Recently I was looking at my closet while deciding what pieces to get next, and I realized the importance of having white t-shirts. White T-shirts are key pieces to have in your closet. They are comfortable, convenient, and undisputedly iconic. In my case, white t-shirts adapt to my casual work dress code and they save me time in the morning.
I also started thinking, why something so basic makes us look and feel so good? How something so simple became so iconic?
So, where do white T’s come from?
The US Navy issued t-shirts around the Spanish-American war. That’s when t-shirts surfaced in the USA, they were meant to be worn as underwear beneath the uniform. Eventually, it became a shirt of choice for mothers for their sons as outwear for chores and play. Then, in the 1960`s the white t-shirt became a means of self-expression as wearable art, to convey advertising messages, souvenir messages, and protests.
We have to be thankful to Marlon Brandon for making it ok to wear the t-shirt as an outer garment. After his appearance on “A Streetcar Named Desire,” the popularity of the t-shirt increases to the point of making the sales close at $180 million that year. Then, in 1955, the white t-shirt becomes a sexy icon thanks to James Dean in “Rebel Without a Cause”.
Sources: teefetch.com and Mnn.com
4 reasons why a white t-shirt brings your iconic self
- You start unconsciously channeling Dean:
You are not trying to look good, you just do. That is automatically making you channel Dean. Yes, wearing suits and pocket squares can make you feel sleek but why would you be choosing that, when you can be stylish AND comfortable.
It is like one of my favorite movies, A Single Man: I love the aesthetic and the sleek suits, but I will alway lean more towards Jon Kortajarena’s character. Not only because he is of my favorite models, but because of what he represents: charm, relaxation, and sincerity. They even reference Dean on that scene too :).
I feel about white t-shirts the same way as Alice Gregory, Brooklyn writer, feels about uniforms: they are low maintenance and iconic. They are a cheap and easy way to feel famous.
I agree that by having a uniform you would have one less stressful decision to make, and you would also save time. Though, I don’t think I would go as far as wearing the same thing every day like apparently a lot of successful people do. But, like uniforms, white t-shirts save you time and a piece of mind. Jeans, sneakers, sunglasses, and you are set to go.
- Because when there you are comfortable, it shows.
Feeling comfortable is what makes something so simple look so good, you know that. A white t-shirt allows you to be humble, sincere, and approachable.
- A white-t is like the kindling that quickly starts the fire.
A white t-shirt is a piece that is very versatile and convenient. You can put together a variety of outfits for a variety of occasions. After that, it’s all about you and your attitude.
I had an exchange with Steve Brooker on his ‘Keeping It Simple: Coachella Outfit (Day 1)’ post where he mentioned that a white t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers or boots are regular outfits for him. It’s also an easy outfit to throw on when you don’t have lots of time to think, he said. Steve also talks about wearing something simple, like a white t-shirt and shorts, to enjoy the festival and not worry about mud, rain or heat.
Which takes me to my final point:
- Because your focus is not on the clothes, but on the moment.
Looking good is the result of feeling comfortable, being yourself and being present. One my friend and I ended up going out and dancing our butts off at a bar in Williamsburg, NY. I had no chance to think about what I was wearing.
I was feeling good about myself, and I think that showed. I am normally very oblivious about other people noticing me, but that day I could tell. I felt, that if I was in a position of doing so, I was able to get someone out of my league.
A white t-shirt can be a powerful thing because it enables you to be the most present, sincere and pure self that you can be. I discovered that I am O.K. living a lifestyle that allows me to dress casually and that comfort doesn’t necessarily mean giving up or blending in. Comfort can translate into confidence and charm.