Crisp, comfortable – and at over a hundred years old – timeless, the pocket t-shirt proves just how stylish simple can be.
With almost everything being postponed or cancelled for the foreseeable future, our everyday style has dropped the pretense in exchange for comfort.
But comfort and casual does not equal schlubby. It’s possible to have sharp, timeless summer style with just a pocket t-shirt.
Well if you think about, few things we wear today are as timeless as the pocket tee. First invented in the 19th century, t-shirts saw rapid expansion when they were given to US military service members during World War 1.
When they returned stateside in 1918, their government-assigned undershirts had become standards as they got back to work at home. The t-shirt rushed into mainstream clothing with the one-two punch of Marlon Brando and James Dean prominently wearing them in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and Rebel Without a Cause (1955), respectively.
Chest pockets were added in the ’50s and ’60s, and style icons like Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and the celebrities that emulate them, have embraced the pocket t-shirt ever since.
The pocket itself isn’t deep enough to be very functional. Large enough to stow a pack of cigarettes in the decades when that was a thing, these days the pocket may get sporadic use for stashing sunglasses or a parking lot ticket.