The Different Types of T-Shirts

Written by marisa swanson
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The Different Types of T-Shirts
T-shirts are worn in many different fits by both men and women. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The T-shirt is a classic American fashion staple like blue jeans and they are often paired together. Made of knit fabric such as cotton, polyester and jersey the T-shirt is a collarless, soft garment with short sleeves. Originally produced to wear under clothing, Tees became popular after World War II as casual wear and were made iconic by 1950s film stars Marlon Brando ("Street Car Named Desire") and James Dean ("Rebel Without A Cause").

T-Shirts By Neckline

The neckline of a T-shirt is the term used to describe the shape of the hole you slide your head through to put the shirt on. Both men's and women's T-shirts are available in crew neck, V-neck and U-neck. The crew neck is circular and fits closely to the neck of the wearer. A V-neckline is shaped like a V and comes in both a conservative and less modest deep V variety. The U-neck also derives its name from its shape; the letter U. Off-the-shoulder necklines became popular in the 1980s and are primarily worn by women. They are still worn commonly in 2011 and are so wide that one shoulder is exposed when the shirt is worn.

T-Shirts by Fit and Length

The fit of a T-shirt refers to its cut and the way that it drapes on the body when worn. Traditionally T-shirts are fitted, which means they are worn close to the body, though not skin tight. Women typically wear fitted T-shirts, while men's shirts are anywhere from very loose and baggy to slightly fitted and worn as undershirts with button-down shirts. Cropped T-shirts are worn mostly by women, but also by men, and are cut off to end at the wearer's navel. Cropped T-shirts are usually loose fitting, but can also be fitted. The length of a T-shirt is commonly at the wearer's hip, but can be as long as his knees or as short as his belly button. In 2011 women wear "boyfriend" style T-shirts that are worn loose and not fitted..

T-shirts by Design

T-shirts are available with many design and colour options. A white, solid, T-shirt in any fit, neckline and length is considered a wardrobe staple by many and a classic, easy-to-wear top for both genders. T-shirt options in terms of colour and print are virtually endless. Solid colour Tees are worn in every colour of the rainbow. Graphic T-shirts are those with words and photos woven into the fabric as well as abstract lines and shapes. Graphic T-shirts are worn by some to represent their personalities, while others wear a certain colours or designs to show support for favourite sports teams.

Classic Designs

A couple of T-shirt designs and styles have been around for decades. The tie-dyed T-shirt became popular in the 1970s, representing the youth counter-culture movement. Tie-dying is a type of dye process that results in bright pops of colour in swirling shapes. Another classic T-shirt is the "I Love New York" T-shirt which is worn all over the world and universally recognised as a classic tourist product. Printed on a plain white shirt the design features the word "I" and "NY" in solid black letters with a solid, bright red heart to stand for the word "love."

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