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A man putting on a pleated semi-formal shirt, worn with a tuxedo for a "black-tie" occasion

A shirt is a cloth garment for the upper body. Originally an undergarment worn exclusively by men, it has become in American English a catch-all term for almost any upper-body garment other than outerwear such as sweaters, coats, jackets, or undergarments such as bras, vests or base layers. ladieswear. In British English, a shirt is more specifically a garment with a collar, sleeves with cuffs, and a full vertical opening with buttons.

Contents

History

The world's oldest preserved garment, discovered by Flinders Petrie, is a "highly sophisticated" linen shirt from a First Dynasty Egyptian tomb at Tarkan, ca. 3000B.C. : "the shoulders and sleeves have been finely pleated to give form-fitting trimness while allowing the wearer room to move. The small fringe formed during weaving along one edge of the cloth has been placed by the designer to decorate the neck opening and side seam." [1]

The shirt was an item of men's underwear until the twentieth century.[2] Although the woman's chemise was a closely related garment to the man's[3], it is the man's garment that became the modern shirt. In the Middle Ages it was a plain, undyed garment worn next to the skin and under regular garments. In medieval artworks, the shirt is only visible (uncovered) on humble characters, such as shepherds, prisoners, and penitents.[4] In the seventeenth century men's shirts were allowed to show, with much the same erotic import as visible underwear today.[5] In the eighteenth century, instead of underpants, men "relied on the long tails of shirts ... to serve the function of drawers.[6] Eighteenth century costume historian Joseph Strutt believed that men who did not wear shirts to bed were indecent.[7] Even as late as 1879, a visible shirt with nothing over it was considered improper.[2]

The shirt sometimes had frills at the neck or cuffs. In the sixteenth century, men's shirts often had embroidery, and sometimes frills or lace at the neck and cuffs,[8] and through the eighteenth century long neck frills, or jabots, were fashionable.[9] Colored shirts begin to appear in the early nineteenth century, as can be seen in the paintings of George Caleb Bingham. They were considered casual wear, for lower class workers only, until the twentieth century. For a gentleman, "to wear a sky-blue shirt was unthinkable in 1860 but had become standard by 1920 and, in 1980, constituted the most commonplace event."[10]

European and American women began wearing shirts in 1861, when the "Garibaldi Blouse", a red shirt as worn by the freedom fighters under Giuseppe Garibaldi, became fashionable.[11]

Types of shirt

Three types of shirt
  • Camp shirt — a loose, straight-cut, short sleeved shirt or blouse with a simple placket front-opening and a "camp collar."
  • Dress shirt — shirt with a collar, a full-length opening at the front from the collar to the hem, and sleeves with cuffs
    • guayabera — an embroidered dress shirt with four pockets.
  • T-shirt — also "tee shirt", a casual shirt without a collar or buttons, made of a stretchy, finely knit fabric, usually cotton, and usually short-sleeved. Originally worn under other shirts, it is now a common shirt for everyday wear in some countries.
    • Ringer T-shirt — tee with a separate piece of fabric sewn on as the collar and sleeve hems
    • Halfshirt — a high-hemmed t-shirt
      • A-shirt or construction shirt or singlet (in British English) — essentially a sleeveless t-shirt with large armholes and a large neck hole, often worn by labourers or athletes for increased movability. Sometimes called a "wife beater" when worn without a covering layer.
      • camisole — woman's undershirt with narrow straps, or a similar garment worn alone (often with bra). Also referred to as a cami, shelf top, spaghetti straps or strappy top
  • tennis shirt, golf shirt, or polo shirt — a pullover soft collar short-sleeved shirt with an abbreviated button placket at the neck and a longer back than front (the "tennis tail").
    • rugby shirt — a long-sleeved polo shirt, traditionally of rugged construction in thick cotton or wool, but often softer today
    • henley shirt — a collarless polo shirt
  • baseball shirt (jersey) — usually distinguished by a three quarters sleeve, team insignia, and flat waistseam
  • sweatshirt — long-sleeved athletic shirt of heavier material, with or without hood
  • tunic — primitive shirt, distinguished by two-piece construction. Initially a men's garment, is normally seen in modern times being worn by women
  • shirtwaist — historically (circa. 1890-1920) a woman's tailored shirt (also called a "tailored waist") cut like a man's dress shirt[12]; in contemporary usage, a woman's dress cut like a men's dress shirt to the waist, then extended into dress length at the bottom
  • nightshirt — often oversized, ruined or inexpensive light cloth undergarment shirt for sleeping.
  • sleeveless shirt — A shirt with no sleeves. Contains only neck, bottom hem, body, and sometimes shoulders depending on type. Also referred to as a tank top.
    • halter top — a shoulderless, sleeveless garment for women. It is mechanically analogous to an apron with a string around the back of the neck and across the lower back holding it in place.

