Thomas Jefferson’s Shirt
This garment is representative of a type of work shirt common during the 18th century. Cut from a full width of fabric in a series of rectangles and squares to avoid waste, these shirts fit loosely, without any tapering in the body, and were long and full. A band or soft collar buttoned at the neck and the shirt opened in a deep slit down the front.
Plantation owners like Thomas Jefferson usually wore shirts of fine white linen, while people with fewer means wore shirts of unbleached muslin or coarser linen. A good pictorial reference on clothing of this period is Eighteenth-Century Clothing at Williamsburg by Linda Baumgarten.
This 18th century work shirt is recreated in 100% preshrunk cotton fabric with dropped shoulder seams and hardwood buttons.