When and where did people first start wearing this?
June 5, 2013 7:46 PM   Subscribe

Short-sleeve T-shirt over a long-sleeve thermal (i.e. waffle-weave, i.e. "long johns") shirt. Feel free to answer with when and where you personally first saw someone wearing this combination... if you were alive back then, natch!
posted by Mechitar to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (48 answers total)
I used to wear it back in high school in the mid to late 80's. It was a way to wear thermals for warmth and a t-shirt to look cool.
posted by jonmc at 7:47 PM on June 5, 2013 [6 favorites]

Early 1990s, New England.
posted by Diablevert at 7:48 PM on June 5, 2013

Mid-90's, grunge era.
posted by cairdeas at 7:49 PM on June 5, 2013 [4 favorites]

I don't have proof to back it up, but it sounds like quintessential Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. So early 80s California maybe?

Oh wait, here we go.
posted by supercres at 7:50 PM on June 5, 2013 [10 favorites]

Seen it/worn it first in late '70's, still do when need layers.
posted by bebrave! at 7:50 PM on June 5, 2013

A friend of mine did this in college in the late 80s.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 7:50 PM on June 5, 2013

Late 1970s. White thermals under black tshirts. I was just a kid, but grew up in New England, where layers like that were helpful to stay warm.
posted by xingcat at 7:51 PM on June 5, 2013

I started doing this in 1993, New England. Before I wore it I saw it mainly on outdoor-sporting types of folks: skaters, snowboarders, etc. (Also, by then it could be any kind of long-sleeve t, not just thermals).
posted by Miko at 7:51 PM on June 5, 2013

Seattle, early 90's, everyone did this. I am from New England, if that helps.
posted by jessamyn at 7:55 PM on June 5, 2013

To answer my own question: my first time seeing this was on myself - i.e. me trying something that as far as I knew I had never seen before, in 1991 in Indiana. Chances are that I had seen it before, though.
posted by Mechitar at 7:59 PM on June 5, 2013

We did it in high school in the late '70s in the Bay Area.
posted by trip and a half at 8:02 PM on June 5, 2013

Mid-80s New Jersey.
posted by HotToddy at 8:03 PM on June 5, 2013

Early 90s grunge, as a style/fashion thing. Although i'm sure people were layering this combo for warmth for as long tshirts existed?

Although i'm pretty sure that small children were wearing that in the mid 80s too.
posted by Kololo at 8:03 PM on June 5, 2013

Late '70s, northeast US, elementary school age. One clean long-sleeve shirt, one clean short-sleeve shirt. Put 'em together when it's cold.
posted by cocoagirl at 8:03 PM on June 5, 2013

First thought that came to mind was the grunge area of the 90s, but then, I was a baby in the 80s, so my frame of reference doesn't really go earlier than the 90s.

I can't pinpoint an exact moment/location or year though.
posted by AppleTurnover at 8:04 PM on June 5, 2013

Chances are that I had seen it before, though

Slightly different kind of short-sleeve shirt, but The Breakfast Club, maybe?
posted by Miko at 8:06 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

1996, Hong Kong (high school again).

It was a way to wear thermals for warmth and a t-shirt to look cool.

Yeah, this.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:12 PM on June 5, 2013

Well, one of the big advantages was if you had a cool logo/art on your tshirt, you didn't have to cover it up for 9 months of the year. You could just reverse the layers.
posted by Miko at 8:14 PM on June 5, 2013

Guns n Roses selling the look as a product in 1991.

Actually that may be a more recent shirt with an old logo on it.
posted by Miko at 8:16 PM on June 5, 2013

Early-to-mid-80s, junior high and high school, northern California.

I remember one sophomore-year PE class when a friend of mine dressed in thermals and like three layered t-shirts and two pairs of shorts. (Dunno why; she preferred the layered, baggy look.) The PE teacher sent her back to the locker room: "Not acceptable— go change!" So Friend went back to the locker room, took off her t-shirts, relayered them in a different order, and returned to the gym. As I remember, the PE teacher looked at her, sighed, and decided it wasn't worth hassling with it, and continued with whatever the rest of us were doing.
posted by Lexica at 8:21 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Late 70's while in high school, Southern Louisiana.
posted by JujuB at 8:22 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Seattle grunge 90s.
posted by matildaben at 8:28 PM on June 5, 2013

My dad worked the freight docks when I was a baby, and there's pictures of him wearing this. I think it's because he's just a *bit* bigger than my Grandpa was. Grandpa always wore thermals under his dress shirts so he had extra. My dad's t-shirts would bunch up *under* a borrowed thermal, so he wore them outside the thermal. Not layering was *not* an option on the docks - fuckin' cold.
posted by notsnot at 8:29 PM on June 5, 2013

