A custom shirt is a custom garment for the upper body. Originally an item of underwear worn exclusively by men, it has become in American English a catch-all term for almost any upper-body custom garment other than custom outerwear such as custom sweatshirts or custom coats, or undergarments such as bras (the term "top" is sometimes used in custom ladies wear). In British English, a custom shirt is more specifically a custom garment with a collar, sleeves with cuffs, and a full vertical opening with buttons; what is known in American English as a custom dress shirt.
The world's oldest preserved custom garment, discovered by Flinders Petrie, is a "highly sophisticated" linen custom shirt from a First Dynasty Egyptian tomb at Tarkan, ca. 3000B.C. "the shoulders and sleeves have been finely pleated to give form-fitting trimness while allowing the wearer room to move. The small fringe formed during weaving along one edge of the cloth has been placed by the custom designer to decorate the neck opening and side seam."
The custom shirt was an item of men's underwear until the twentieth century. Although the woman's custom chemise was a closely related garment to the man's, it is the man's garment that became the modern custom shirt. In the middle ages it was a plain, undyed custom garment worn next to the skin and under regular custom garments. In medieval artworks, the custom shirt is only visible (uncovered) on humble characters, such as shepherds, prisoners, and penitents. In the seventeenth century men's custom shirts were allowed to show, with much the same erotic import as visible underwear today. In the eighteenth century, instead of underpants, men "relied on the long tails of custom shirts ... to serve the function of drawers. Eighteenth century costume historian Joseph Strutt believed that men who did not wear custom shirts to bed were indecent. Even as late as 1879, a visible custom shirt with nothing over it was considered improper.
The custom shirt sometimes had frills at the neck or cuffs. In the sixteenth century, men's custom shirts often had custom embroidery, and sometimes frills or lace at the neck and cuffs, and through the eighteenth century long neck frills, or jabots, were fashionable. Colored custom shirts begin to appear in the early nineteenth century, as can be seen in the paintings of George Caleb Bingham. They were considered custom casual wear, for lower class workers only, until the twentieth century. For a gentleman, "to wear a sky-blue custom shirt was unthinkable in 1860 but had become standard by 1920 and, in 1980, constituted the most commonplace event."
European and American women began wearing custom shirts in 1861, when the "Garibaldi Blouse", a red shirt as worn by the freedom fighters under Giuseppe Garibaldi, became fashionable.
Types of custom shirts
Custom camp shirt - a loose, straight-cut, short sleeved shirt or blouse with a simple placket front-opening and a "camp collar."
guayabera - an embroidered dress shirt with four pockets.
Custom T-shirt - also "custom tee shirt", a casual shirt without a collar or buttons, made of a stretchy, finely knit fabric, usually cotton, and usually short-sleeved. It is a common shirt for informal events.
Custom Ringer T-shirt - custom tee-shirt with a separate piece of fabric sewn on as the collar and sleeve hems.
Halfshirt - a high-hemmed custom t-shirt.
A-shirt or construction shirt or singlet (in British English) - essentially a sleeveless t-shirt with large armholes and a large neck hole, often worn by labourers or athletes for increased movability. Sometimes called a "wife beater" when worn without a covering layer.
Camisole - woman's custom shirt with narrow straps, or a similar garment worn alone (often with bra). Also referred to as a cami, shelf top, spaghetti straps or strappy top.
Custom tennis shirt, custom golf shirt, or custom polo shirt - a custom v-neck shirt with a full collar; opening often closed with buttons or zipper running partway down the front. Short or long sleeve. Sometimes custom embroidered with club or designer insignia. Often worn with a sweater vest.
Rugby custom shirt - typically a rugged long-sleeved custom polo shirt, of thick cotton or wool.
Henley custom shirt - a collarless polo shirt.
Baseball custom shirt - usually distinguished by a three quarters sleeve, team insignia, and flat waistseam.
Custom sweatshirt - long-sleeved athletic shirt of heavier material, with or without hood.
Tunic - primitive custom T-shirt, distinguished by two-piece construction. Initially a men's garment, is normally seen in modern times being worn by women.
Shirtwaist - historically (circa. 1890-1920) a woman's tailored shirt (also called a "tailored waist") cut like a man's dress shirt; in contemporary usage, a woman's dress cut like a men's dress shirt to the waist, then extended into dress length at the bottom
Nightshirt - often oversized, ruined or inexpensive light cloth undergarment shirt for sleeping.
Sleeveless shirt - A shirt with no sleeves. Contains only neck, bottom hem, body, and sometimes shoulders depending on type.
Halter top - a shoulderless, sleeveless custom t-shirt garment for women. It is mechanically analogous to an apron with a string around the back of the neck and across the lower back holding it in place.
Tops that would generally not be considered shirts:
Onesie or diaper shirt - a shirt for infants which includes a long back that is wrapped between the legs and buttoned to the front of the shirt.
Custom Sweatshirts - heavy knitted upper garments.
jackets, coats and similar outerwear
tube top (in American English) or boob tube (in British English) - a shoulderless, sleeveless "tube" that wraps the torso (not reaching higher than the armpit, staying in place by elasticity or by a single strap that is attached to the front of the tube.
Parts of custom shirts
Many terms are used to describe and differentiate types of custom tee-shirts (and upper-body garments in general) and their construction. The smallest differences may have significance to a cultural or occupational group. Recently, (late 20th century) it has become common to use tops to carry messages or advertising. Many of these distinctions apply to other upper-body garments, such as custom coats and custom sweaters.
Famous custom shirt makers
Thomas Pink, England
Turnbull & Asser, England
Types of shirting Fabrics
There are main two categories of Shirting Fabric i.e. Natural Fiber and Man-Made Fiber (Synthetics or Petroleum based). Some of Natural Fiber fabric are 100% cotton, Bamboo, Soya, now Organic Cotton widely used in making shirts of high quality.
Synthetics fiber are Polyester, Tencel, Viscose etc. These are easy care fabrics, some times low in cost.
Polyester mixed with cotton (Polycotton) and 100% cotton are most used in shirting fabrics.
Custom Shirts and politics
Red custom shirts was the name used by Garibaldi's troops in Italian Unification.
In 1920s and 1930s, the fascism chose colored custom shirts for made explicit its ideology:
Black custom shirts was used by Italian fascio, and in Britain, Finland and Germany (SS)
Brown custom shirts was used by German Nazis of SA
Blue custom shirts was the name of the fascist movement in Ireland and Canada, and the color of Spanish Falange Española, French Solidarité Française and Chinese Blue Shirts Society.
Green custom shirts was used in Hungary, Romania and Brazil
Camisas Doradas (golden custom shirts) in Mexico
Silver custom shirts in the United States of America
Red custom shirts in Turkey.