John Henry and his white tee

For awhile I'd been mulling over the idea of writing an article on "The History of The Tshirt" for the site. The more I thought about it, though, the more daunting the task seemed of doing the actual research involved. My next idea was to just make up all the facts in the article, a strategy I often revert to in these types of situations. But then it occurred to me to just check Wikkipedia under "tshirt". Well today I finally did that.

The most surprising thing I found was how specific it was on tracing back the lineage of the modern tee. According to the article, they've only been popular in the US since their import from Western Europe in the early part of the 20th century. I say "only" because tees seem to be such a basic garment compared to their buckled, buttoned, collared counterparts. In my mind, it's like people inventing castles before inventing bricks. Doesn't it just make sense that some American (a lumberjack in the Ozarks, say) circa mid-1800s would have gotten sick of the protrusions from his shirt neck and inadvertently come up with the idea of the tshirt? What about John Henry? I mean, I know it's folk story and all, but isn't he usually pictured wearing a tshirt? At least that's the way he's portrayed in this comic I found. And we all know that comics are the final authority on most things, especially fashion.

Anyhow, my favorite part of the article was the mention of Matt McCallister, who currently holds the world record for number of tshirts worn (121). (I think that's more shirts than I currently have in stock.) My second favorite part of the article was the completely non-objective statement, "The T-shirt became cool when James Dean wore it in the film Rebel Without a Cause."

Not that I disagree, it's just funny.

Oh, and you can read the full article here.


posted by Mr. Linty @ 3:55 PM,


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