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A History of the Cap Sleeve Shirt

25 Apr 2019
Cap sleeve shirts have become a staple piece for all women, but this was not always the case. Button-up shirts were the norm until around the 1950s but then, coming in a range of styles, colors and sizes, cap sleeve shirts took off. So how did cap sleeve shirts become an essential feature in our wardrobes and how did it become so popular? Here at Heirloom Clothing, we know A LOT about the essential shirts you have in your closet, and today we are going to dive into the history of the cap sleeve shirt to uncover their takeover!

Origins of the Classic Cap Sleeve

The cap sleeve t-shirt as we know it was born out of military tradition. In the United States, the cap sleeve shirt first emerged around the time of WWI as an undergarment for uniforms.
During WWII, shirts started to be made from synthetic fabrics like rayon, nylon and viscose because most of the wool was being used for military uniforms. This led to a higher production of cap sleeve shirts and even the sleeveless version — tank tops. Cap sleeve shirts and tank tops started as layering shirts but by the time the war ended, veterans would wear their service trousers with their cap sleeve shirt undershirts as casual wear.

How it Became Fashionable

It took a while for this masculine undergarment, then casual outerwear, to morph into fashionable womenswear. Even though the shirt began to be used in the 1920s, it took people a long time to accept it as a fashionable item. Between the 1990s and through the end of the ‘80s, women started wearing them more and more, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that this kind of shirt became a fashion staple. Women began wearing cap sleeve shirts as both layering shirts and as casual outerwear paired with simple blue jeans. Today people still wear the cap sleeve shirt as both a t-shirt and a layering shirt.

The cap sleeve shirt is so successful thanks to its comfort and simplicity. Whether you want to dress up or dress down, women were finding that cap sleeves could be used for both. Further, if you were looking to hide any imperfections, wearing the cap sleeve as a layering shirt began to be the perfect solution. To this day, they are still such a versatile piece that is worn anywhere and at anytime.

Since its humble origin, the cap sleeve has remained a key element of the classic yet casual wardrobe style — everyone needs a cap sleeve shirt in their closet. This classic look has evolved over time and now leaves women plenty of room for self-invention and creativity. To summarize, over the last century, cap sleeve shirts have become a necessity for all women.

Here at Heirloom Clothing, we understand the need for quality layering shirts and so we designed our cap sleeve shirts to move and stretch with you, not to mention, withstand all your daily activities and lifestyle. Check out our store to get your own cap sleeve shirt or any other essentials you need!

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