Petticoat: An Undergarment That Spans Centuries

A petticoat isn’t a coat but was historically used with warmth in mind. It’s an undergarment worn by women dating back several centuries. Today, the petticoat is used as more of a fashion statement than a necessary element of daily wear.

The History of the Hooped Undergarment

In the 18th century, women’s dresses were designed with open skirt fronts. Because of this, the first layer of the skirt, the underskirt or jupe, had to be as elegant as the dress itself. At the time, the petticoat was made from the same extravagant material as the dress. By 1715, the petticoat was designed to give structure to the outer dress or skirt and was made using sections of whalebone.

In the 19th century, petticoats developed several functions. They were used to:

  • protect the outer clothing
  • give a more modest look by acting as a cover for the legs
  • provide structure to the skirt or dress
  • add a layer of warmth for the wearer

Victorian women added the petticoat to their extensive range of undergarments, which already consisted of a corset, chemise, and drawers. Throughout the 19th century, petticoats were generally worn in two forms: as a full-body petticoat that consisted of a corset-like top or a separate garment that could be adjusted for more support at the waist. 

Function Combined with Fashion

Petticoats were often worn in layers. They were made out of several different materials depending on the need, from cotton in the summer to flannel for the colder months. Eventually, petticoats became less structured, and once the crinoline cage was invented, the petticoat was usually worn as a single layer for warmth and modesty.

Some women also wore another petticoat over the crinoline cage to give a softer look to their outfits. The structural changes to the petticoat led to more shape options, as seen in its narrower styles in the 1860s and the frilled styles of the Edwardian Era. 

Fashion Houses Re-Established the Petticoat’s Popularity

Some famous names associated with the petticoat include Christian Dior, Vivienne Westwood, Princess Diana, and Winona Judd, each for different reasons. 

  • Christian Dior created a line that brought about the revival of the bouffant skirt, which led to the need for petticoats. The iconic look became a fixture of 1950s teenage fashion. Think rock ‘n’ roll, jiving, and Grease. 
  • Vivienne Westwood used the medium of theater to revive the popularity of the New Romantic dress.
  • Princess Diana wed Prince Charles in a crinoline-skirted wedding gown with a petticoat, which gave rise to the use of the petticoat as shapewear for bridal gowns.
  • Wynonna Judd wore petticoats in her country-western attire on stage.

No matter how the petticoat was used in the past or today, it’s likely the petticoat will be a statement piece in women’s wardrobes for centuries to come.

Dungarees: The Working Man’s Pants

Dungaree has a long history as durable fabric for work attire.

Dungarees: an apparently simple clothing item packed with a big historical punch. You have probably donned a pair of these pants once or twice in your life, or maybe you’re an avid wearer. Not only do dungarees have a storied past, but they are also making fashion waves in the present. 

Beginnings

Dungarees were born in a small, dockside village in India called Dongri. The blue or white-colored cotton cloth produced here, “dungri,” was sturdy, durable, and thick — a perfect medium for workwear. British colonialism eventually brought the fabric to England, where the cloth’s name morphed into “dungaree,” the word we know today. The late 1700s saw the use of dungarees as an outfit for factory workers, farmers, mechanics, and slaves. 

In Great Britain, the term refers strictly to overalls. In America, it can refer to fabric, a pair of jean trousers, or overalls. As early as the mid-1800s, with the assistance of businessmen Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis, dungarees came into use across America as the uniforms of manual laborers and military men. In fact, various professions were assigned specific types of dungarees. For example, railroad workers had vertical striped overalls and painters had white overalls. Dungarees were also used as utility wear for members of the U.S. Navy during World War One. 

Modern Dungaree

Until the middle of the twentieth century, dungaree was not a woman’s fabric, nor was it worn by members of the upper class. This all changed as the age of motion pictures was ushered in. Audiences across America watched dungarees turn into an essential look for cowboys, greasers, and rebels. Many celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana, and Elton John, began to sport dungarees. Soon, the clothing changed from a fashion faux-pas to a must-wear look. 

Today, dungarees are being sold by lots of major fashion retailers, such as Forever 21, Urban OutfittersFree People, and Nordstrom.

