Modern Living: The T Shirt: A Startling Evolution

It was regulation issue for U.S. sailors and was called a skivvy shirt during World War II. It became popular with the public in 1947, when Marlon Brando wore one over rippling muscles in A Streetcar Named Desire. But no swabbie or civilian of the 1940s, suddenly confronted with the 1976 variety, would now recognize the T shirt—something that millions of Americans want to get on their chests.

From its humble beginning, when it was all white and inscribed only with the stenciled name of its owner, the T shirt has evolved and proliferated...

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