The Origin of the T-Shirt

Freecom/ April 17, 2020/ blog

The t-shirt as we know it today is an apparel staple. The simple garment is so deeply ingrained in world culture that it’s easy to forget that, relatively speaking, the t-shirt itself is quite young.

The origins of the t-shirt date back to the late 19th century, when laborers would cut their jumpsuits in half to keep cool in warmer months during the year. 

The first manufactured t-shirt was invented between the Mexican-American War in 1898, and 1913 when the U.S. Navy began issuing them as standard undershirts.

Even then, it took until 1920 for the actual term “t-shirt” to be inducted into the English dictionary, thanks to F. Scott Fitzgerald being the first person to publish the word in his novel This Side of Paradise. 

“So early in September Amory,” writes Fitzgerald, “provided with ‘six suits summer underwear, six suits winter underwear, one sweater or T-shirt, one jersey, one overcoat, winter, etc,’ set out for New England, the land of schools.”

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