Some current celebrities who have been seen showing off their own pairs of dungarees include Milly Bobby Brown from the popular Netflix original Stranger Things and Elizabeth Moss from Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale. Sandra Bullock, Kate Hudson, Taylor Swift, and even Beyoncé have also joined in on the trend. While dungarees today are very popular among women, they are having a moment in men’s fashion, as well. Male celebrities like actor Chris Pine, musician ASAP Rocky, actor Ashton Kutcher, and musician Chance the Rapper have all stepped out in dungarees. 

Dungaree vs. Denim

It’s easy to assume that dungaree is simply another word for denim. The two fabrics are very similar and are useful for tough, sturdy clothing pieces. In fact, dungaree is often dubbed “blue-denim.” In reality, the two fabrics are only somewhat distinct. Dungaree fabric is traditionally made from yarn pre-dyed with indigo, while denim is dyed after weaving. When dungaree is being woven, the warp threads (threads that run vertically) are pre-dyed blue, while the weft threads (threads that run horizontally) are left white. Aside from this slight difference, dungaree and denim are identical. 

Fit and Feel

Dungarees began as an uncomfortable, unfashionable and poorly-fitting garment. Much has changed since their inception; you can now buy a pair of fantastically comfortable and stylish dungarees. Most are now sold pre-shrunken, which means that the buyer does not have to worry about his or her pair of dungarees shrinking after the first wash. Instead, they can walk out of the store with the perfect size. You can also buy dungarees in a variety of finishes, from acid-wash to dark-wash, and styles, from flared to super-skinny. If you don’t already have a favorite style, start exploring. Your options are nearly endless. Nowadays, the term “dungarees” is interchangeable with “jeans” and “denims,” so keep that in mind. 

For more information in the realm of dungarees, check out our post on jeans. Happy reading! 

The Shawl: A Timeless Look with Versatile Purpose

Shawls come in many shapes and styles.

What makes a shawl a shawl? It’s not the color, the material, the shape, or even the size. After all, shawls come in a wide variety of hues and patterns. They can be delicately knitted and lacy or thick like a blanket. They can be shaped like triangles or ovals. They can be large or small. The one thing that makes a shawl a shawl is the way that it’s worn: draped over the shoulders.

Beyond that common ground, the many different shawls of the world have the characteristics of their time, culture, and purpose. 

Shawls Have Been Around as Long as Humans

In one form or another, shawls have been a part of human history for as long as we know. Their earliest primary purpose was likely to provide warmth. They are an easy way to layer on protection and trap body heat without having to learn any complicated sewing techniques or patterns.

The word shawl comes from the Indian world shal. The earliest versions of garments were traditionally worn by men.

Shawls began to circulate throughout Europe in the late 1700s. Many of these shawls were Asian in origin, and the most popular version was made from pashmina. The word pashmina has Persian roots and refers to a specific kind of wool that is easy to weave. This wool comes from a particular breed of goats found in the Himalayas in Kashmir. This material and the beautiful shawls created from it can be traced back to the 3rd century B.C.E. At the time, the material was only worn by royalty, as it was rare and highly valued. 

In the 15th century, the ruler of Kashmir is believed to have founded the region’s wool industry. This is why people today in Western cultures refer to pashmina as “cashmere.” To this day, the soft material is associated with luxury and preciousness, and pashmina shawls are still popular and coveted items. They’re primarily worn by women and provide warmth, beauty, and modesty. They are often brightly colored and ornately designed with intricate patterns. 

The popularity of shawls in Europe is historically connected to the rise of neoclassical women’s fashion. In the late 1700s, women’s dresses tended to be made out of flimsy material influenced by Greek and Roman attire. These dresses may have been graceful, but they were not very warm. Shawls provided an easy way to have comfort and warmth while still being fashionable. 

Shawls Provide DIY Fashion

While the 20th century saw a rise in the use of elegant shawls to accompany evening gowns, shawls have also found popularity in a much more everyday, down-to-earth style.

Modern shawls truly come in all shapes, sizes, materials, and colors. They are also a popular item for textile artists (amateur and professional) to make themselves. With no holes for the arms or the head to worry about and no sizing required, shawls can offer a relatively simple pattern for beginners. At the same time, the versatility and relatively small size of many shawl pattern options provide room to experiment and explore creative ideas for even the most seasoned of creators. They do not use a tremendous amount of yarn, making them an affordable option, as well. 