My brothers dressed like that in California in the early 70s. They claim they brought the style to Alabama when we moved there in '74. Not sure if I believe them though.
posted by dawkins_7 at 8:31 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Feels like early 90s grunge era was when it got big - i totally associate the look with like Burnout Fashion.
posted by The Whelk at 8:41 PM on June 5, 2013

Born in Ottawa in '75, don't remember this not being a thing.
posted by kmennie at 8:41 PM on June 5, 2013

late 80s/early 90s, nyc
posted by elizardbits at 8:43 PM on June 5, 2013

Did this in the 70's as well as wore my gym shorts outside my sweatpants. Here is a Straight Dope message board conversation about it. THey talk about both the short sleeve t-shirt over a long sleeve one and gym shorts over sweat pants.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:58 PM on June 5, 2013

Every guy in the stoner crowd at my high school, 1976-1980, Northern California. Also, 3/4 sleeve baseball tshirts.
posted by jamaro at 9:22 PM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]

Late 70’s, Jr. High, High School in AZ. Also flannels over logo t-shirts.
posted by bongo_x at 9:38 PM on June 5, 2013

Mid 70s, Southern CA. People also did tank top over t shirt.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:52 PM on June 5, 2013

Oh, and flannels with the sleeves rolled up over long sleeve thermals so they showed.
posted by bongo_x at 10:37 PM on June 5, 2013

Late 70's. There were a couple of years that had blizzards and the schools ran tight on heating money. Girls wore the long knee length sweaters/coats . Guys layered. I also saw someone waering a hoodie, then black thermal with the t-shirt on top. It was a more practical fashion statement than most.
posted by stray thoughts at 3:03 AM on June 6, 2013

Mid 70s, long sleeve black Danskin body suit with short-sleeved "poor boy" knit sweater on top. All the rage.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:22 AM on June 6, 2013

My father used to dress like this until grunge came into fashion - he stopped because he did not want to look like an old man trying to be young. I believe there was a new york times article about the fashion style that was the catalyst for his change. There are photos of him dressed like that from the early 70s to late 60s.
posted by phil at 4:58 AM on June 6, 2013

It was definitely an early 90's grunge thing in New England, although I also immediately thought of Judd Nelson in the Breakfast Club.
posted by usonian at 5:12 AM on June 6, 2013

Ottawa in 1999 - I remember a raver girl in grade 9 trying this and being made fun of by her friends in the locker room for it.
posted by whalebreath at 5:20 AM on June 6, 2013

I did it in college in the midwest in the mid to late 80s.
posted by COD at 5:42 AM on June 6, 2013

I remember this look among the heavy metal/headbanger crowd in the 80's (PA), which is where I think 90's grunge got it from.
posted by mkultra at 6:37 AM on June 6, 2013

early 80's, oklahoma. not only thermals but all kinds of short over long sleeved. esp t shirts.
posted by domino at 6:39 AM on June 6, 2013

I have seen pictures of old Missouri loggers from the 30's wearing this (knit thermal with flannel shirt over it) as they rode logs down the river the the mill.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 8:06 AM on June 6, 2013

Early 70's, Spokane, Washington. It's cold up there in winter!
posted by Lynsey at 9:37 AM on June 6, 2013

Mid eighties. In teh mid nineties when I was in middle school i remember my favorite shirt was from Delia's or Alloy and it was a one piece shirt designed to look like a short sleeve t shirt with a long thermal sleve underheath (real layering always made me feel like a sausage in casing). I was, like, really cool.
posted by WeekendJen at 9:43 AM on June 6, 2013

Specifically a T-shirt with a thermal shirt, it would have been around 1985, Massachusetts. But longer shirt under shorter shirt in general: I had a set in the 1970s that probably came from the Sears catalog.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:44 AM on June 6, 2013

Late 70s, New Jersey.
posted by bink at 12:49 PM on June 6, 2013

Late 70's, Bay Area.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:15 PM on June 6, 2013

Late '70s, NJ middle school. This was the standard outfit for "burnouts" (kids that smoked cigs/weed, often got in trouble in school, took lots of shop classes).
posted by fings at 9:38 PM on June 6, 2013

1970s, Vancouver British Columbia. Classic working class look, consisting of clothes that you would actually wear to work in (see lumberjack shirts, as well). The grunge kids of the early 90s all looked like the people I'd gone to high school with 15 years earlier.
posted by jokeefe at 11:01 PM on June 8, 2013

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