The T-shirt first appears on American radar just before WWI, when the U.S. Navy introduced it as an undershirt. Purpose: to cover sailors' chest hair.
Did they pull the thing out of thin air? No, sir.
The connection between the T-shirt and the sea points us eastward, to the Mediterranean, where sailors and fishermen have worn snug, short-sleeved shirts like this one for centuries.
I thought the oyster-shuckers in Baltimore were fast until, in Piraeus, I saw a man wearing this shirt use a shucking knife; he was faster.
On the banks of the Seine, lots of students and tourists hoping to be mistaken for natives, lots of blue-and-white striped shirts…but that deckhand over there, throwing a hawser out to a tour boat, he's wearing this shirt.
Men in Europe who wear this shirt are often wiry types with one-inch cigarette butts permanently attached to their lower lips. In Bilbao, though, I observed a crew of moving men uncrating a giant piece of highly advanced sculpture. They were built like great sagging old bulls; in this shirt, they looked formidable.
Father of All T-Shirts (No. 1305), in a soft, very stretchy jersey knit that fits snugly. (Makes you feel like a healthy animal.) Tapered sides. Finely ribbed neck, not big and clunky.
The sleeves have a way of gathering emphatically at the top of a man's arms, even if he is the sort of man who rarely lifts more than a fountain pen.
Men's sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL.
Length ranges from 27 1/2” to 30”. Varies by size.
Colors: Black, White, French Blue, Heather Grey, Original Navy Blue and Heather Burgundy.
Care Instructions: Machine Washable.