How T-shirts Gave Birth to Mainstream Casual Wear

How T-shirts Gave Birth to Mainstream Casual Wear

Few garments are as versatile or as comfortable as the common t-shirt. Its influence on acceptable mainstream casual wear has been more significant than perhaps any other garment in history. While this may only be a matter of opinion, it’s hardly debatable and few would disagree. The common t-shirt has become a vital piece of today’s wardrobe. Printed or graphic, v-neck or crew there’s a style for everyone. Chances are you own several and quite possibly wear them often. Today we can choose from a variety of colors and materials, but it wasn’t always that way.

Men’s Skivvies Birth T-shirts

After the industrial revolution, Cooper Underwear Company began separating the top and bottom half of their long underwear ultimately giving birth to the iconic t-shirt. The first t-shirts were light, weighing 2 ounces or less and they weren’t made exclusively of cotton. Earlier renditions incorporated the use of silk, wool, or even flannel to make them last longer.  At the turn of the 20th century, the US Navy adopted the t-shirt as part of their uniform consequently making them prominent among veterans. Even as their popularity spread, t-shirts were still only worn by men. They were thin and form-fitting to show off the male physique.

Evolution to the Currency of Cool

T-shirts were originally marketed to bachelors as undershirts. They were a matter of convenience for single men who didn’t know how to sew or secure buttons to clothing. In 1939 the first promotional t-shirt was produced for the movie Wizard of Oz. Nearly a decade later, New York Governor Thomas Dewey had “Dew-It with Dewey” promotional t-shirts printed for his presidential campaign. A few years after that the great Marlin Brando rose to stardom for his role in A Streetcar Named Desire where he played a working-class salesman sporting a fitted white crew neck t-shirt. This caused a nationwide spike in t-shirt sales just before plastisol was introduced to the t-shirt printing world.

Moving Modern

The 1960s marked a seismic shift in the fashion world and the cultural revolution. Pants finally became mainstream for women who also began adopting t-shirts for everyday wear. Screen printing was common, the tie-dye was born, and the standard t-shirt infiltrated vernacular wardrobe.

Fast forward fifty years and nearly everyone wears t-shirts. They may convey a sense of casual, an emotional connection, or both. Big or small, plain or printed, the t-shirt can be a blank canvas or a walking message board. We put them on babies, wear them around the house, and dress them up to make a fashion statement. Not only have t-shirts played an unforgettable role in the evolution of mainstream casual wear but they have become an integral part of the modern wardrobe. Just as the garment itself has become essential, so too has the selection and quality at Five Dollar T-Shirts. Browse our inventory, replenish your wardrobe, and rest easy knowing that Five Dollar T-Shirts has you covered.