T-Shirts have been around for a long time. As a matter of fact, they first appeared as a slip on garment back around the time of the Spanish American war. Sometime between 1898 and 1913. They were first issued by the United States Navy as an undergarment.
Later, as they became more widely acceptable, t-shirts became an everyday item in every household in America.
As sailors came home from war, they continued to wear them and thus the t-shirt became more widely used.
From industry to movies. The t-shirt slowly made its way through American sportswear history. You could say it was slowly becoming a national icon.
However, it was one cool movie actor who branded the t-shirt on the big screen and made it what it has become today. An iconic National Sportswear symbol of being cool.
Branding them cool
James Dean identified with most teenagers in the 1950’s. Because he played as the character known as Jim Stark in the hit movie Rebel without a cause. At the time, many teenagers related to this character which portrayed the adolescence of the time.
He passed away in 1955. But his legacy lives on.
As t-shirts became more popular in the USA (Thanks Dean!), the national sportswear of choice carried its torch to one more character who brought it more fame.
From movies to music and back to movies. Elvis Presley brought his own cool look to t-shirts in his famous movie Jailhouse Rock which was named after his 45 RPM single that was released in 1957 by RCA. And furthermore, Rolling Stones Magazine named it 67 in the 500 greatest hits of all time. In the movie, Elvis is seen wearing a black and white button down jersey styled striped t-shirt. Jailhouse Rock would later be named by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 21 in the top 500 songs that shaped rock and roll history.
Although Elvis was more famous for his upright collared jackets and shirts, this might just be his most famous pose of his entire career.
Elvis Presley passed away in 1977. But his legacy will carry on in the music and movie industry for a very long time. We believe both Elvis and Dean had a major influence on the shaping of the t-shirt history.
Different style t-shirts
Just as they made their way into the movies, they were quickly scooped up by rock and rollers around the world. They became a way to express yourself and musicians found them as a means to brand their bands and express themselves.
As fans rolled into concerts everywhere, t-shirts quickly became the memorabilia to take home and show off as proof that you were really there.
Of course Rock and Roll Concerts weren’t the only avenue for selling t-shirts in grand volume. There was an entirely other group who wanted them too, and they were just too young to go to these venues.
So now they began appearing in comic books everywhere.
Even small shops began to pop up on street corners and the t-shirt became the most popular single piece of clothing in America.