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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.


Harry's Bar is the eponymous bar and restaurant near St Marks Waterfront in Venice has long been frequented by famous faces as it once was a favourite drinking spot of Ernest Hemingway. No matter where he went, Hemingway visited the finest restaurants and bars from Paris to Venice-often mentioning these places in his novels.The Restaurant and Bar at Harrys offers a delightful gastronomic experience that has been at the heart of culture and cuisine for decades serving national culinary treasures that have a story tell of their own through delicate and appetizing classic Italian dishes inspired by tradition and it's heritage.

Reminisce about the life and times of the legendary Harry's Bar Venice a meeting place for artists, literary writers, models to actors of the stage and screen houses a luxurious restaurant whose delicious concoctions and elegant decor has remained at the helm of one of the world’s most acclaimed watering holes for nearly a century.

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.

Leftt: 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 Shows

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.