Bowling shirts first became popular back in the 1950s, as the sport of ten-pin bowling became popular in America. These bowling shirts were made of a blend of polyester and cotton, and were collared button up shirts (that may or may not have front pockets). The sport of ten-pin bowling does not actually require any special apparel (apart from bowling shoes), but bowling shirts have become traditional wear, nonetheless.
League and tournament play usually find players wearing custom bowling shirts as uniforms, with embroidered logos and team names. These bowling shirts offer no special advantage over other types of clothing, apart from providing the typical range of free movement for players. It is not exactly known how and why the traditional bowling shirt design came to be what it is now.
Many retailers now offer bowling shirts in various colors and designs, for both casual and professional players. Newer designs have been introduced over the years, from the traditional or retro bowling shirts to modern bowling shirts incorporating new technologies. They can also be found made of different materials and cloth from the traditional cotton or polyester bowling shirts. Some modern bowling shirts may be made of lighter materials that absorb sweat and help to keep the wearer comfortable.
A lot of bowling shirt retailers also offers embroidering services, and customers can choose from a set of available logos, or even provide their own logo. Clients may also choose their designs to be screen printed onto the bowling shirts, instead, depending on the particular retailer and the services they offer. This comes in handy for bowling teams who are looking for a fun but traditional uniform.
This is of course one of the purposes of the bowling shirt: to provide a recognizable uniform for players of the sport. In addition, through different designs, bowling shirts can also differentiate players from different teams.
Pricing for bowling shirts vary quite a bit. Some retailers offer discounts for large orders, and this can be an option for those looking to outfit many players in a tournament or league, for example. Smaller orders (for just a team, for instance) can be more flexible, by considering just how much each person is willing to pay for the shirt. Printed or embroidered designs often cost a little extra, and should also be considered when looking at the price.
While bowling shirts are by no means necessary for the enjoyment of the sport, they can help add fun (and even a bit of tradition) to any game of bowling.