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history Telnyashka

The horizontally striped undershirt was first brought to Russia in the mid-19th century by merchant seamen who bought and traded them in European ports. The shirts were given the status of Russia’s official navy uniform in 1874 and the modern design, with equally wide white and coloured stripes, was introduced in 1912. The colours of the stripes are related to different military functions – black for mariners, light blue for airborne personnel and green for border service.

history Telnyashka

telnyashka

The horizontally striped undershirt was first brought to Russia in the mid-19th century by merchant seamen who bought and traded them in European ports. Originally worn by sailors and fishermen on France’s Atlantic coast, the shirts were given the status of Russia’s official navy uniform in 1874. In a decree signed by Tsar Alexander II, the shirts were described as made of a 50/50 wool and cotton blend with blue and white stripes, 1.1 and 4.4 centimetres wide respectively.

The modern design with equally wide white and coloured stripes was introduced in 1912. The name ‘telnyashka’ translates to ‘body shirt’ and the single-thread jerseys are still worn as an undergarment by the Russian army and navy. The colours of the stripes are related to different military functions – black for mariners, light blue for airborne personnel and green for border service.