T-shirt 100th Birthday!

T-shirt Turns 100 Years Old!Happy Birthday BalloonsLong Live the T-shirt!

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100 Years of T-shirts
From Batman to Hello Kitty, Explore our 100 Most Iconic T-shirts

Celebrate 100th birthday with 100 Iconic T-shirts

T-shirts Thru Time:

Follow the T-shirt through different eras and watch how things became untucked.Follow the T-shirt through different eras and watch how things became untucked.

  • 1913

    Launching an Icon

    US Navy issues crewneck T-shirts to be worn under uniforms. An American icon is born.

  • 1920

    T-shirt Hits the Dictionary

    The word “T-shirt” is officially added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. The definition of T-shirt is a collarless short-sleeved or sleeveless usually cotton undershirt; also: an outer shirt of similar design.

  • 1932

    Making It Fashionable

    Students steal T-shirts from their own football team when the University of Southern California prints “Property of USC” on the athletes’ workout clothes.

  • 1934

    Hollywood Drops the Tee

    Men everywhere follow Clark Gable’s lead in It Happened One Night. After revealing his bare chest, T-shirt sales plummet 75%.

  • 1938

    Only 24 Cents

    Sears introduces a T-shirt for less than a quarter. Known as the “gob” or sailor shirt, it is proclaimed to be either an outer garment or an undershirt.

  • 1942

    Landing the Cover of a Magazine

    The Air Corps Gunnery School logo is featured on one of the earliest printed T-shirts for the July 13th cover of LIFE magazine.

  • 1948

    The First Political T-Shirt

    New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey’s campaign presses “Dew-it-with-Dewey” for the 1948 presidential election.

  • 1948


    Army follows the Navy by introducing the “Quarter Sleeve” shirt, keeping the boys in the Pacific theater cool in the tropical heat.

  • 1950

    The Mouse

    Following the popularity of Mickey Mouse, a Miami-based T-shirt company, Tropix Togs, purchases the exclusive rights to print the figure on a shirt.

  • 1951

    Hollywood Boosts the Tee

    The T-shirt gains popularity as an outer garment after heartthrob Marlon Brando wears one in A Streetcar Named Desire.

  • 1959

    Invention of Plastisol Ink

    The invention of a durable, stretchy, and comfortable new ink, Plastisol, opens the door for more designs and screen-printing on T-shirts.

  • 1960

    Simplifying the Screen

    The invention of the multi-color rotary screen-printing machine makes graphics on apparel less difficult and costly. The US screen-printing movement doubles.

  • 1962

    Marilyn Makes Screen Printing Famous

    Andy Warhol’s famous print of Marilyn Monroe popularizes screen-printing in bright colors.

  • 1969

    Shirts Get Tie-Dyed

    1969’s Woodstock positions tie-dye T-shirts as the voice for one’s individuality and the emblem for the era.

  • 1971

    Rolling Stones

    Alternative album cover for one of the best rock albums of all time, The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers, the “lick” graphic quickly becomes one of rock and roll’s most recognizable symbols.

  • 1977

    “I NY” Revitalizes City

    In an almost eureka moment, designer Milton Glaser sketches “I NY” on a napkin and the logo appears on T-shirts soon after.

  • 1978

    Customization Rises

    Iron-ons allow graphic images to make custom T-shirts on the spot. Sports teams, corporations and bands realize the power of custom T-shirts. The sports jersey has never looked better.

    Pictured: The Cardinal Bar in Madison, Wisconsin

  • 1983


    International Drug Abuse Resistance Education program spreads across the United States, providing sleep shirts for an entire generation of schoolkids.

  • 1984

    T-shirts as Protest

    To overrule censoring of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood song “Relax,” label owner Paul Morley prints “FRANKIE SAY RELAX” on T-shirts.

  • 1984

    T-shirts for Charity

    Raising money to aid famine relief in Ethiopia, “Feed the World” T-shirts are sold in conjunction with Band Aid’s 1984 single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

  • 1990

    Rocking Out

    Inspired by grunge rockers, men wear old, unbuttoned flannel shirts over faded, un-washed T-shirts. This quickly becomes the fashion trend of the ‘90s.

  • 1990

    Hard Rock

    In business since 1971, Hard Rock Café launches their signature T-shirt line. A collection of t-shirts from Cafes around the world becomes a must-have for the well traveled.

  • 1991

    Heat Sensitive Tees

    The Hypercolor T-shirt, created in the ‘80s, reaches its all-time peak selling more than $50 million worth of shirts in a four-month period.

  • 2000

    Designing T-shirts Online

    Two college friends start CustomInk in their apartment on a garish green sofa. The site quickly becomes the preferred site for designing custom T-shirts online.

  • 2005

    The Deep V

    Fashion forward and knowing no gender, the deep V takes America by storm. From the Jersey Shore to Malibu, men everywhere are showing a bit more skin.

  • 2011

    A Broken Record

    Sanath Bandara breaks the Guinness World Record for the “Most T-shirts Worn at Once” wearing 257.

  • 100th Birthday Celebration of the T-shirt!

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Celebrating an American Icon

Psychology of the T-shirt

Jennifer Baumgartner, PsyD.

Author: You Are What You Wear

  • Customized apparel is a way of expressing ourselves in a world where so much is mass-marketed. We want to be unique.”
  • “At the same time, wearing a shirt custom made for your group is an identifier that you are part of the same clan. Throughout history, humans have dressed alike to indicate a bond. Much like tribal costumes or coats of arms, custom t-shirts give people a sense of belonging.”
  • “We’re more likely to bond with others when we share an emotional event with them. T-shirts from groups or occasions become a concrete representation of that emotion. We infuse a spirit of a memory or time in our lives to an inanimate object.”

Jeff Gregory helps customers find what they need in search engines and loves writing blog posts that help people elevate their experiences.