National Camp T-Shirt Day is celebrated on November 15. If you’ve ever gone to a camp, you know it’s a memorable experience. Whether you were a counselor or an attendee, the nostalgia always hits hard. Camp t-shirts are the best keepsakes to remind you of those days. Over six million children in the U.S. attend some form of a camp. It’s a formative memory for many young Americans, and they look back on it with fondness. National Camp T-Shirt Day rewinds the clock. This holiday celebrates the camp spirit and the lessons and skills you learned while there.
History of National Camp T-Shirt Day
T-shirts are the cornerstone of cool, casual wear. More than 100 years after their inception, they’re still one of the most common clothing items. The design and style options are limitless, with hundreds of brands. The first t-shirts were advertised as undergarments. Brands like the Cooper Underwear Company marketed the bachelor undershirt to men in 1904. These rugged cotton undershirts needed no thread to put them on, making them ideal for single men.
In the 1940s, t-shirts were associated with the military. Many veterans returned home with military-issue undershirts, wearing them as everyday garments. Retailers like Sears began selling civilian versions, which buyers liked for their comfort and versatility. T-shirts were also a tool for advertising. Thomas E. Dewey ran for New York Governor in 1948, using t-shirts printed with an image of his face and the words “Do It With Dewey.”
By the late 1950s, companies realized the value of marketing using clothes. Walt Disney released a line of Mickey Mouse promotional t-shirts to advertise films and theme parks. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, rock stars printed the logos of their bands on t-shirts. Fans of groups like Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, and the Sex Pistols wore these often controversial t-shirts. In the 1980s, Los Angeles police chief Daryl Gates’ anti-drug campaign used t-shirts to advertise D.A.R.E. – Drug Abuse Resistance Education. The evolution of t-shirts from male undergarments to everyday clothing for people worldwide is a fascinating look at how versatile and timeless they are.
National Camp T-Shirt Day timeline
T-shirts made of cotton and silk are sold to men as undergarments.
The first band t-shirt debuts with an image of Elvis Presley and the names of four of his songs.
The iconic ‘I Heart New York’ t-shirt gets launched by former New York Governor Hugh Carey.
American skateboarding lifestyle and clothing company Supreme releases its box design logo t-shirt.
National Camp T-Shirt Day FAQs
Who invented white t-shirts?
White t-shirts date back to the 1800s when English inventor William Cotton invented the commercial knitting machine that brought shirts to the masses.
When did printed t-shirts appear?
Printed t-shirts emerged in the 1950s when companies based in Miami began publishing famous resorts and characters on t-shirts.
Why is it called a t-shirt?
T-shirts get their name from their shape, which resembles the upper case letter ‘T.’
National Camp T-Shirt Day Activities
Wear your camp t-shirt
Put on your favorite camp t-shirt to celebrate the day. It might be a good idea to buy a few more as well.
Take a picture
Roughly 80% of camps use social media as part of their marketing strategy. Take a selfie in your camp t-shirt and share it on social media with #NationalCampTShirtDay.
Make a quilt
If you’ve got some old camp t-shirts that are too ratty or don’t fit anymore, don’t throw them away. Gather them up and make a quilt instead.
5 Cool Facts About T-Shirts
How they got their name
The first documented use of the word ‘t-shirt’ is in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Side of Paradise.”
Hollywood made them famous
Hollywood stars like John Wayne, Marlon Brando, and James Dean turned t-shirts from an undergarment into a fashion statement.
The first promo t-shirt
The first promo t-shirts advertised “The Wizard of Oz” in 1939.
Most t-shirts worn by one person
The Guinness World Record for the most t-shirts worn by one person stands at 260 shirts, achieved by Ted Hastings of Ontario, Canada.
The size of the industry
Two billion t-shirts get sold worldwide each year.
Why We Love National Camp T-Shirt Day
The fond memories
Do you know that old t-shirt that’s faded or full of holes that you just can’t bring yourself to get rid of? You probably hold onto it because it evokes fond memories of your past. Every time you wear or even look at your t-shirt, you go on a little nostalgia trip.
Endless choices and styles
T-shirts have a variety of designs and colors. You can get long-sleeved shirts, tank tops, or short-sleeved shirts.
T-shirts make great souvenirs
There’s a reason every camp sells t-shirts as part of their memorabilia: camp t-shirts are excellent souvenirs, and they’re practical too.
National Camp T-Shirt Day dates