and remember Farrah Fawcett and especially Jacqueline Bisset in 'The Deep' quite well. As a teen I also wore tight t-shirts that showed off all those muscles I sported on my 118 pound frame, much in the style of Brando and Dean.

As an adult, I've run a small side business selling hand-painted t-shirts. I don't do it a lot because the return on my time investment isn't always good, but occasionally someone will pay well to get a "Lickteig original."

Thanks for the hub, I always enjoy your informative articles, laced with your sense of humor. Have a good Sunday.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Mike, Happy Sunday to you, too. I'm visualizing you as a slender hunk of a guy in your tight, tight T-shirt. Wouldn't be surprised if you had to fight off all the girls seeking your attention.

Have you considered advertising your hand-painted tees online? A Lickteig original sounds like a good investment to me.

Thank you for your charming comments; the pleasure is mine.

Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago

Awesome job on this hub. I really needed a good laugh. It really is amazing when you look back and see the progression of the Tshirt.


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Sage, for the "awesome job" comment. It's my second favorite adjective ranking right after "brilliant." Delighted I provided the laughter; we don't get enough of it on a daily basis. Thank you for stopping by.

tracykarl99 profile image

tracykarl99 6 years ago from San Francisco

drbj, After seeing your great pick of the "Jailhouse Rock" video, I feel like doing a hub on the invention of the Moon Walk! Now I know! An excellent hub - really funny, informative and action-packed:) Thanks!

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, tracykarl, good to have you visit. The Jailhouse Rock is one of my favorite Presley videos, too. Thanks for the great comments. Wow - funny, informative and action-packed. You have made my day. And the pleasure is all mine.

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SilverGenes 6 years ago

Fabulous from beginning to end, including all the comments! The T-shirt is one of the best inventions ever. Not only are they comfortable, convenient and affordable, men look gorgeous in them! My eyes are still glued to that pic of Paul Newman! Love it!

saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Well what more can one add about the Fokking t-shirt. Thank goodness for the tea flinging event way back then we may never have made it out of those dark ages. The Tee must definitely be honored and adorned, for without it many starlets like some you place above would not be as remembered as they are today. Marlon B, James D, Montgomery C, Paul N and Robert Mitch and Redford just a few to mention but many more could be added,these are just a few of my heroes that come to mind.

I have worn the Tee since boyhood and I would fight to death if ever a man tried to steal my Tee's. I live in my Tee's, jeans and cowboy boots and tip my hat to every cowboy riding the range like Wayne Brown and so many other dudes.

Like our country we stand up for our Tee's, guns and women folk. Thank you Drbj for respecting the garment of choice for so many real men:0))

PaperNotes profile image

PaperNotes 6 years ago

Wow, I love wearing T-shirts but I never knew so much about it till I read this hub. Thanks for the information.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

I knew we had so much in common, Alexandra, I loved that Newman guy, too. He was hunkable - especially in a tee - and a good actor to boot.

I agree, T-shirts are one of the most useful and comfortable garments ever invented. Thanks for the visit and the "fabulous" adjective. So are you.

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drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Ken, thanks for moseying over this way, pardner. And you are so right. The T-shirt deserves our accolades because it is so uniquely American and beloved by strong, manly men and beautiful womanly women.

Can you imagine the sight if tees had never been invented? We might all be running around in public in our cut-off onesie union suits!

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Good to see you, PaperNotes, welcome to the T-shirt wearing club. I appreciate your visit and am happy you are now so well informed about tees. No thanks are necessary. It was definitely my pleasure.

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

What an awesome Hub. I've learned more about Tshirts than I ever thought possible. And enjoyed so much of the tongue-in-cheek along the way.

It's one of those nice slices of life. Something we take for granted every day and never think about where it came from or why we use it. Like toilet tissue...might that be the next Hub? :)

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

What a CHARMIN idea, ST, a hub about the invention of toilet tissue? I may just SCOTT around to learn what I can find. Thanks for the heads-up. Or is it bottoms-up?

