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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.
As slip-on garments without buttons, the earliest T-shirt dates back to sometime between the Spanish—American War and , when the U. Navy first issued them as undergarments. It became common for sailors and Marines in work parties, the early submarines, and tropical climates to remove their uniform jacket, wearing and soiling only the undershirt.
The T-shirt was easily fitted, easily cleaned, and inexpensive, and for those reasons, it became the shirt of choice for young boys. Boys' shirts were made in various colors and patterns. In the s, printed T-shirts gained popularity for self-expression as well for advertisements, protests, and souvenirs.
Current versions are available in many different designs and fabrics, and styles include crew-neck and V-neck shirts. T-shirts are among the most worn garments of clothing used today.
T-shirts are especially popular with branding for companies or merchandise, as they are inexpensive to make and purchase. Trends[ edit ] T-shirts with bold slogans were popular in the UK in the s. T-shirts were originally worn as undershirts, but are now worn frequently as the only piece of clothing on the top half of the body, other than possibly a brassiere or, rarely, a waistcoat vest.
T-shirts have also become a medium for self-expression and advertising, with any imaginable combination of words, art and photographs on display. Variants of the T-shirt, such as the V-neck, have been developed.
Hip hop fashion calls for tall-T shirts which may extend down to the knees. A similar item is the T-shirt dress or T-dress, a dress-length T-shirt that can be worn without pants.
A s trend in women's clothing involved tight-fitting cropped T-shirt or crop tops short enough to reveal the midriff. Another less popular trend is wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt of a contrasting color over a long-sleeved T-shirt, which is known as layering.
T-shirts that are tight to the body are called fitted, tailored or baby doll T-shirts.
The rise of online shopping in the early s caused a proliferation of new T-shirt ideas and trends. While several brick-and-mortar chains included these items in their inventories, many of these shirts were pioneered by online start-ups.
Innovations included the flip-up T-shirt, which the wearer can lift and stretch over their head to display an interior print, and all-over print clothing. With the rise of social media and video sharing sites also came numerous tutorials on DIY T-shirt projects.
Expressive messages[ edit ] A Nike, Inc.
T-shirt with the description "I'm not a tomboy — I'm just better than you. It has also been commonly used to commemorate an event or to make a political or personal statement.
Since the s, it has become common practice for companies of all sizes to produce T-shirts with their corporate logos or messages as part of their overall advertising campaigns.
Since the late s and especially the s, T-shirts with prominent designer-name logos have become popular, especially with teenagers and young adults. These garments allow consumers to flaunt their taste for designer brands in an inexpensive way, in addition to being decorative.
These examples also include representations of rock bands, among other obscure pop-culture references. Licensed T-shirts are also extremely popular. Movie and TV T-shirts can have images of the actors, logos, and funny quotations from the movie or TV show.
Often, the most popular T-shirts are those that characters wore in the film itself e. Designer Katharine Hamnett , in the early s, pioneered outsize T-shirts with large-print slogans.
The trend has only increased later in this decade, embraced by celebrities, such as Britney Spears and Paris Hilton , and reflected back on them, too 'Team Aniston'.
The political and social statements that T-shirts often display have become, since the first decade of the 21st century, one of the reasons that they have so deeply permeated different levels of culture and society.
The statements also may be found to be offensive, shocking, or pornographic to some.
Many different organizations have caught on to the statement-making trend, including chain and independent stores, websites, and schools. Paris Fashion Week featured a grunge style T-shirt. Decoration[ edit ] Comic book creator Valerie D'Orazio wearing a decorated Catwoman T-shirt in In the early s, several companies based in Miami, Florida , started to decorate T-shirts with different resort names and various characters.
Later, other companies expanded into the T-shirt printing business, including Sherry Manufacturing Company, also based in Miami.
Sherry was founded in by its owner and founder Quentin H. Sandler as a screen printer of Souvenir Scarf's to the souvenir resort market. Shortly, the company evolved into one of the largest screen printed resort and licensed apparel companies in the United States. The company now runs automatic Screen Print presses and produces up to 10, to 20, T-Shirts each day.
In the s, the ringer T-shirt appeared and became a staple fashion for youth and rock-n-rollers. The decade also saw the emergence of tie-dyeing and screen-printing on the basic T-shirt and the T-shirt became a medium for wearable art, commercial advertising , souvenir messages, and protest art messages.
Psychedelic art poster designer Warren Dayton pioneered several political, protest, and pop-culture art printed large and in color on T-shirts featuring images of Cesar Chavez, political cartoons, and other cultural icons in an article in the Los Angeles Times magazine in late ironically, the clothing company quickly cancelled the experimental line, fearing there would not be a market.
Monster T-shirts often feature emblems and motifs associated with the Grateful Dead and marijuana culture. In the mids, the white T-shirt became fashionable after the actor Don Johnson wore it with an Armani suit in Miami Vice.
In screen printing, a design is separated into individual colors. Plastisol or water based inks are applied to the shirt through mesh screens which limits the areas where ink is deposited.
In most commercial T-shirt printing, the specific colors in the design are used. To achieve a wider color spectrum with a limited number of colors, process printing using only cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink or simulated process using only white, black, red, green, blue, and gold ink is effective.
Process printing is best suited for light colored shirts.
In , the invention of plastisol provided an ink more durable and stretchable than water-based ink, allowing much more variety in T-shirt designs. Very few companies continue to use water-based inks on their shirts. The majority of companies that create shirts prefer plastisol due to the ability to print on varying colors without the need for color adjustment at the art level.
Specialty inks trend in and out of fashion and include shimmer , puff , discharge , and chino based  inks. A metallic foil can be heat pressed and stamped onto any plastisol ink.
When combined with shimmer ink, metallics give a mirror like effect wherever the previously screened plastisol ink was applied. Specialty inks are more expensive to purchase as well as screen and tend to appear on garments in boutiques.
Other methods of decoration used on T-shirts include airbrush , applique , embroidery , impressing or embossing, and the ironing on of either flock lettering, heat transfers , or dye-sublimation transfers.