A T-shirt (or t shirt, or t) is a style of unisex fabric shirt, named after the T shape of the body and sleeves. It is normally associated with short sleeves, a round neckline, known as a crew neck, with no collar. T-shirts are generally made of a light, inexpensive fabric, and are easy to clean.

Tshirts emerged in the United States when they were issued by the U.S. Navy sometime between the Spanish American War in 1898 and 1913. First, the one-piece union suit underwear was cut into separate top and bottom garments, with the top long enough to tuck under the waistband of the bottoms. With and without buttons, they were adopted by miners and stevedores during the late 19th century as a convenient covering for hot environments.

Soon it was adopted by the Army as part of the standard issue ensemble given to recruits. It got its iconic name from its shape resembling the letter “T”. Dockworkers, farmers, miners, and construction type workers also adopted the T-shirt preferring the lightweight fabric in hotter weather conditions.

By the 1920’s “T-shirt” had become an official American-English word in the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.

The earliest printed shirts were perhaps the tees in the Wizard of Oz (photo above) and also the highly sought-after collectible tee made for promoting the 1939 film The Wizard of OZ (no photo available).


First Words Printed on a T-shirt Life Cover 1942 above.

In the 1960s, printed T-shirts gained popularity for self-expression as well for advertisements, protests, and souvenirs. Modern versions of tshirts are available in many different designs and fabrics, and styles include crew-neck and V-neck shirts. T-shirts are arguably the most worn clothing to date.

Culled from Wikipedia