This year marks the 100th anniversary of the cotton t-shirt. Forbes noted the occasion with this fun article, The T-Shirt Turns 100: According to a survey conducted by online t-shirt design company CustomInk [a Comfort Colors distributor], 87% of Americans who wear t-shirts have at least one they refuse to throw away for sentimental reasons. Psychologist Jennifer Baumgarter, author of You Are What You Wear, worked with CustomInk to analyze this statistic as a part of the company’s birthday celebration for the t-shirt. She explains, “The t-shirt speaks to us on so many levels. It’s utilitarian, it’s affordable, it’s customizable, it’s not gender specific, it’s not season specific, it’s not even functionally specific. We can wear it with a ball gown or you can wear it throwing baseballs.”
We know the T-shirt. We love the T-shirt. Cotton is ‘the fabric of our lives’. Forever. But what of Cotton’s ugly stepsister, Polyester? According to Schwartz.eng.auburn.edu, “Polyester was first introduced to the American public in 1951. It was advertised as a miracle fiber that could be worn for 68 days straight without ironing and still look presentable.” (What did it look like on the 69th day??)
Hailed as the miracle fiber in the 50’s and 60’s when everything space-age was the rage, polyester made our lives easier. Remember the double-knit suit? Remember Mr. McGuire in The Graduate? He advocated plastics for Benjamin’s future. We all thought he was nuts, but now polyester, a plastic invented in Britain in the early 1940s, is having a renaissance. We love it now for many of the same reasons we loved it then. Its durability and versatility are legendary.
Polyester by itself is one thing, but combined with cotton is the best of both worlds. That’s why we carry a couple cotton-poly blends (80% cotton/20% poly) at Comfort Colors. Our Ladies sweats are wrinkle-resistant, shrink-resistant, ease to care for and keep their shape…while having the feel of cotton.
Cotton T’s will surely will live on for another 100 years. And with a little help from polyester, so will your favorite sweats. They’ll be presentable anytime, anywhere…no matter how many days in a row they’ve been worn.