Tops that would generally not be considered shirts:

  • onesie or diaper shirt — a shirt for infants which includes a long back that is wrapped between the legs and buttoned to the front of the shirt
  • sweaters — heavy knitted upper garments
  • jackets, coats and similar outerwear
  • tube top (in American English) or boob tube (in British English) — a shoulderless, sleeveless "tube" that wraps the torso not reaching higher than the armpit, staying in place by elasticity or by a single strap that is attached to the front of the tube

Parts of shirts

Many terms are used to describe and differentiate types of shirts (and upper-body garments in general) and their construction. The smallest differences may have significance to a cultural or occupational group. Recently, (late 20th century) it has become common to use tops to carry messages or advertising. Many of these distinctions apply to other upper-body garments, such as coats and sweaters.

Shoulders and arms

Sleeves

Shirts may:

  • have no covering of the shoulders or arms — a tube top (not reaching higher than the armpits, staying in place by elasticity)
  • have only shoulder straps, such as spaghetti straps
  • cover the shoulders, but without sleeves
  • have shoulderless sleeves, short or long, that expose the shoulders, but cover the rest or the arm from the biceps and triceps down to at least the elbow
  • have short sleeves, varying from cap sleeves (not extending below the armpit) to half sleeves (elbow length)
  • have three-quarter-length sleeves (reaching to a point between the elbow and the wrist)
  • long sleeves (reaching a point to the wrist to a little beyond wrist)

Cuffs

Shirts with long sleeves may further be distinguished by the cuffs:

  • no buttons — a closed placket cuff
  • buttons (or analogous fasteners such as snaps) — single or multiple. A single button or pair aligned parallel with the cuff hem is considered a button cuff. Multiple buttons aligned perpendicular to the cuff hem, or parallel to the placket constitute a barrel cuff.
  • buttonholes designed for cufflinks
    • a French cuff, where the end half of the cuff is folded over the cuff itself and fastened with a cufflink. This type of cuff has four buttons and a short placket.
    • more formally, a link cuff — fastened like a French cuff, except is not folded over, but instead hemmed, at the edge of the sleeve.
  • asymmetrical designs, such as one-shoulder, one-sleeve or with sleeves of different lengths.

Lower hem of shirt

  • leaving the belly button area bare (much more common for women than for men). See halfshirt.
  • hanging to the waist
  • covering the crotch
  • covering part of the legs (essentially this is a dress; however, a piece of clothing is perceived either as a shirt (worn with trousers) or as a dress (in Western culture mainly worn by women)).
  • going to the floor (as a pajama shirt)

Body

  • vertical opening on the front side, all the way down, with buttons or zipper. When fastened with buttons, this opening is often called the placket front.
  • similar opening, but in back.
  • left and right front side not separable, put on over the head; with regard to upper front side opening:
    • V-shaped permanent opening on the top of the front side
    • no opening at the upper front side
    • vertical opening on the upper front side with buttons or zipper
      • men's shirts are often buttoned on the right whereas women's are often buttoned on the left.

Neck

  • with polo-neck
  • with v-neck but no collar
  • with plunging neck
  • with open or tassel neck
  • with collar
    • windsor collar or spread collar — a dressier collar designed with a wide distance between points (the spread) to accommodate the windsor knot tie. The standard business collar.
    • tab collar — a collar with two small fabric tabs that fasten together behind a tie to maintain collar spread.
    • wing collar — best suited for the bow tie, often only worn for very formal occasions.
    • straight collar — or point collar, a version of the windsor collar that is distinguished by a narrower spread to better accommodate the four-in-hand knot, pratt knot, and the half-windsor knot. A moderate dress collar.
    • button-down collar — A collar with buttons that fasten the points or tips to a shirt. The most casual of collars worn with a tie.
    • band collar — essentially the lower part of a normal collar, first used as the original collar to which a separate collarpiece was attached. Rarely seen in modern fashion. Also casual.
    • turtle neck collar — A collar that covers most of the throat.
  • without collar

Other features

  • pockets — how many (if any), where, and with regard to closure: not closable, just a flap, or with a button or zipper.
  • with or without hood

Some combinations are not applicable, of course, e.g. a tube top cannot have a collar.