Today’s shawls are primarily worn by women and might be used for added warmth. Also, they can be used to simply add a pop of color and texture to an otherwise simple outfit or to exist as a creative expression of individuality and artistic effort. Whether short or long, bright or muted, angular or round, shawls have been part of human ingenuity since antiquity and appear poised to stay around for a long time. 

The Waistcoat: Stand Out Like a Noble

The waistcoat (or vest, as Americans tend to call it) has gone through several transformations since its introduction in the 17th century. While both shape and size have changed considerably, so has the garment’s association. It has gone from being a flashy show of opulence to a more muted display of somberness and back again. Today’s waistcoats are typically reserved for special events or for those with high-profile careers where dressing formally is an everyday requirement. 

Let’s take a closer look at the many ways this garment has been used over the years. 

King Charles II Kicks Off the Trend

King Charles II was facing a dire time in his reign. His people had undergone the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London, and it did not seem appropriate for the king to be decked out in flashy lace while most of his subjects were in mourning and recovery. The French court was known for its excessiveness, so he wanted a style that was pared-down, simpler, and would use fewer lavish materials. The waistcoat was a fitted, knee-length garment that had cuff-length sleeves. 

By 1670, nobility across the land wore the trend, but they had forgotten or discarded the king’s initial desire for understatement. Instead, they used the trend to stand out. The designs became more and more lavish. At the same time, the shape and size began to change. It grew shorter, and collars and sleeves became less common as well. 

Waistcoats for Sporting Men and Women

By the 18th century, British waistcoats were popular for both men and women, particularly for sporting activities. This trend continues to this day as the waistcoat is considered a staple of British “country” clothing. The most iconic of these waistcoats is the tweed variety. 

While waistcoats are primarily considered to be men’s clothing, women have similar garments. Women’s versions became more popular in the late 19th century. These short bodices would be worn over a full evening gown, giving the silhouette a sharp contrast. 

The Men’s Suit Evolves

At one point in the evolution of the waistcoat, it was popular to wear one under a jacket with a sash or buttoned girdle around the waist. This may sound familiar as it is the precursor to today’s modern men’s formal suit, complete with cummerbund for the most formal modern events. 

While today’s version is mostly associated with weddings, there was a time when the three-piece suit was considered everyday wear for just about every man. The reason? They had to know what time it was, and the waistcoat provided a convenient pocket in which to store a watch. As the trend moved to wristwatches, though, there was less need for a waistcoat, and it ceased to be a widespread daily piece of attire. 

In the 1960s, the waistcoat was again adapted, this time to fit the needs of the countercultural hippie subgroup. Their version was still form-fitting and buttoned up, but it was longer—often reaching to the knees. They also added the colors and patterns that have come to be associated with hippie culture including floral designs and patchwork in bright colors. 

The Dolce and Gabbana spring 1993 line took influence from these hippie versions of the waistcoat. Female models walked the runway sporting chokers adorned with peace signs and colorful versions of suits and vests. The brand continues to play with suits (including waistcoats) for women as an androgynous and chic display of fashion. 

Today, the waistcoat is not considered an item of everyday wear except for in elite circles. While some high-level executives and lawyers may don a waistcoat on a daily basis, most people see them as special occasion attire. Even on these special occasions, they tend to be more muted in color and style and rarely have the flash and detail that they had when associated with nobility. However, the waistcoat has seen many different twists and turns in its evolution, and maybe we will one day see a return to the bright and flashy versions of yesteryear.  

Bohemian Dress: A Revolutionary History

In reference to fashion, many people think the word “Bohemian” refers to the style’s origins in the central European area once known as Bohemia, but this is a common misconception. In fact, bohemian dress earned its name because the early 19th century artists, intellectuals, writers, and free-spirits with which the fashion was affiliated were assumed to be gypsies, who were mistakenly thought to come from Bohemia in central Europe. Today, the term is associated with anyone or anything that is socially unconventional or offbeat, especially in an artistic way. The bohemian style reflects this with its flowing lines, gauzy fabrics, loose silhouettes, and unconventional artistic prints, but it emerged as a way of taking even the simplest of fashion to new artistic heights.

