The Good Tee Unravels The History Of A T-Shirt

Woman wearing a t-shirt. The Good Tee Unravels The History Of A T-Shirt
We can all agree that no wardrobe is complete without a good basic t-shirt, right? It’s a wardrobe staple that is gender neutral, perfect for every age group, comfortable yet chic and can be styled in so many different ways. Since time immemorial a simple t-shirt has been making a fashion statement like none other, and it has never gone out  of style. How did this timeless wardrobe staple evolve? We at The Good Tee made it our mission to find out, here’s what we unravelled.


The First Glimpse of The T-shirt

The origins of the t-shirt date back to the 19th century when the US Navy personnel  started wearing them as standard undershirts. Before that they were usually cut out of jumpsuits and worn by labourers to keep cool during the warm months. The t-shirt business boomed in 1901 when the P.H. Hanes Knitting Company began producing men’s underwear and undershirts. The actual term “t-shirt” didn’t get inducted in the English dictionary until 1920. Then in 1938, the American retailer Sears launched their own version of the early t-shirt called a Gob and it could be worn as an undergarment, as well as an outer garment. It was considered an all-purpose t-shirt.
Man in the navy wearing t-shirt
Bachelor undershirtSears catalog excerpt selling t-shirt styled undershirt

Rise to Fame

The t-shirt was slowly becoming acceptable as an outer-garment by the 1950s and it wasn’t until Hollywood actors began donning t-shirts in public that they began to gain popularity. Remember the gorgeous Marlon Brando in A Street Car Named Desire and James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause? Both actors sported t-shirts to portray their characters’ rebelliousness and it soon became a raging fashion trend among their fans. By the 1960s the classic  t-shirt appealed to more and more actors, singers, musicians, writers, and intellectuals of all genders.
James Dean wearing the classic t-shirt
Marlon Brando wearing classic t-shirt


Making a statement

During the 1960s, printing and tie-dying emerged and wearing different bright colors and patterns became very popular. T-shirts became a means of self-expression through art prints and slogans. In the 1970s and 1980s, customized t-shirts were on the rise. More companies found t-shirts to be a powerful tool for sales and branding. It soon became a blank slate for messages, whether it was  political or commercial.
Popular styled graphic t-shirts
burn your problems graphic t-shirtfriends mothers daughters visionaries queens rulers women graphic t-shirt


The wardrobe staple

Today, the t-shirt has become a wardrobe staple, an essential garment worn around the world. T-shirts are more trendy and fashionable than ever, depending on how you want to wear them and how they fit into your own personal style. Earlier it was acceptable as an out-of-work attire but today it is easily styled for a formal business look too. They’re styled in various ways to keep up with fashion trends and are definitely a timeless garment to have. There are truly so many different and unique ways to style a classic tee.
t-shirts in a drawerinfluencer wearing band graphic tee
Man and woman wearing classic white t-shirts


Sustainable Tees

The t-shirt evolved with the changing times and so did fashion practices. We have come a long way in the fashion industry and today have reached an era where information and awareness about sustainable and slow fashion is widely available. The destruction caused by fast fashion to the planet and the environment is horrific and it is about time that slow and  sustainable fashion is more widely accepted. We are proud that we are doing our part by turning the timeless t-shirt into a sustainable garment that is not only good for the people and the planet, but also a perfect style statement. The Good Tees are made of 100% organic cotton, with eco-friendly GOTS-certified dyes, using 71% less water, and supports the livelihoods of the entire supply chain from farmers to factory workers. Now that’s true evolution in fashion, isn’t it?
The Good Tee Fave & Fair Unisex Tee Three Pack White Grey BlackThe Fave & Fair Unisex Tee White
The Good Tee Fave & Fair Unisex Tee Collection on hangers
From its humble beginnings , the t-shirt has certainly evolved into a great,  flexible tool for self expression, a style statement, a comfortable second skin, and definitely a timeless piece which is here to stay for years to come. ‘Sew’ feel sexy in your new favourite organic cotton tee and know that it will always make you look and feel good, no matter what season.
aakriti sethi

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