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In the 19th century, the idea of underwear developed, which had not been common before. At some point near the turn of the century, the underwear shirt was developed; the shirt was always a part of clothing since ancient Egypt, though it slowly became more and more popular. Hence there have been many garments that resemble the T-shirt, Though the general trend supported the possibility of less clothing, which prudent morale had forbidden until the 19th century. The origin of the T-Shirt is obscure — claims reach at least from California to Britain, and from 1913 to 1948, and it was most likely a slow development during that time.

Most research mentions this possibility that the idea of the T-shirt came to the United States during World War I when US soldiers noticed the light cotton undershirts European soldiers were using while the US soldiers sweated in their wool uniforms. Since they were so much more comfortable they quickly became popular among the Americans, and because of their design they got the name T-shirt. Other experts credit the U.S. Navy's "light undershirt" from 1913, described with "elastic collarette on the neck opening, called "crew neck". The Los Angeles Times claimed in 2006 that the Navy shirt as described in 1913's regulations state that the "light undershirt" was different from what is commonly worn today, with the Navy's version boasting an "elastic collarette on the neck opening" and other odd features.


Man in white tee shirtOn these grounds, there are claims that Howard Jones asked the underwear company "Jockey" in 1932 to develop a sweat absorbing shirt for the USC football team, which they propose was the "modern T-Shirt".

The origin of the name is uncertain: many refer to the shape of the shirt as a "T", while it could also emphasize the use of the army as a "training shirt". The shape-based theory is supported by the existence of an A-shirt in the 1930s USA, which was the usual undershirt later labelled the tank top.

During World War II the T-shirt had become standard issue underwear in both the U.S. Army and the Navy. Although the T-shirt was formally underwear, soldiers often used it without a shirt covering it while doing heavy labor or while stationed in locations with a hot climate, just like their former underwear. As a result, the public was frequently exposed to pictures of members of the armed forces wearing pants and a T-shirt. This became gradually more acceptable, as the cover of the July 13, 1942 issue of Life magazine shows, which features a picture of a soldier wearing a T-shirt with the text "Air Corps Gunnery School").

After WWII the T-shirt started appearing without a shirt covering it in civilian life. According to the New York Times, the 1948 presidential campaign of New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey produced a "Dew It for Dewey" T-shirt, which was followed in 1952 by "I Like Ike" T-shirts in support of Dwight D. Eisenhower. John Wayne, Marlon Brando and James Dean all wore them on national TV. At first the public was shocked, but by 1955 it had become acceptable.

The world record for most t-shirts worn at once, as listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, was broken on December 9, 2006 by Aaron John Waltke of Bloomington, Indiana, with a total of 160 t-shirts worn at one time. The shirts ranged from size Small to 10XL. The former world record holder was Matt McAllister of Santa Barbara, California.

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Additional Photos by Assi Dvilanski (asival) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 293 W: 109 N: 750] (5307)
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