The Emergence of Bohemian Dress

As Elizabeth Wilson notes, bohemian dress emerged in post-Revolutionary France at a time when the status of fashion, much like the status of the artist herself, was evolving. Bohemian dress signaled a new way of thinking wherein one’s clothing reflected the inner self rather than simply signifying social class or profession. Art and fashion were interlinked for bohemians, who used fashion to extend art into everyday life. By using themselves as canvases upon which clothing became a work of art in its own right, bohemians resisted being seen merely as impoverished artists, no matter how humble the garments themselves might be. Today, the label “bohemian” has become a catch-all term for clothing that is off-beat and reflects artistic leanings. Once considered unconventional, the styles that early bohemian dress inspired are now staples of mainstream fashion in the 21st century.

Romantic Influences

Wilson notes that the emergence of bohemian styles coincided with the 19th-century Romantic movement’s new vision of the artist-as-genius. Rather than just being craftspeople, artists were now seen as possessing special creative qualities that made them distinct from everyone else. To reflect this in their clothing, the Romantics preferred “rich materials and colors, wide-brimmed hats, and long flowing curls,” which became the beginning of the bohemian style.

Additionally, both the stories of Henri Murger and the emergence of male dandyism, in turn, played a role in creating this iconic style of dress. Where Murger’s stories described impoverished artists in disheveled threadbare clothing, Dandyism highlighted the importance of self-expression through dress, especially in ways that later influenced gender-bending styles of bohemian attire. Murger’s stories, the Bohemian lifestyle, and Bohemian dress later influenced Giacomo Puccini’s widely popular 1896 opera La Bohème, which in turn influenced many 20th-century bohemians.

Evolution of Term

In the late 19th century, dress reformers like the Pre-Raphaelites adopted bohemian styles while pushing to make fashion more wearable and comfortable, especially for women. Vasily Kandinsky’s famous Arts and Crafts movement also adopted the style because of their interest in roomier waistlines, greater ease of movement, and less restrictive sleeves for working artists. Aesthetically, bohemians pushed for innovative styles inspired by the artistic counter-cultures that favored them, making them popular with anyone who wanted to go against the grain of mainstream fashion. Over time, bohemianism was increasingly seen as the fashion of rebellion, counter-culture, and non-conformity. By the early twentieth century, bohemianism was also associated with gender-bending fashion and early LGBTQ culture. The term was especially common among American lesbians in the 1930s, who self-identified as bohemians to signify preferences.

Modern Bohemian Trends

The development of mass media after 1945 brought the term into popular use, and bohemian dress, in turn, began splintering into different sub-styles. Beatnik culture, for instance, favored “white lips, black kohl-ringed eyes, peasant skirts, black stockings, and ‘arty’ jewelry.” Later, hippies adopted the bohemian style, adding flared silhouettes, various types of fringe, ethnic-inspired clothing, and beadwork to their repertoire.

Today, the style is most evident in counter-culture fashion like the goth style and in what is sometimes called boho-chic to refer to peasant skirts and tops, flowing hair, and natural jewelry. Boho-chic has been especially popular throughout the early 2000s with celebrities like Nicole Richie, Jennifer Aniston, Blake Lively, and Selena Gomez popularizing bohemian-inspired looks. Timeless, creative, and carefree, the bohemian style has stood the test of time and will likely continue to be around for generations to come.

The Bikini: Making Waves for Decades

When romping around the beach or laying out poolside, the sun beating down in waves of blistering heat, the least amount of clothing possible is necessary. Cue: the bikini. An inter-continental staple, the bikini has been around for longer than one might expect. 

Ancient Ties

The first appearance of bikini-esque wear takes us back to ancient Greece and Rome. Artifacts sourced from these eras, such as a mosaic at the Piazza Armerina in Sicily, display women gymnasts and athletes wearing bandeau-style tops and brief style bottoms. As it turns out, the ancient Greeks and Romans were far ahead of their time; no garment so revealing came into fashion between then and the mid-1900s. 

Building Up to the Bikini

In the Victorian era, swimming was a wildly elaborate concealment process. Women used a cart called a “bathing machine.” A woman would enter the cart to change into her full-coverage bathing clothes, have a horse pull her cart into the sea, and finally disembark, slipping unseen into the water. 

In the early 1900s, swimming legend Annette Kellerman found herself facing indecent exposure charges after donning a one-piece, tank suit at a beach in Boston. Soon after, a wool, knitted one-piece, complete with a cap and stockings, became classic beach garb for women.  

In the early 1940s, what we might now consider to be a high-waisted bikini became appropriate. Stars like Ava Gardner and Esther Williams popularized this trend. Few took issue with the swimwear; the concealment of all skin below the bellybutton satiated the masses.

