What is a t-shirt

Not many of Che Guevara’s followers would want a tight-fitting design

The t-shirt has been a major fashion item for the young since it first found fame being worn by Marlon Brando in “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “The Wild One” in the 1950s. This simple item of clothing has inspired so much in fashion over the years and people will pride themselves of their personal collection of t-shirts. For something that appears so simple it is difficult to believe that there are such a wide variety of styles.

The neckline can either be round neck or “V” neck. The scoop neck is a larger round neck. The deep scoop is a very big round neck. The deep “V” neck is a large “V” neck. The Henley “Y” neck which is a v neck with buttons. When fastened the shirt turns into a round neck. T-shirts can either be tight fitting or looser fitting. The young tend to prefer the tight fitting varieties whilst the older customers prefer looser garments.

People who wear t-shirts may want to wear a slogan which could maybe make a fashion or political point. They may want to try and make a funny point to show their sense of humor, or they just want the tightly fitting garment to show off their natural physique. In terms of the length of the t-shirt it is likely to change with the type of fashion. Usually the t-shirt extends as far as the waist but followers of “hip-hop” will want the shirt dropping to as low as the knees. This is in contrast to some young females who like the t-shirt so short that their navels are exposed.

One of the first companies to start printing on t-shirts were Tropix Trogs in the 1950’s and they were soon followed by fellow Miami residents Sherry manufacturers, who became one of the biggest screen printing companies in the world. On entering the 1960’s decade the ringer t-shirt appeared with just the extreme sections of the collar and the sleeves ringed in a color. The “hippie revolution” in the late 60s, the expansion of rock festivals, free love and a protesting young generation created many subjects that would appear on a t-shirt. Marijuana, Che Guevera, the Rolling Stones, Vietnam, the Civil Rights Movement were all topics and movements that were used time and time again. In fact may of the t-shirts that were being produced 50 years ago are still being produced today.

tshirts with album covers
Many t-shirts took pictures off album covers like London Calling

In between times the t-shirt has latched onto any trend going. The Sex Pistols rose to prominence in the late 70’s under the management of Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood. The pair only did this to promote selling their fashion items from their store, SEX in the Kings Road. These included many t-shirts. In fact Punk was a huge market for t-shirts with the pictures and slogans of the bands making them a great vision to be printed onto a shirt. Legendary shirts emerged such as the Clash’s Paul Simonon smashing up his base guitar, The Sex Pistols God Save the Queen image, and the Siouxsie Sioux, of the Banshees, t-shirt.

Since the 80’s t-shirts have now gone towards personnel expressions. A famous quote or a saying is a popular image to have on today’s modern t-shirt. But there are such a mixture of shirts available it is impossible to identify one direct route the industry has been taking. One thing is for sure and that is t-shirts are as popular as they have ever been. They may be advertising the chicest retail manufacturer, or promoting the world’s greatest rock band, or even making a statement that makes the wearer looks really smart, it really doesn’t matter as the simplest and plainest form of clothing remains today a multi-million pound business.