Where would we be without a T-shirt? It’s the most adaptable piece of clothing in any wardrobe. It’s devoid of class, occasion or sex. It’s the ‘take you anywhere’ essential for everyone of every age. The United States navy began issuing the T-shirt as undershirts in 1913. Then came the 1950s. Marlon Brando wore one as an outer garment in A Streetcar Named Desire and there was no looking back
Soon after came James Dean in Rebel without a Cause.
The T-shirt then became a stand-alone item having achieved fashionable status. It spoke of sex and rock n roll. Teenage rebellion all wrapped up with plenty of attitude.
The T-shirt’s commercial potential was soon to follow. Having merged into the mainstream, corporations such as Coca-Cola and Disney applied their logos on to tees for both sexes. Screen printing enabled them to become bill boards for political messages, graphic design and humour. By the 1970s the trend had accelerated and fashion designers like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein created T-shirts that were unisex.
Its simplicity and adaptability was quickly taken up. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was one of many fashion icons and entertainment stars to harness its potential.
Whilst there’s a T-shirt for every occasion or expression, it can make or break an outfit if not worn right. The wardrobe is best served with several white and black T-shirts, punctuated with the odd grey and navy ones.
Always present on the catwalk it’s celebrated and embraced by every designer.
We owe this simple item so much. Dressed up or down it has no boundaries.