Birth of the Modern Bikini

The summer of 1946 ushered in the first bikini and the world was scandalized. At a poolside fashion show, a designer named Jacques Heim debuted what he called the “atome,” a perhaps distasteful nod to the recently developed atomic bombs and a suggestion that the clothing garment might have a similar impact. Shortly after, on July 5th of 1946, rival designer Louis Réard debuted an even tinier piece. He named his design “le bikini,” named for the United States’ atomic testing site, Bikini Atoll. He too was suggesting equal monument to the bomb. 

The backlash to the introduction of the never-before-seen bikini, or rather, the never-before-seen parts of a woman’s body, was enormous. Americans firmly believed that the bikini would never make it to their shores. In countries like Spain, Portugal, and Italy, the swimsuit was immediately banned. The outfit was taboo. 

Bound for the States

Harper’s Bazaar became the first magazine to promote the bikini in the United States, despite iconic fashion editor Diana Vreeland’s comment that it revealed “everything about a girl except her mother’s maiden name.” However, for about a decade afterward, the bikini was on a slow climb to popularity. By 1960, it was an American staple. Singer Brian Hyland solidified the trend with his hit song, “Itsy Bitsy, Teenie Weenie, Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.”

Throughout the next few decades, the bikini only grew in fashion fame. James Bond female protagonist Ursula Andress wore a bikini for her role in 1962, designer Rudi Gernreich debuted his androgynous “monokini” in 1964, and the very first Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue came out in 1967.

Today, nearly every female celebrity, from Kylie Jenner to Heidi Klum to Simone Mariposa has rocked a bikini in public. New styles have cropped up, like the high-neck, the one-shoulder, the ruched bottoms, the thong, and the bandeau top. Even the 1940s high-waisted bikini look is having a moment in modern fashion. 

Despite a history of scandal and unstable footing, the bikini is not going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, it’s about time for an update to the classic beach look. What up-and-coming swimwear style is destined to shake up the world next? 

The Blazer: A Tradition Born on a Boat

 The blazer is considered by many to be essential to looking sharp. A few adjectives tend to fit well in a discussion of the clothing item: preppy, classy, gentlemanly, smart. Few are aware, however, of the history of the blazer and how it came to merit such fine regard. 

What is it and How is it Worn?

Before moving forward, it’s important to fully understand this garment. The blazer can be either strictly formal or a bit more casual. The former is often four, six or eight buttoned and double-breasted, while the latter is two or three buttoned and single-breasted. 

Like all important pieces of fashion, there are rules for how to wear it. A one-button blazer must always remain button except when the wearer is seated. For two and three-button blazers, the bottom button should remain free. All buttons on a four-button blazer must remain fastened.

The pockets must be used appropriately, as well. The breast pocket is reserved solely for a pocket square. The waist pockets must not be filled to the brim, lest the blazer shape be ruined. Some blazers have a “ticket” pocket which was originally for use in storing train tickets. 

Nautical Origins

There are two stories detailing how this jacket came to be, one for each of the two types of blazer, single and double-breasted.

It was the sport of rowing at British universities Oxford and Cambridge during the late 1800s that spawned the single-breasted blazer. The men on the team would wear these jackets during warmups. They were the casual sweats of the time, meant to warm chilly sportsmen on early morning practice rides. Like warm-up gear for modern sports teams, each rowing team wore distinctly patterned and embellished blazers. According to this history, the word “blazer” came from the “blazing red” jackets worn by Cambridge’s Lady Margaret Boat Club, a description printed in 1952 article. 

The double-breasted blazer is said to have originated on a boat called the HMS Blazer, whose captain had short, double-breasted navy blazers fashioned for his sailors in preparation for a visit from Queen Victoria in 1837. She liked the garments and their shiny, brass buttons so much that she made them part of the official Royal Navy uniform. In this history, of course, the word “blazer” comes from the name of the ship. 

Coming Ashore

The single-breasted blazer began to infiltrate mainland life when other British university sports teams began to refer to their own uniform jackets as “blazers.” Soon, Ivy-League American universities like Princeton and Yale began to adopt this clothing article. Eventually, the blazer was no longer confined to be worn as a part of athletic uniforms as it fell into favor with the public. 

