A Short History Of The Shirt

The First Shirts

Long ago, the shirt was very different to the one we know nowadays. It started off as nightwear or underwear for men and had no collar or cuffs. It was placed over the head and tightened or buttoned with a hem. Once the Middle Ages came, the option to have a detachable or fixed collar became available. In the 1700s, men stopped wearing them as underwear and instead focused on having the biggest, most detailed collar made with lace and embroidery.

A Short History Of The Shirt

The Popularity of the Tailor

Instead of the factory-produced shirts we see today, shirts were made by a tailor or wife, depending on your social status. It was a simple piece of clothing that was the same for everyone until the 19th century, when tailors began to design them based on body shape. The collar was removed, and more designs became available, including labour and sports shirts.

A Short History Of The Shirt

Modern Times

Towards the end of World War 1, the fully buttoned shirt became more popular, and the fixed collar made a comeback. Linen and silk had previously been the most common material used, but in the 1950s nylon began to be used. Along came short-sleeved shirts for those who wanted to make a statement, and the chest pocket was added.

Back to the Tailor

Although most people nowadays tend to buy mass-produced shirts, there are still some who prefer to use a tailor. Buying a tailor-made shirt ensures that it is the perfect fit and of the utmost comfort. However, with high street and online retailers now catering for all shapes and sizes, you are able to get a well-fitting shirt almost anywhere. Mens Farah shirts, such as those available from http://ejmenswear.com/brands/farah, are a good example due to the range they have on offer.


Whilst most men will have a decent collection of shirts, whether that is for work or socialising, it is evident that they are not as popular as they once were. Wearing a shirt used to be a must when going to work, but even that could be declining. However, even with the addition of casual Fridays, some companies see shirts as a must for a professional appearance.

A well-fitting shirt is an absolute essential – it just might be hard to narrow your choice down to only one style.