Types of shirting Fabrics

There are two main categories of fibres used: natural fibre and man-made fibre (synthetics or petroleum based). Some natural fibres are linen, the first used historically, cotton, the most used, ramie, wool, silk and more recently bamboo or soya. Some synthetic fibres are polyester, tencel, viscose, etc. Polyester mixed with cotton (Polycotton) is often used.

Shirts and politics

In the 1920s and 1930s, fascists wore different coloured shirts:

See also

References

  1. ^ Barber, Elizabeth Wayland (1994). Women's Work. The first 20,000 Years, p.135.Norton & Company, New York. ISBN 0393313484
  2. ^ a b William L. Brown III, "Some Thoughts on Men's Shirts in America, 1750-1900", Thomas Publications, Gettysburg, PA 1999. ISBN 1-57747-048-6, p. 7
  3. ^ Dorothy K. Burnham, "Cut My Cote", Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario 1973. ISBN 0-88854-046-9, p. 14
  4. ^ C. Willett and Phillis Cunnington, "The History of Underclothes", Dover Publications Inc., New York 1992. ISBN 0-486-27124-2 pp. 23-25
  5. ^ C. Willett and Phillis Cunnington, "The History of Underclothes", Dover Publications Inc., New York 1992. ISBN 0-486-27124-2 pp. 54
  6. ^ Linda Baumgarten, "What Clothes Reveal: The Language of Clothing in Colonial and Federal America", The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia, in association with the Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut 2002, ISBN 0-300-09580-5, p. 27
  7. ^ Linda Baumgarten, "What Clothes Reveal: The Language of Clothing in Colonial and Federal America", The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia, in association with the Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut 2002, ISBN 0-300-09580-5, pp. 20-22
  8. ^ C. Willet and Phillis Cunnington, "The History of Underclothes", Dover Publications Inc., New York 1992. ISBN 0-486-27124-2 pp. 36-39
  9. ^ C. Willet and Phillis Cunnington, "The History of Underclothes", Dover Publications Inc., New York 1992. ISBN 0-486-27124-2 pp. 73
  10. ^ Michel Pastoureau and Jody Gladding (translator), "The Devil's Cloth: A History of Stripes", Columbia University Press, New York 2001 ISBN 0-7434-5326-3, p. 65
  11. ^ Anne Buck, "Victorian Costume", Ruth Bean Publishers, Carlton, Bedford, England 1984. ISBN 0-903585-17-0
  12. ^ For example, see Laura I. Baldt, A.M., "Clothing for Women: Selection, Design and Construction", J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, PA 1924 (second edition), p. 312

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

SHIRT, an undergarment of linen, silk, cotton and flannel for the upper part of the body, usually only applied to such a garment when worn by men, though the term is becoming common as used of a plain form of blouse worn by women, the American "shirt-waist." The word is apparently Scandinavian in origin and is an adaptation of the Icel. skyrte, Dan. skiorte, properly a short garment, and is derived from the root skar - to cut off; it is cognate with Ger. Schurz, apron, and the same root is seen in "short," "shear" and "skirt"; the last word is now used of that part of a woman's garment which reaches from the waist to the feet, but properly means the lower part of the shirt, hence, edge, border of anything.


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Simple English

A shirt is a kind of cloth which is made to cover the chest. Some shirts have sleeves, which cover the arms. T-shirts are a type of shirt which has smaller sleeves. These sleeves cover the shoulders. Shirts which do not have sleeves are sleeveless. The basic measure are from XXXL (very large) (XXL XL L M S) to XXS used for industrial productions. More accurate measure use the collar has indication from 37 cm (14 inc.)up to 50 cm. Only shirts made by tailors (people who make clothes as a living) take many measurements into account [1] for a more fitting shirt.

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