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LIFESTYLE JOURNAL

The Iconic T-shirt
From Undergarment to a Symbol of Style and Rebellion


Introduction

The evolution of t-shirts has mirrored the changes in everyday fashion. Starting as an undergarment worn by sailors and soldiers beneath their uniforms in the early 20th century, t-shirts have changed drastically in style, fabric and colour over the last 100 years: today, they’re a true classic and an unmissable item in the wardrobe of the modern man.  

A garment that combines practicality with a timeless style, the story of the t-shirt has its humble beginnings in the war zones and the American working class. Cinema and movie icons revolutionized the way we wear and look at t-shirts, which is now part of the essential outfits of all celebrities worldwide.

Let's look at how t-shirts went from a functional undergarment to a stylish and provocative item.


The Origin of the T-Shirt

By the late 19th century, sailors and workers in the US and British Empire regularly used t-shirts as protection against colds and bodily diseases. Not much later, working-class men around the world started wearing t-shirts outside of factories, as outerwear: if we could pinpoint the beginnings of the story of the t-shirt as a formidable political statement, this would be it.

The t-shirt boomed in the early decades of the 20th century: during the Second World War, soldiers were constantly photographed and filmed while wearing it, hence the association between the t-shirt and heroic masculinity, which became popular at the time.

By the early '50s, the t-shirt was a working-class symbol of vigour and rebelliousness: it was just a matter of time before Hollywood would tap into this new revolutionary style and skyrocket the t-shirt’s popularity as stand-alone outerwear.


Marlon Brando during the filming of "A Streetcar Named Desire"

The Rebellion Years

The forefathers of this second phase of t-shirts are undoubtedly Marlon Brando and James Dean: the former, in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), was depicted as a lower class, blunt, yet handsome man, wearing nothing more than a t-shirt for most of the movie. From a virtually unknown young actor, Brando became a male sex symbol in Hollywood and a cultural icon whose influence we can still see after 60 years.

Fast forward to the mid-’60s, and we find the actor who made t-shirts outside of a movie screen timeless: Steve McQueen. With his wild lifestyle and magnetic movie performances, McQueen popularized a style that’s been associated with free-spirited and rebellious youth ever since. The liberating casualness of jeans and tees is a look that’s as fresh now as it was in McQueen’s time.


T-shirts as a Medium

Because of its association with the working class and innate provocative nature, the t-shirt has appealed to generations of artists and intellectuals. Since the early '70s, it’s been the garment of choice for sharing political, artistic and ideological messages.

This is a time when the fluid nature of t-shirt attracted more and more fashion designers, businesses and creators who found them to be a powerful tool for branding and sharing messages of any kind. The rebellious soul of this garment was still present, but a transition to a more established style was about to take place.

Left: George Michael wearing the iconic Katharine Hamnett t-shirt, 1985

Right: Mick Jagger wearing a t-shirt with a version of the famous Rolling Stones logo, 1978


Julio Iglesias, Miami, Florida

From its Humble Beginnings to the Fashion World

Today, cultural icons of all kinds wear t-shirts to represent self-expression and freedom. They’re more fashionable than ever because they embody a philosophy based on nonchalant style while allowing those who wear them to express themselves fully and create a personal and unique style.

Over the years, all most well-known worldwide designers have reinterpreted t-shirts in their way, making even more apparent the transition between a practical garment to a most fashionable item present in all wardrobes.

Since Steve McQueen started wearing jeans, desert boots and a tight tee on and off-screen, a new style was born, capable of encompassing social classes and transcending fashion and time in ways no other garment can.


Introducing the Linen-Jersey T-Shirt

The Luca Faloni Linen-Jersey T-Shirt - Crafted in Brescia, in Northern Italy, from one of the finest linen jerseys in the world. This lightweight and breathable textile is finished with a premium Aloe treatment, making the fabric very smooth and soft to the touch.


Introduction

The evolution of t-shirts has mirrored the changes in everyday fashion. Starting as an undergarment worn by sailors and soldiers beneath their uniforms in the early 20th century, t-shirts have changed drastically in style, fabric and colour over the last 100 years: today, they’re a true classic and an unmissable item in the wardrobe of the modern man.

A garment that combines practicality with a timeless style, the story of the t-shirt has its humble beginnings in the war zones and the American working class. Cinema and movie icons revolutionized the way we wear and look at t-shirts, which is now part of the essential outfits of all celebrities worldwide.

Let's look at how t-shirts went from a functional undergarment to a stylish and provocative item.


The Origin of the T-Shirt

By the late 19th century, sailors and workers in the US and British Empire regularly used t-shirts as protection against colds and bodily diseases. Not much later, working-class men around the world started wearing t-shirts outside of factories, as outerwear: if we could pinpoint the beginnings of the story of the t-shirt as a formidable political statement, this would be it.

The t-shirt boomed in the early decades of the 20th century: during the Second World War, soldiers were constantly photographed and filmed while wearing it, hence the association between the t-shirt and heroic masculinity, which became popular at the time.

By the early ’50s, the t-shirt was a working-class symbol of vigour and rebelliousness: it was just a matter of time before Hollywood would tap into this new revolutionary style and skyrocket the t-shirt’s popularity as stand-alone outerwear.


The Rebellion Years

The forefathers of this second phase of t-shirts are undoubtedly Marlon Brando and James Dean: the former, in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), was depicted as a lower class, blunt, yet handsome man, wearing nothing more than a t-shirt for most of the movie. From a virtually unknown young actor, Brando became a male sex symbol in Hollywood and a cultural icon whose influence we can still see after 60 years.

