Before you buy a new T-shirt, here are 8 things to know.

They're totally comfortable, always fashionable ... and not super-sustainable.

It's one of the most famous — and ubiquitous — articles of clothing in modern history. So much so that you're probably wearing one right now.

It's the mighty T-shirt, and though it may seem simple and unassuming, there's quite the story in its humble threads. So, in honor of T-shirt weather, here are nine important things — good and bad — that you might want to know about this beloved article of clothing.

1. F. Scott Fitzgerald — you know, the author of "The Great Gatsby" — is credited with naming the T-shirt.


Sometimes the simplest product names are the best. Image via Ilan Sharif/Flickr.

Hold up a T-shirt, and it's easy to see the letter shape it forms. Fitzgerald thought so, too — he's credited with the first written appearance of the word "T-shirt." In his 1920 novel "This Side of Paradise," F. Scott Fitzgerald described a character's wardrobe as "provided with 'six suits summer underwear, six suits winter underwear, one sweater or T shirt, one jersey, one overcoat, winter, etc.'"

2. There's a Guinness World Record for the most T-shirts worn at once, because of course there is.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, yes, Joey, you could. GIF from "Friends."

When there are world records for the largest hockey stick (big ups to Duncan, B.C., Canada) and most eggs crushed with the head in 30 seconds, there absolutely has to be one for wearing the most T-shirts at the same time.

The holder of this very specific title as of this writing is Sri Lanka's Sanath Bandara, who wore 257 T-shirts at once to win it in 2011. Altogether, the shirts weighed more than 200(!) pounds.

3. 9 out of 10 Americans are probably wearing a T-shirt right now.

There's a matching T-shirt for every one of those hoodies. Image via iStock.

According to a 2013 survey by CustomInk, 95% of Americans wear T-shirts with 89% of them wearing one at least once a week.

4. James Dean and Marlon Brando looked so good in T-shirts that it basically defined their early careers — and started the T-shirt craze.

Marlon Brando in "A Streetcar Named Desire." Image via Wikimedia Commons.

If you've seen the 1951 version of "A Streetcar Named Desire," there's probably one moment you remember most: Marlon Brando, standing in the rain in his ripped T-shirt, yelling for Stella. Ditto for "Rebel Without a Cause": James Dean, effortlessly cool, wearing a T-shirt and blue jeans lounging against a muscle car.

These visuals are iconic, and they helped make Brando and Dean into heartthrobs and superstars. Brando's T-shirt-wearing was particularly shocking because T-shirts were not meant to be worn on their own (they were called bachelor undershirts, meant to be worn under another shirt). But instead of hurting shirt sales, he boosted them big time.

5. Cotton — the most common ingredient in t-shirts — is a huge business.

Image by iStock.

In the United States alone, there are 35,000 cotton farms, employing about 170,000 people.

6. T-shirts take a lot of cotton to make. And even more water.

Making T-shirts is thirsty work. Image by iStock.

Most T-shirts are made completely or partly from cotton. America is the third-largest cotton producer in the world, harvesting almost 13 million bales, or 6.2 billion pounds, in 2015-16. For every acre of cotton harvested, fabric companies can make 1,200 T-shirts.

That's not a bad ratio — until you consider water use. It takes about 700 gallons of water to grow enough cotton for just one T-shirt. That's enough to fill an eight-person hot tub.

7. New shirts made from recycled cotton can make a big difference.

Image by iStock.

T-shirts made with recycled cotton look and feel identical to their non-recycled counterparts. There's one big difference: Their sale keeps tons of textile waste out of landfills every year.

8. Millions of T-shirts are donated at thrift shops every year. But even more end up in places like this.

Behold, the final eternal resting place of so many ironic T-shirts. Image by iStock.

Landfills are a depressing place for any object — let alone a favorite T-shirt that's a little past its prime. Many shirts will find their way to a new friend, but for those that don't, there's still a chance for a second life when you donate rather than throwing away ... just ask Macklemore.

Looks like Oscar's ready to pop some tags, too. GIF from "Sesame Street."

All in all, there's a lot more that goes into making and selling T-shirts than might meet the eye.

Heroes
True
Savers

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture