What is the short history of T-shirts? T-shirts have been a part of the American fabric (pun intended) since the turn of the 20th century. As early as 1913 the USC football team wore the cotton garment under pads to reduce chafing. The US Navy introduced them around the same period. “The idea of the T-shirt came to the USA during WWI when US soldiers noticed the light cotton undershirts European soldiers were using while the US soldiers sweated in their wool uniforms. Since they were so much more comfortable, they quickly became popular among the Americans, and because of their design, they got the name T-shirt. During WWII the T-shirt had become standard issue underwear in both the U.S. Army and Navy.” — Yahoo Answers  By WWII cotton T’s became the unofficial casual wear of our armed forces. Here’s more on the short history of T-shirts.

A Streetcar and the T-shirt

In 1951 Marlon Brando popularized T-shirts to the general public and particularly the youth of America when he wore a T-shirt in “Streetcar Named Desire.” In the 1960’s T-shirts transcended being an undergarment or even being causal wear — they became wearable art with T’s from Andy Warhol and psychedelic artist Peter Max.

I Know its Only Rock & Roll

Rock & Roll bands including the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Grateful Dead all were early adopters of using T-shirts to advertise their music. Tie-dye, embroidery, airbrushed images, and appliqués all became T-shirt experiments. In the early 1970’s New York City promoted a “Visit New York” campaign – I Love New York using traditional media, song, and T-shirts, which opened the door to Tees as an advertising medium.

High Fashion

In this day and age, it’s hard to think of an industry that doesn’t promote through T-shirts. In the early 1980’s T-shirts became high fashion when Don Johnson wore T’s under an Armani suit on the hit TV series Miami Vice.  Tees are comfortable, inexpensive, and expressive. T-Shirts have become works of art, fashion icons, and a way of endorsing your favorite team, band, or industry. T-shirts are part of the American culture. I’d bet you’re wearing one right now, are you?

Is Your Branded T-shirt in the History Book?

Does your organization have its own T-shirt? Is your business part of the short history of T-shirts? If not why not? T-shirts make great giveaways because people keep them and wear them. T-shirts are wearable billboards for your brand. Employees enjoy wearing them to work, and they’re a great way to introduce a new product, kick off an event, or share at a trade show. If you‘d like to learn more about branded T-shirts Contact Us. And if you’d like to view a few hundred T-shirts click here — T-Shirts TKO Marketing Solutions.