The tee is one of the most expressive pieces of clothing; with it practicably being a wearable canvas.
But what about the origins of the tee as a stand-alone garment?
The tee evolves from undergarments in the 1800′s and proves practical for miners & workers (no buttons and good in the heat!). It becomes more standard when we see it issued by the U.S. Navy (early as 1913).
We start noticing it in the late forties (after the World War 2), as many veterans start wearing T-shirts as casual clothing — setting the initial trend.
But it took Marlon Brando wearing one in the 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire — making the tee ‘finally achieving status as fashionable, stand-alone, outer-wear garments’.
Marlon Brando for A Streetcar Named Desire by John Engstead, 1950 Source
Animalistic and exhibitionistic, he removes his hot, sweat-soaked, smelly and sticky T-shirt in front of her, and changes into a clean one to “make myself comfortable.” Source