At one time, I had dozens of custom printed T-shirts in my collection, just like I had dozens of blue jeans. Looking in my wardrobe cabinet (we don’t have closets in our house) this morning, I realized that I only have two custom printed t-shirts left and only a handful of blue jeans. I have lots and lots of T-shirts, but they’re the plain kind designed to be worn as undershirts, not for wearing as outer garments.
T-Shirts in History
Being the curious kind of person I am, I decided to look up the history of T-shirts and found myself reading for more than an hour, which is par for the course when I get started on any kind of reading project.
Apparently, T-shirts were invented as undershirts during the Spanish-American war in 1898, but no one knows exactly who invented them. The US Navy adopted the T-shirt as an undergarment sometime after that. The T-shirt as a form of underwear continued to remain popular as such until someone figured out that wearing a custom T-shirt as an outer garment would be a cool thing to do. Again, there isn’t a record of exactly who started the trend or exactly when it happened. Custom printed T-shirts were being worn when I was a kid, back in the 1960s. The trend had to have started in the 1940s, after World War II or at the onset of the Vietnam War in the early 1960s.
T-shirts and Tee Shirts
When I first met my wife, back in 1983, she called all short-sleeved shirts T-shirts, regardless if they had collars on them or whether they were pullovers or buttoned shirts. My research shows me that it’s not an incorrect usage and using the word “T-shirt” in this way is common across many cultures. It’s based on the “T” shape of the shirt as it’s laid out flat on something.
As far as T-shirts being called “tee shirts” or just “tees”, when did that happen? If I want to buy a custom printed T-shirt off the Internet, I know I can go to CafePress and find something I like. Hypothetically speaking, what if I can’t find something I like? I now know that if I’m searching for T-shirts online, I have to search for both “t-shirts” and “tee shirts” or I’ll end up missing out on some unique finds.
The reason I mention CafePress is because it’s the only online store I’ve ever bought a T-shirt from and it was before I moved to the Philippines. Of course, I’m also interested in selling things through them, but I don’t have an artistic bone in my body. I do, however, have a couple of gifted relatives I need to get a hold of — A 50/50 partnership would be a pretty good deal.
Luckily, I don’t have to order anything online. There are plenty of stores here in the Philippines that sell custom printed T-shirts. There are even places that do custom T-shirt screen printing if you can’t find anything you want.
One thing I’ve noticed is that people will wear the underwear-style of T-shirts around home, just to be dressed, and will change into something a little more appropriate if they head out of their neighborhood areas. I do the same thing. Why do you think I have so many of them in my wardrobe cabinet?
I’ll slip on a polo shirt (any kind of pullover shirt designed like a polo shirt, having a collar and sometimes having a single breast pocket) when I’m leaving the compound to go somewhere. If I spend 98 percent of my time at home or around home, does it make sense to wear anything else? Of course, I always wear blue jeans because they’re considered acceptable everywhere I’ve been in the city. I have dress slacks in the wardrobe cabinet that I haven’t worn in four years.