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The Evolution of Men’s Shirts: A History of 10 Different T-shirt Styles, from the 1930s to Now

The t-shirt is one of the most popular pieces of clothing in the world and has had an interesting journey over the years. It was first made commercially available to American consumers in 1933 and soon became a wardrobe staple. In this blog post, we will be looking at some of the different styles that have been worn by men’s shirts over time.

From 1930s-style long sleeve t-shirts, to 1990s “gangsta” tees, we’ll take a look at how fashion has changed with what was considered masculine–and what hasn’t. Read on to learn more about how your favorite shirt style has changed over time!

The 1930s

: Long-Sleeve T-Shirts

The 1930s was a time of long-sleeve, collared t-shirts. Men would wear these shirts with their suits and ties to work, making them a popular choice for office attire. As such, the typical design of this shirt was plain and boring. These shirts came in many different colors, but were typically made of cotton or linen.

The 1940s

The 1940s saw the introduction of the crew-neck t-shirt. This style, which became popular among American soldiers during World War II, was the first to be sold in department stores.

However, this was not the only type of shirt worn by men during this decade–short sleeves were also popular.

The 1970s

In the 1970s, fashion shifted and men began to wear shirts with a lot more flair and flair. Turtlenecks and long sleeve shirts with big collars became fashionable for men.

This decade also saw the introduction of mass-produced graphic tees that featured logos like Coca-Cola and even Snoopy from “Peanuts.”

The 1980s

In contrast to previous decades, many people say that the 1980s were an “anti-fashion” era when it came to jeans and shirts. Men wore clunky shoes with oversized shirts and no jewelry.

Punk culture had a heavy influence on clothing styles in this time period and many people say that men’s shirts in particular reflected that movement: They featured slogans like “Stay Alive,” or words meant to provoke others such as “Kill Nazi Scum.”

The 1990s

The 90s saw an increase in baggy clothing for both sexes, which made room for “gangsta” tees–a style characterized by its loose fit and low neckline. These types of shirts were also popular among rappers such as Tupac Shakur around this time period.

The 1950s

The 1950s was a decade of conformity. After the Second World War, clothing became more conservative and men’s shirts were tailored to be shorter. Men’s fashion designers had grown tired of the long sleeve t-shirt that had been popular in the 1930s.

The style for men’s shirts went from long sleeves to short sleeves with slim cuts that hugged the body. There was also a trend of wearing ties with shirt collars turned down. And this decade saw an explosion in color for men’s shirts, some even being made with eye-catching patterns!

The 1990s

: The “Gangsta Tee”

In the 1990s, the “gangsta tee” was popular among men. This style is characterized by a baggy fit and long sleeves. This style became popular again in the 2010s, but with a shorter sleeve length.

The 1970s: The “Off-Shoulder T-Shirt”

In the 1970s, the “off-shoulder t-shirt,” or a shirt that didn’t cover a man’s shoulders, was popular. It was worn with jeans and sneakers. Now this style is called a muscle tee or wife beater shirt because of its tight material that accentuates muscles when worn without anything underneath.

The 1950s: The “Long Sleeve Tee”

The 1950s saw an era of long sleeve tees for men. They were worn over shorts to play sports or hang out casually with friends on hot days. These shirts are similar to today’s tank top styles with looser cuts and short sleeves.

The 1930s: Long Sleeve Tees Become Popularized

It wasn’t until 1933 that long sleeve tees became commercially available to American consumers when they were produced by Champion brand in New York City, but it wasn’t until the 1930s when they became popularized in America by college athletes like John Wooden who coached at UCLA


The evolution of men’s shirts follows the same cyclical pattern as the rest of fashion. Trends come and go, often marked by a specific decade.

The 1930s marked the birth of the t-shirt, but it was the introduction of the “dad shirt” in the 1990s that brought it back to life. Men’s fashion today is marked by a more rugged aesthetic. But whether or not you’re a fan of the latest trends, there’s no denying that this style of shirt has come a long way and will continue to evolve—maybe we’ll see an updated “dad shirt” one day.

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