The meaning of the T in T-shirt

These shirts get the deep thought they deserve

Matt: What does the T in T-shirt stand for? — Just Wondering, San Diego

T-shirts got all the deep thought they deserve. The T stands for T, the shape of the shirt when spread out flat. Lacking collars, open fronts, fancy sleeves, the blocky garments rated only that straightforward ID.

Update on November 22

M.A.:Pertaining to your answer on T-shirts [the name comes from the shape of the shirt], here is information I got in Reader’s Digest and at the Boston Tea Party Museum. Long ago, workers in the tea trade had a small problem with leaves getting in their clothing. One of the wives of the workers made a tea shirt so it would be easy to shake the leaves out. — Mark Lyons, Encinitas

The BTP Museum staff laughed so hard at the idea, they squirted orange pekoe out their noses. “T-shirt” is no older than the early part of the 20th Century, when men’s longjohn underwear became two-piece and buttonless. As for what you get from Reader’s Digest, sometimes it’s just gastritis.

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