The double-breasted blazer left the Royal Navy as owners of yachts and other sailing vessels began to have their own blazers fashioned by tailors. Famous outfitters, like Gieves and Hawkes in London, began to field requests for blazers by customers who had no connection to sailing.

Through these diffusion methods, the blazer lost any nautical association and became a wardrobe necessity of the well-dressed across Europe and, soon after, the globe. 

The Modern Blazer 

Once worn only by elite men, the blazer has crossed gender lines and is now just as essential a part of a savvy woman’s closet. This is demonstrated by high-powered female politicians like Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, and Elizabeth Warren, who are all champions of the garment.

Blazers today are reaching new fashion heights. Some of the current trends include vibrant colors, unique textures and form-fitting styles and out-of-the-box structures. 

Whether double-breasted or single, eight-buttoned or two, the blazer is a clothing item that allows any wearer to effortlessly exude sophistication and polish. 

T-Shirts: From Ancient Underwear to Everyone’s Go-To

From free event giveaways to expensive designer styles, most people have owned dozens of t-shirts throughout their lives. This wardrobe staple is important for good reason–a t-shirt is one of the only articles of clothing that’s perfect for working out, sleeping, spending time with friends, and pretty much everything in between. But if you turn back the clock and look at the origins of today’s closet MVP, you might be surprised how much change the t-shirt has gone through to get to this point. 

Warrior Wardrobe Essential

In ancient times, the t-shirt was first worn by warriors. Serving as a protective barrier between fragile skin and unsanitary chain mail, medieval soldiers often wore t-shirts under their armor to stay safer and cleaner during battle. It wasn’t long until civilians caught on and started donning t-shirts themselves, for the same reasons of increased hygiene and safety. 

Although the t-shirt today is considered an acceptable outfit on its own, it wasn’t until very recently that it graduated from underwear to full-fledged garment. From the medieval villagers who first discovered them to the royalty who wore them underneath tight corsets to prevent chafing, t-shirts actually began as a luxury for people who could afford that extra barrier between skin and clothes. T-shirts were also originally intended to work the other way around and protect clothes from the harmful effects of friction and sweat, making them even more important for wealthy people whose clothes were incredibly valuable. 

Underrated Undershirt

Around the start of the 20th century, however, t-shirts started to come down from high society and actually get back closer to their military roots. In 1913, the Navy started requiring that all officers wear t-shirts under their uniforms to make them last longer and save money–just like the medieval warriors from a thousand years ago. This time, instead of becoming a luxury for the wealthy, undershirts began to catch on with everyday people. Companies like Fruit of the Loom noticed the trend and started producing a wide variety of shapes and styles, from crew cut to V neck, to appeal to the masses. 

Just when it started to seem like the t-shirt was doomed never to see the light of day, something crazy happened–celebrities started wearing t-shirts and nothing else, a super scandalous move at the time. 1950’s icons like Marlon Brando and James Dean consistently wore t-shirts both on- and off-screen in movies like Rebel without a Cause and A Streetcar Named Desire, sparking everyone else to rethink the possibilities of their favorite cotton undershirt. The trend even spread to more “sophisticated” celebrities like presidential candidate Thomas Dewey, who created the first-ever slogan t-shirt for his “Do it with Dewey” campaign. 

King of the Closet

Today, t-shirts have a wide variety of applications from marketing to youth sports to comedy TV shows. A far cry from their origin as military dress and taboo undergarments, t-shirts have become a modern American staple and have spread throughout the world. You can find people wearing t-shirts on pretty much any occasion, from doing yard work to attending church. 

Not only has the number of people wearing this garment increased, but so has the amount of people manufacturing the garment. Since no company has the sole rights to the t-shirt, virtually every clothing brand has their own variation on the classic, changing the color, fit, fabric, and adornments to fit their target customer.

Many t-shirts nowadays are actually blended fabrics made from combinations of cotton, polyester, rayon, linen, and countless other fabric types.  Because of this flexibility with fabric options, t-shirts run the gamut from form-fitting to loose and boxy. Recently, wearing men’s t-shirts has become a huge trend in women’s fashion, with fabrics like cotton and polyester allowing men’s shirts to highlight feminine curves.

Transcending gender, age, time, and occasion, the t-shirt has risen up the ranks of fashion for the past 1,000 years, morphing from an ancient battle precaution to a beloved item found in closets around the world today. So next time you throw on a t-shirt and run some errands, be sure to send up a little thank-you to Marlon Brando.