Stylebook Snapshot: T-shirts celebrate century of comfort

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The T-shirt, one of fashion's most basic yet most versatile staples, is marking its 100th birthday this year.

Top 10 T-shirt designs

1. I (heart) NY

2. Vote for Pedro ("Napoleon Dynamite")

3. College (inspired by sweatshirt from "Animal House")

4. Rolling Stones' "Sticky Fingers" album cover logo

5. Superman symbol

6. Batman symbol

7. Hard Rock Cafe London

8. Tuxedo style

9. D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education logo)

10. Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon"

Source: CustomInk/

Want to brush up on your T-shirt trivia in honor of the occasion? CustomInk, which allows people to customize their own T-shirts online, has created a birthday website, complete with photos of the most popular tees and a timeline of key moments from the shirt's life.

According to, the T-shirt had humble beginnings as an undershirt. In 1913, the U.S. Navy issued crewneck tees to be worn under uniforms. The Merriam-Webster dictionary first recognized the term in 1920, defining it as "a collarless short-sleeved or sleeveless usually cotton undershirt [or] an outer shirt of similar design."

In the decades to come, T-shirts turned more stylish with prints and slogans. They got political in the 1940s, when New York Gov. Thomas E. Dewey's campaign designed ones with the phrase "Dew it with Dewey" printed on them when he ran for president.

Even Hollywood contributed to the T-shirt's popularity when Marlon Brando sported one in the 1951 film "A Streetcar Named Desire."

From outlets for protest to pieces of a stylish ensemble, the T-shirt has lived a full life. Join the celebration by following CustomInk on Twitter @Customink and Facebook. Happy birthday!


What's your favorite T-shirt? Tweet your thoughts or a photo to Stylebook @SaraB_PG. They might be featured in a future blog post. For more from PG fashion writer Sara Bauknecht, check out the PG's Stylebook blog at First Published May 26, 2013 4:00 AM


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