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It’s hard to argue that an article of clothing as ubiquitous as the white tee is having a moment. But thanks to Jeremy Allen White’s portrayal of the damaged, perpetually T-shirt clad Chicago chef Carmy Berzatto on the recent FX hit The Bear, that simplest of clothing items is garnering new interest.
This is not, of course, the first time that the nation has fallen for the white tee—or the star wearing it. While originally manufactured for the US Navy as the top portion of a two-piece underwear set referred to collectively as “skivvies,” sailors and soldiers took to wearing the tee alone over their regulation chinos, and in civilian life, denim. But it took notable performances of a few young movies star, namely James Dean in 1951’s Rebel Without a Cause and Marlon Brando in 1955’s A Streetcar Named Desire, to turn the simple garment into a symbol of youth culture at home and Americana abroad.
The white tee continues to enjoy icon status today, both in its more contemporary iterations and the vintage-inspired loopwheel tees that are knit on antique machinery to give the fabric a stretchy feel and a seamless construction. We’ve collected plenty of examples of both below, along with some more unusual outliers. Read on to find your next go-to tee.