With the launch of our brand new Shirt Club, we thought we’d run over the history of men's shirts, a few of history’s favorite shirt styles, and the occasions that brought the pieces out of a gentleman's closet.
You probably don't need us to tell you that the shirt (though not exactly as we know it today) has been around for centuries. In fact, the earliest preserved piece of clothing is from Egypt, made in around 3000 BC.
Fast forward a few hundred years to the 18th Century, frilled collars in men's shirts are seen for the first time, and we begin to see some of the elements that are present in men's shirts today. Although frills might not be quite as popular these days (unless you're Seinfeld, of course), you start to see the inclusion of collars, sleeve buttons, and more in clothing design. Speaking of collars, in 1827, a housewife from New York invents the detachable collar, which begins to make the traditional collar shape we see today become more popular for its ease.
The 1800's were a busy time for menswear, with more precise tailoring, the creation of the French Cuff, detachable cuffs for easier cleaning, and the earliest version of a "polo shirt," the first appearance of button-down collars.
In the early 1900's, the creation of washing machines allows menswear designers to bring back attached collars and cuffs, and rounded collars begin to be replaced by pointed collars - similar to the ones seen in our Tuxedo Shirt and Cream Signature Woven Shirt.
Beginning in the 1920's, there's a significant difference between monochromatic shirts - which are worn for every day activities - and a shirt with a contrasting color or pattern with a white collar which you can see in our Fitzgerald shirt.
Short sleeve formal shirts are seen beginning in the 1950's, which are pulled out of the closet for office work more than they are for events, but they're still a significant step towards freedom in menswear.
Now, while past centuries may have seen wildly rapid evolution of the men's shirt, styles since the 1960's (when the chest pocket was first introduced) have remained relatively consistent. After all, why fix what isn't broken?
Hopefully you enjoyed this walk through the history of the men's shirt. It's certainly been filled with evolving fashion. If you find yourself running out of a shirt for every occasion, and need help filling your wardrobe with easy-to-pair, staple pieces, learn more about our Shirt Club, and get the best price on our shirts that are custom made to your measurements.