History of the T Shirt
The humble T-shirt evolved from undergarments used in the 19th century...by cutting the one-piece "union suit" (patented by George Munsing - we love Penguin!) underwear into separate top and bottoms. Adopted and worn by miners, farmers, construction workers and dockworkers during the late 19th century as a convenient shirt for hot environments.
T-shirts, as a pull over top without buttons, originally became popular in the United States when they were issued by the U.S. Navy around the time of the Spanish American War. These were a crew-necked, short-sleeved, white cotton undershirt to be worn under a uniform.
Following World War II, it became common to see veterans wearing their uniform trousers with T-shirts as casual clothing, and they became even more popular in the 1950s after Marlon Brando wore one in A Streetcar Named Desire, finally achieving status as fashionable. Named the T-shirt due to the shape of the garment it has been a staple of our wardrobes ever since!