Dress Shirt Trends Over the Years
The term “dress shirt” is one that many men are very familiar with. However, very few men are familiar with the history of the dress shirt – where it originated, what it was for, and even how it came to be such an important part of a man’s everyday attire. Here, you can learn more about dress shirt trends throughout the years and how they evolved into the popular garments they are today.
The First Shirts
The very first “shirt” can be viewed in Medieval artistry, and originally, these were designed as a form of underwear that protected frocks and waistcoats from soil and sweat. Since very little of the shirt showed beneath the waistcoat, it wasn’t much of a fashion statement in those days. They were often simple and made of nothing more than linen, hemp, or cotton. In artwork from that period, the shirt is only visible on less influential folk, including farmers, prisoners, and shepherds.
Graduation to Outer Garment Status
Up until about 1879, men who wore visible shirts with nothing over them were considered “improper”. In those days, it was the same as going into public in one’s underwear today. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the dress shirt became an outerwear garment. Later, things like embroidery and other embellishments, as well as the addition of colors from dyes, helped move the shirt into “casual wear” status. Lower-class workers often sported them, and even at the turn of the 20th century, it was unfathomable for any man to wear a sky-blue shirt.
Becoming More Commonplace
By the 1920s, however, it was perfectly acceptable for nearly any man to wear a shirt, and sky-blue was no longer frowned-upon. In fact, many of the dress shirts from the 1920s through the 1960s were pastel in color and featured larger collars than are considered trendy today. During that time, men often wore these collared, button-down dress shirts under suit jackets or blazers, and very few men wore them without some kind of overcoat even though it had become perfectly acceptable to utilize a shirt as an important part of men’s fashion.
The Big Changes in the 1980s
The biggest changes to men’s dress shirts came about in the 1980s, and by the time that decade rolled around, the sky-blue dress shirt was the most popular color on the market. By this time, designers had begun stiffening the collars and cuffs of these shirts, all while leaving the main part of the garment soft and comfortable. Dress shirts were staples for business gatherings and even formal events, and some men wore them casually along with loafers and a nicely-pressed pair of denim jeans.
Although the idea and general style of the dress shirt hasn’t changed much since the 18th and 19th centuries, things like collar size, colors, and patterns continue to change according to trends for each passing season. Today, dress shirts are still somewhat formal with a relatively stiff collar, a full-length opening secured by buttons or snaps, and sleeves with cuffs.