History of T-Shirts

The History of T-shirts

Madan KumarNov 30, '21

T-shirts, we’ve all worn one. Kids, adults, men, women, mothers, fathers, uncles, and aunts, it’s counter-intuitive to think that there is anybody on this planet who hasn’t worn one. If words like easy, hassle-free, and comfortable were apparel, then it’s to imagine that they could all be t-shirts. T-shirts have become the go-to fast-fashion choice for the majority of human civilization. This article is a homage, a tribute to the greatness of t-shirts. We’ve taken this “blessing of a dressing” for granted and in this article, we’ll take a deeper dive into how these came to be, and the story of their evolution as we know them today. As it's recorded in the pages of time.

It’s important to touch base on the history of clothing before we get to the specifics of t-shirts. We've heard how the fruit of knowledge corrupted Adam and Eve and how they had to cover themselves because shame kicked in. This is the oldest written and printed 

Document of the history of how we started to cover ourselves. While it might be hard to authenticate the accuracy of this event and its timeline, the next best thing is to trace the oldest artifacts found by archaeologists. 

History of Clothing

The oldest recorded fibers for textiles are dated to be 34,000 years old but the oldest recorded piece of clothing was excavated in 1913 by archaeologists near Cairo. This ( prehistoric t-shirt doppelganger) linen Tarkhan dress is carbon-dated to be 5,000 years old[1] and these old designs similar to a t-shirt are generally referred to as Tunics.

First T-Shirt Image

Birth of T-shirts

In the early 19th century, the U.S navy started giving one piece union suits to be worn as undergarment beneath their uniforms. The design was soon cut into two with shorter tops and in 1920 “t-shirt” was inducted into the English dictionary for the very first time. They were then almost exclusively used underneath “proper” clothes.

Modern day T-shirts

Between 1920 and 1938 t-shirts took the shape of the plain t-shirts as we know them today. In the mid-20th century, these t-shirts transitioned from undergarment to general-use casual clothing. They were being associated with a movement of rebellion and heroic masculinity. Slowly the trend took on and with the advent of printing mechanisms between the 1960s and 1980s, some of the earliest design embellishments on t-shirts like the “Do it with Dewey” campaign started to gain more and more popularity. Hollywood did its thing and brought t-shirts to the forefront of pop-culture. More and more actors started flaunting these apparels and the general public followed suit. 

Modern-day T-Shirts

New Designs and Uses

Tie-dyes became extremely popular and bands like the rolling stones put their world famous tongue logo on t-shirts for fans to wear. Many bands made use of the popularity of these t-shirts and today at most live venues and events, you can see fans rooting for their favorite bands in these t-shirts. It was only a matter of time before t-shirts made their way to fashion weeks and prestigious ramps. T-shirts became household items. Many businesses and corporate companies have started using T-shirts for branding and creating awareness about their products and services.

New Designs on T-Shirt

Final stage of Universal Acceptance

Even though it took a lot longer for t-shirts to be accepted as office wear, companies with lenient dressing policies saw a huge rise in office goers feeling cosy and warm in this unisex attire. Schools too started accepting t-shirts as uniforms.

School T-Shirts

Today there is a t-shirt for every occasion, a t-shirt style for any event, and a comfortable put-on for all sexes. They can speak your mind, organise your team while making you look great. What are some of your favorite t-shirt stories? Let us know in the comments and if it inspires us enough we may make a t-shirt based on that. If you or your team need custom T-shirts with a message or logo for any occasion, just go to gubbacci website and design it yourself in less than 2 minutes.


  1. https://aatcc.org/exploring-the-oldest-fabrics-in-existence/

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