And thanks for the visit and the lovely comments: "awesome" and "tongue-in-CHEEK" are my two of my favorites.

Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Your choice of an iconic piece of American history, that remains a staple in the American fashion industry, is brilliant. Your choice of photos was perfect and could not have been accomplished with more aplomb than a topnotch marketing pro! I wish I had the flea market Monroe "She is Ho" T. You did your research, yet infused the facts with your fabulous personal style of writing, creating a supremely interesting read. Thanks for all the facts in an easy. fascinating read with invaluable comic value. A masterpiece of a hub.

izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

Totally entertaining, clever, humorous, brilliant. Did I miss an adjective? That was great! Thank you for including my favorite guys of the past in t-shirts. Something about a guy in a white t-shirt and blue jeans- yummy! Proabably as good as a woman in a wet one. Now I know a little more about the t-shirt. "To cover chest hair"- that's awesome! I always end up learning and laughing with your hubs!

Springboard profile image

Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

Excellent hub, as always, Drbj. And I like the way you sort of incorporated Fokk U into it. :) Amazing that such a simple thing in life, and something one rarely thinks much about, could have so much history behind it. In a way, the T-shirt is as much about American culture as it is about anything.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Amy, for your very literate and complimentary comments - it's my pleasure to have you visit. Especially since you have literally run the gamut with approbatory adjectives: "brilliant, perfect, with aplomb, supremely interesting ... a masterpiece." They don't get any better than that.

No thanks are necessary, the pleasure, m'dear, was all mine. Come back anytime and bring your laudable, linguistic lexicon with you.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, izettl, I'm delighted that you found this information "entertaining, clever, humorous and brilliant." I would be pleased with any one of those luscious adjectives, but all four - my cup runneth over.

I agree with your hunk assessment - guys in T-shirts and jeans can be "yummy." Happy when you learn and laugh; that's my goal.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

So, Jim, you noticed my sly inclusion of Fokk University - I just can't let a good thing go. I agree with you that T-shirts are uniquely a part of American culture - even an iconic piece of our history as Amy so correctly commented.

What surprised me the most when researching this hub, was how much information I found that was new to me.

Thank you for visiting and your gracious comments.

twentyfive profile image

twentyfive 6 years ago

LMAO I almost believed you (with the invention of T-shirt) That is so informative and entertaining at the same time ;) I likee!

lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 6 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

Every hub I read of yours is better and better! You are a wealth of information. You had me cracking up in the beginning with the tea. You do have a way with words. Now I have to say that the invention of the t-shirt was great for men. Nothing is more sexy than seeing a man in a white t-shirt and a pair of jeans. And the pic you have up there of Marlon Brando in his t-shirt........OOOOOOOOWWWEEEEEEEEEEEE! That is one sexy pic. I may have to go take another look after writing this comment. Great Hub!!!!!!!!!!!

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, twentyfive. So I gotcha? At least for a moment! Thanks for the "informative and entertaining" - that's my goal. You likee this hub? I likee you!

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Good morning, Lisa. What a pleasure to see you here and thank you, thank you for the generous (albeit true) comments.

You may have discovered one of life's Great Truths: hunky-looking men look even studlier in white, tight T-shirts. I'm with you there. Always appreciated Brando in his tees and Paul Newman was right up there with him.

bayareagreatthing profile image

bayareagreatthing 6 years ago from Bay Area California

drbj- WOW- who knew? I love random stuff like this :) The video was cool. I don't know if I could pull it off, but an origami t-shirt...so fun! Thanks for the history lesson.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, BAG - so good to see you here and on HP again - you've been missed.

Thanks for the "cool" comment - the pleasure, believe me, was all mine.

