the humble t-shirt through the ages

While no one knows exactly when the humble t-shirt began entering wardrobes, it’s been 100 years since the US Navy made them a staple among their sailors.

The introduction bought the t-shirt to attention, and Americans began embracing the trend.


The term t-shirt first begun being thrown about in 1920, in F.Scott Fitzgerald’s novel This Side of Paradise.

By the late 20s, undershirts were commonly seen as informal sportsware.

In 1932, legendary USC football coach Howard Jones pioneered a sweat-absorbent undershirt that prevented shoulder chafing from pads. With the slogan “Property of USC”, the t-shirts quickly became popular with students.

The likes of legend Clark Gable secured t-shirts as everyday wear. Fashion became more casual and t-shirts and polo shirts began gaining popularity.

In 1942, a printed t-shirt emblazoned Air Force Gunnery School made the cover of Life magazine.

Today, the humble t-shirt is a way to carry messages of comical value, brands and political messages through slogans.

Paired with jeans, the t-shirt has become a favourite ensemble for casual wear.