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T-shirts were originally marketed to unmarried men who had trouble sewing buttons back on collared shirts on their own.

Photo #1 from Herisau, Switzerland by AcidNeo made on 2019-01-12 08:05 for Sola

F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author of many famous novels, used the word “t-shirt” for the first time in his book The Side of Paradise in 1920. Long before that, in the 20th century, t-shirts were almost never worn in public or worn as underwear. Today, in the 21st century, we cannot imagine comfortable clothing without t-shirts, and now it is gender neutral. The t-shirt has its origins in something known as the “union suit” which was patented in 1868. It was all-in-one underwear that did a good job of keeping workers warm in a cold climate but failed when the climate was hot. To beat the heat, the workers cut the suit into two parts creating “long johns” which became very popular. But these “pullovers” that were created were not supposed to be worn in public. In fact, in Havana, it was illegal to do so in 1890.

In 1905, the Coopers Underwear Company began marketing these pullovers as “t-shirts” to unmarried men calling them “bachelor undershirts.” Their advertisements would read “No safety pins – no buttons – no needle – no thread.” They also stated that these undershirts would be more durable and require less maintenance. A few years later, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army incorporated these undershirts as a part of their uniform. The rage caught on and never died out.

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Switzerland, Herisau
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