If you like random history, visit my hubs on "Doughnuts," or "Chocolate Chip Cookies," or "Obesity is Widespread," or "MSG and Fat Rats," or "Amazing Benefits of Beer," and let me know whatcha think.

wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY

drbj - I think I save your Hubs when I can sit and really take it all it. You have yet to let me down for no one tells it like you. And just to let you know I am waiting for my acceptance to Fokk University and I am still waiting for my shirt delivery for I will wear the F.U. tee like no other :)

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Dear Shari - what a lovely comment that you save these hubs until you can really take them all in. You are certainly a BFF, girlfriend.

You have been accepted to Fokk U even if you do not receive emailed confirmation. Our Admissions Dept. has been swamped since their Wang went down. But our IT dept. is working on the problem and the Wang should be up again shortly.

billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

This is a great story of something we take for granted - the iconic white T Shirt - Brando and Bissett got the show rolling I think - could you imagine life without an easy comfortable T to put on?

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

You are so right, billy, we wear the indispensable T-shirt for every occasion from leisure wear to parties (with a jacket over it) to bedtime. Who knew they would become so vital to our well-being, not to mention our economy.

Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

It's amazing how T shirts, once underwear, became THE shirt to wear for every day use. We are so much more casual now than they were back in the day!

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

It is strange how habits of dress change, Dolores. Nowadays, casual seems to rule the world. And as you point out, now we wear our undershirts on the outside! :)

I appreciate your visiting.

Wrath Warbone profile image

Wrath Warbone 6 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio

What a fun article! And that Elvis clip sure put a smile in my creases!

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

I'm delighted that the Elvis video "put a smile in your creases." What an ingenious, original comment. Thanks for visiting and enjoying this "fun article." You are appreciated.

FuzzyCookie profile image

FuzzyCookie 6 years ago

Never gave a thought about who/when tees were invented.. You've done quite a research .. wow concealing sailor's chest hair .. hilariously interesting.

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, FuzzyCookie, me neither. Like you, I never gave much thought as to how T-shirts came about, but once I started researching was amazed at how much info I found.

Imagine - the navy wanted to conceal manly chest hair! What a revelation. Thanks for he visit and the "hilariously interesting."

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

This was very surprisingly funny and awesomely useful. I never doubted your ability to write but I was delightfully surprised. I liked the video of how to make a T-shirt out of a "bill". I may do up a "five" or "ten" as well as some "ones" to leave for ~tips~ occasionally. Thank you drbj!

drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Micky, for being "delightfully surprised" by my "surprisingly funny" and "awesomely useful" hub. You have made my day.

Let me know how your version of the T-shirt bill comes out. No thanks are necessary, it is my awesome pleasure! :)

carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Thank heaven for T-shirts... and for Fokk University, too !!!! :-)

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

What would we do without t-shirts, Chris? A lot of folks I know would have no wardrobe whatsoever without them.

Thanks for finding this t-shirt history and also for appreciating Fokk U. We're preparing now for the next term. Are you all in?

carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

what? no Pink Floyd t-shirt? :-D

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Could not include Pink Floyd, Chris, cause all the other t-shirts would have turned green with envy or red with anger. Sorry! :)

Pharmc781 3 years ago

Hello! kdgcegb interesting kdgcegb site! I'm really like it! Very, very kdgcegb good!

PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

What wardrobe is complete without a t-shirt collection? I loved this one and found it entertaining and funny. Thank you for the link to my hub on folding T Shirts. I hope you don't mind a link capsule to your hub within mine? They seem well suited.

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Sorry about the delay acknowledging you comment, Pharmc - still trying to decipher it. Had no problem, y'know, with the 'very, very good.'

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

You are so right, Peg, t-shirts have become an indispensable part of almost everyone's wardrobe. Even those with strange slogans. Yes, by all means, put a link in your hub as I did with yours. 'Well suited,' indeed!

Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 3 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Nice hub about t-shirts and history.

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Sandy, had to catch myself not to put & in front of your name. Thanks for the kind words.

Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 3 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Funny with the & part.

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

I know. It becomes such a part of your bubblin' life that you do it almost as a reflex.

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