The T-shirt evolved from undergarments used in the 19th century. First, the one-piece union suit underwear was cut into separate top and bottom garments, with the top long enough to tuck under the waistband of the bottoms.
The world’s oldest preserved garment, discovered by Flinders Petrie, is a “highly sophisticated” linen shirt from a First Dynasty Egyptian tomb at Tarkan, dated to c. 3000 BC: “the shoulders and sleeves have been finely pleated to give form-fitting trimness while allowing the wearer room to move.
The name T-shirt is a style of unisex fabric shirt named after the T shape of its body and sleeves. Traditionally it has short sleeves and a round neckline, known as a crew neck, which lacks a collar.
The dubbed “T-shirt” surfaced in the United States when they were issued by the U.S. Navy sometime around the Spanish American War. They featured crew-necks and short sleeves and were meant to be worn as underwear beneath the uniform. Soon it was adopted by the Army as part of the standard-issue ensemble given to recruits. It got its iconic name from its shape resembling the letter “T”.
The earliest printed shirts were perhaps the tees in the Wizard of Oz and also the highly sought-after collectible tee made for promoting the 1939 film The Wizard of OZ. If you happen to stumble across an OZ shirt from the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz, you can start thinking about retirement again.