Fast forward to the mid-60s, and we find the actor who made t-shirts outside of a movie screen timeless: Steve McQueen. With his wild lifestyle and magnetic movie performances, McQueen popularized a style that’s been associated with free-spirited and rebellious youth ever since. The liberating casualness of jeans and tees is a look that’s as fresh now as it was in McQueen’s time.

Marlon Brando during the filming of "A Streetcar Named Desire"


T-shirts as a Medium

Because of its association with the working class and innate provocative nature, the t-shirt has appealed to generations of artists and intellectuals. Since the early '70s, it’s been the garment of choice for sharing political, artistic and ideological messages.

This is a time when the fluid nature of t-shirt attracted more and more fashion designers, businesses and creators who found them to be a powerful tool for branding and sharing messages of any kind. The rebellious soul of this garment was still present, but a transition to a more established style was about to take place.

Left: George Michael wearing the iconic Katharine Hamnett t-shirt, 1985

Right: Mick Jagger wearing a t-shirt with a version of the famous Rolling Stones logo, 1978


From its Humble Beginnings to the Fashion World

Today, cultural icons of all kinds wear t-shirts to represent self-expression and freedom. They’re more fashionable than ever because they embody a philosophy based on nonchalant style while allowing those who wear them to express themselves fully and create a personal and unique style.

Over the years, all most well-known worldwide designers have reinterpreted t-shirts in their way, making even more apparent the transition between a practical garment to a most fashionable item present in all wardrobes.

Since Steve McQueen started wearing jeans, desert boots and a tight tee on and off-screen, a new style was born, capable of encompassing social classes and transcending fashion and time in ways no other garment can.

Julio Iglesias, Miami, Florida


Introducing the Linen-Jersey T-Shirt

The Luca Faloni Linen-Jersey T-Shirt - Crafted in Brescia, in Northern Italy, from one of the finest linen jerseys in the world. This lightweight and breathable textile is finished with a premium Aloe treatment, making the fabric very smooth and soft to the touch.


Introduction

The evolution of t-shirts has mirrored the changes in everyday fashion. Starting as an undergarment worn by sailors and soldiers beneath their uniforms in the early 20th century, t-shirts have changed drastically in style, fabric and colour over the last 100 years: today, they’re a true classic and an unmissable item in the wardrobe of the modern man.  

A garment that combines practicality with a timeless style, the story of the t-shirt has its humble beginnings in the war zones and the American working class. Cinema and movie icons revolutionized the way we wear and look at t-shirts, which is now part of the essential outfits of all celebrities worldwide.

Let's look at how t-shirts went from a functional undergarment to a stylish and provocative item.


The Origin of the T-Shirt

By the late 19th century, sailors and workers in the US and British Empire regularly used t-shirts as protection against colds and bodily diseases. Not much later, working-class men around the world started wearing t-shirts outside of factories, as outerwear: if we could pinpoint the beginnings of the story of the t-shirt as a formidable political statement, this would be it.

The t-shirt boomed in the early decades of the 20th century: during the Second World War, soldiers were constantly photographed and filmed while wearing it, hence the association between the t-shirt and heroic masculinity, which became popular at the time.

By the early '50s, the t-shirt was a working-class symbol of vigour and rebelliousness: it was just a matter of time before Hollywood would tap into this new revolutionary style and skyrocket the t-shirt’s popularity as stand-alone outerwear.


Marlon Brando during the filming of "A Streetcar Named Desire"

The Rebellion Years

The forefathers of this second phase of t-shirts are undoubtedly Marlon Brando and James Dean: the former, in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), was depicted as a lower class, blunt, yet handsome man, wearing nothing more than a t-shirt for most of the movie. From a virtually unknown young actor, Brando became a male sex symbol in Hollywood and a cultural icon whose influence we can still see after 60 years.

Fast forward to the mid-’60s, and we find the actor who made t-shirts outside of a movie screen timeless: Steve McQueen. With his wild lifestyle and magnetic movie performances, McQueen popularized a style that’s been associated with free-spirited and rebellious youth ever since. The liberating casualness of jeans and tees is a look that’s as fresh now as it was in McQueen’s time.


T-shirts as a Medium

Because of its association with the working class and innate provocative nature, the t-shirt has appealed to generations of artists and intellectuals. Since the early '70s, it’s been the garment of choice for sharing political, artistic and ideological messages.

This is a time when the fluid nature of t-shirt attracted more and more fashion designers, businesses and creators who found them to be a powerful tool for branding and sharing messages of any kind. The rebellious soul of this garment was still present, but a transition to a more established style was about to take place.

Left: George Michael wearing the iconic Katharine Hamnett t-shirt, 1985

Right: Mick Jagger wearing a t-shirt with a version of the famous Rolling Stones logo, 1978


Julio Iglesias, Miami, Florida

From its Humble Beginnings to the Fashion World

Today, cultural icons of all kinds wear t-shirts to represent self-expression and freedom. They’re more fashionable than ever because they embody a philosophy based on nonchalant style while allowing those who wear them to express themselves fully and create a personal and unique style.

Over the years, all most well-known worldwide designers have reinterpreted t-shirts in their way, making even more apparent the transition between a practical garment to a most fashionable item present in all wardrobes.

Since Steve McQueen started wearing jeans, desert boots and a tight tee on and off-screen, a new style was born, capable of encompassing social classes and transcending fashion and time in ways no other garment can.


Introducing the Linen-Jersey T-Shirt

The Luca Faloni Linen-Jersey T-Shirt - Crafted in Brescia, in Northern Italy, from one of the finest linen jerseys in the world. This lightweight and breathable textile is finished with a premium Aloe treatment, making the fabric very smooth and soft to the touch.