I have been giving some thought lately as to why I love t-shirts and why there are so many avid t-shirt fans in the world. I mean after all there isn’t that much to a t-shirt, or is there? I decided to try and breakdown the idea of why we love t-shirts so much and why there are entire cultures dedicated to something as simple as a tee. What I came up with were 5 main points on why tees rock. So before I start into these reasons, I figured I would give you a bit of background into the t-shirt itself.
The t-shirt can be traced back to origins as far back as the late 1800’s when both miners and dock workers adopted them into their uniform! But really when the t-shirt started gaining popularity and traction was in the early 1900’s when the US Military started issuing t-shirts to be worn under their uniforms. In the next couple decades t-shirts also began to gain popularity in the workforce with many factory and farm workers adopting t-shirts for their comfortability, and rather low expense.
Up until this point tees were really not thought of as a fashion item, but more of a useful garment. It wasn’t until the 1950’s and 60’s when screen printing and tees really started to start to gain mainstream appeal. Since that time t-shirts have absolutely exploded with countless t-shirt variations on tees such as the v-neck, ringer, raglan, long sleeve and many more. But was has really made the impact on the t-shirt culture isn’t so much the shirt itself but the artwork and messages that are printed on these cotton wonders!
When thinking to myself what makes t-shirts so awesome the first thing that pops in my mind is versatility! There is not one other single piece of clothing that can be worn in so many different applications and with such great variation. From going to concerts, working, sleeping, visiting family, vacationing, sports, and self expression to name a few the t-shirt is the single item that is so versatile that you can wear it to basically any occasion imaginable. Yes even formal events, haven’t you seen the Tuxedo T-Shirt?! Well that might be going a step to far but you get the point.
What makes the t-shirt so versatile is the fact that it is basically a blank canvas for a artist, company or individual to express themselves. When you sit back and think about the infinite number of t-shirt styles, art and graphics that are available to you its pretty crazy to think that the one thing that remains the same is the fact that no matter what is printed on it, it is still just a regular t-shirt underneath.
Pretty much since the t-shirt came into the mainstream the t-shirt has been used for many as a walking billboard. This walking billboard ranges from companies promoting themselves, to political expressions, humorous phrases or even straight advertisements. The t-shirt is the single item of clothing that can be manipulated so many different ways and mean so many different things to many different people.
Just take a stroll around your local mall, concert or public area I would take a guess that 90% or more of people are wearing a t-shirt or various form of a t-shirt. T-shirts really have become an extension of whom we are and what we want people to portray about us when they view us. Take for example the simple concert tee. The concert tee is an extremely easy way for a fan to show his love for his favorite band while giving people around him an immediate insight as to what the persons interests might be. By wearing a part of yourself literally on your shirt you also can be accepted or rejected by various cliques and groups.
Let’s take it one step further, and I will say that the t-shirt is the only item of clothing that can spark immediate emotions such as humor, happiness, sadness and even anger. It’s truly remarkable that one piece of clothing can be viewed so many different ways.
Is there anything truly more comfortable than lounging around in your favorite worn tee? I think not. To me the comfort and quality factor of tees has really come along way in the last ten years. Yes your typical Hanes, Gildan and Fruit of the Loom tees are inheritable comfortable but the huge rise in popularity of tees made from brands such as American Apparel, Alternative Apparel, Alstyle and others have taken tee comfortability to a whole new level while keeping prices affordable.
Speaking of affordability t-shirts are an item of clothing that can be purchased extremely cheaply. I buy mine at Vintage Russell Athletic. T-shirts are literally affordable to anyone that wants to purchase them. T-shirts to me are the single most cheap way to express yourself and your love for art, music, culture or life in general. Art on t-shirts has grown leaps and bounds over the past couple decades and very recently with the help of sites such as Threadless. Threadless was the first site that allowed artists and t-shirt lovers to come together to pick which art they would like to see printed on a t-shirt at an incredibly affordable price. Aside from Threadless there are countless indie clothing and t-shirt startups out there that offer incredible designs at far cheaper prices than what you would find in your local mall.
When combining the affordability, versatility, comfort and ability to express yourself all through your t-shirt it’s not hard to see that the t-shirt is indeed timeless. I really cant ever imagine a point in which t-shirts will not be common wear.
In closing, I’m sure you didn’t need much convincing for me to sell you on how awesome t-shirts are but I really thought it would be great to take a second to pay homage to the tee! There are literally thousands of indie clothing brands out there that bust their ass to put out some incredible clothing for us to wear, live and love make sure to check out iamthetrend.com often so I can keep you up to date on all t-shirt awesomeness!
I would love to see in the comments what you love most about t-shirts!