The Evolution of Shirts

Richard Thom
The Evolution of Shirts

Shirts are one of the best upper clothing that any man can wear. The history of shirts is not just a little tale. The world’s oldest preserved shirt is a highly sophisticated linen shirt from a first dynasty Egyptian tomb at Tarkan known to be as old as BC, discovered by Flinders Petrei.

The shirt what we know as today was basically an item of men’s underwear until the 12th century. In the middle ages, it was a very plain, un-dyed garment which was worn next to the body. It was considered improper and even uncivilized to wear shirt without having worn anything over it. It was customary to keep the shirt hidden under outer garments by the gentry and nobility. The only people who wore shirts without over dress were very humble people like shepherds, prisoners and peasants etc.

 Then, later in the seventh century, men were allowed to show their shirts and those shirts were quite long (called long tail) because men then did not wear underwear. Though, this change was growing slowly but even until 1879, it was considered a taboo and improper to wear shirts without something over it.

 In Victorian and post-Victorian age, shirts were made loose and had frills around the neck and cuffs. Men’s shirts before this time even had embroidery and lace at neck and the end of the sleeves. This age ended soon and with that the colour of men’s shirts changed. It was unimaginable for a man to wear a blue shirt in 1860s but in 1920s, it became a trend among men.

Although, shirts were primarily a garment worn by men but many women also began wearing shirts by the end of 1860s. This was influenced by Garibaldi. By the end of the 19th century, a shirt was described as ordinary clothing which was worn next to skin and had separate and adjustable collars and wrist bands.

Son shirts became popular and people started to wear them modern day ties and bows. Some other cultures also had their own kind of shirts with Chinese collar and different front. In the modern times shirts became very popular and now days any think garment worn over the upper torso is called or referred to as a shirt. There are many types of shirts that one can find today and with the advancement of technology, it has become very economical to make and buy shirts.

Though, this method of making shirts is quicker and economical but it does not gives satisfaction to the customer which comes with bespoke tailoring of shirts. Shirts should fit properly to the body and at the same time should be very comfortable to wear and look good on a person. At Apsley, you will find the finest tailors who make bespoke shirts, all according to the specifications of the customer with the trends in vogue.


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