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The Jackie Howe singlet

Cotton singlet is something that almost every male in Australia wears. They are usually named after the legendary sheep-shearer Jackie Howe here. Since he was the one who popularized this piece of clothing it is now popularly referred to as the Jackie Howe singlet. Shearing is a very difficult job with the shearers being paid based on the number of sheep they shear in a certain number of hours. It is a job that requires a lot of stamina and hard work.

Jackie Howe found that his flannel was restricting his shearing capabilities and therefore tore off the sleeves. He soon converted all his flannels into these specialty ‘singlet’ which was now beginning to catch the fancy of others. Till this point in time shearers used to wear only flannels as they believed that this would prevent chills even when they were soaked with sweat.

The manufacturers were not to be left behind and before long they too came out with innovative solutions in the form of cotton singlet. Navy blue is the predominant color used by manufacturers for Jackie Howe singlet till now. Then came the turn of the ‘athletic singlet’ and an entire industry was born, just to cater to the need of singlet around Australia. It is still sold in thousands around stores in various parts of the world.

A typical Jackie Howe singlet will come with certain standard features. One of them would be a neck holes and a loose fit arm that aids mobility apart. A ‘shearer’s tail’ is also part of a Jackie Howe singlet which is particularly designed to keep the lower back area warm. This is an important feature since shearers work with a bent back for long hours. These days these unique pieces of clothing are available in a variety of materials including cotton and piques knit and continue to enjoy the patronage of millions of males around the world.

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