2023 Ultimate Guide to Bowling Shirts History, Styles, and Buying Tips

If you’re a serious bowler, you know that your attire should be as stylish as your game. And what better way to make a statement on the lanes than with a bowling shirt? In this ultimate guide to bowling shirts, we’ll take a deep dive into the history of these iconic garments and explore some popular styles. We’ll also provide tips for buying the perfect bowling shirt so that you can look your best every time you step up to the foul line.

The History of Bowling Shirts

2023 Ultimate Guide to Bowling Shirts History, Styles, and Buying Tips

Bowling shirts have been around since the early 1900s, but they really took off in popularity during the 1950s and 1960s. It was during this time that bowling became a popular pastime for Americans of all ages, and the bowling alley became a hangout spot for teens and adults alike.

Bowling shirts were originally designed for practical reasons. They were made from lightweight fabrics like cotton or polyester, which allowed bowlers to move around freely without getting too hot or sweaty. They also featured boxy cuts and wide collars that made them easy to wear over undershirts or turtlenecks.

But it wasn’t long before bowling shirts became fashion statements in their own right. They came in a variety of bold colors and patterns, often featuring embroidery or screen prints of bowling-related images like pins or balls. Some even had personalized names or team logos emblazoned on the back.

Today, bowling shirts continue to be a popular choice for bowlers of all levels. Whether you prefer a classic retro style or something more modern and sleek, there’s a bowling shirt out there for you.

Popular Styles of Bowling Shirts

2023 Ultimate Guide to Bowling Shirts History, Styles, and Buying Tips

When it comes to bowling shirts, there’s no shortage of styles to choose from. Here are just a few of the most popular:

Retro Bowling Shirts

If you’re a fan of vintage style, a retro bowling shirt might be right up your alley. These shirts often feature bold colors and patterns like polka dots, stripes, or flames. Many also have wide collars and contrasting color panels on the chest and sleeves.

Button-Down Bowling Shirts

Button-down bowling shirts are a classic choice that never goes out of style. These shirts typically have a single breast pocket and a boxy cut, with buttons running down the front. They’re available in a range of colors and fabrics, from lightweight cotton to silky polyester blends.

Camp Bowling Shirts

Camp bowling shirts are perfect for bowlers who want to stand out from the crowd. These shirts often feature tropical or Hawaiian-inspired prints, with bright colors and bold graphics. They may also have short sleeves and a relaxed fit for added comfort on the lanes.

Retro Polo Shirts

If you prefer a more understated look, a retro polo shirt might be just what you need. These shirts have a classic polo collar and a button placket, but with a retro twist. Look for shirts with bold color blocking or embroidery on the chest for added interest.

No matter which style you choose, make sure your bowling shirt is comfortable and allows you to move freely. You don’t want anything hindering your game!

Tips for Buying the Perfect Bowling Shirt

2023 Ultimate Guide to Bowling Shirts History, Styles, and Buying Tips

Ready to invest in a new bowling shirt? Here are a few tips to help you find the perfect one:

Consider the Fit

When it comes to bowling shirts, fit is everything. You want a shirt that’s not too tight or too loose, and that allows you to move around freely without bunching or pulling. Look for shirts with a relaxed fit and plenty of room in the shoulders and arms.

Choose the Right Fabric

The fabric you choose can make a big difference in how comfortable you are on the lanes. Look for lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton or polyester blends. Avoid anything too heavy or thick, as this can make you feel overheated and uncomfortable.

Think About Style

As we’ve discussed, there are a variety of styles to choose from when it comes to bowling shirts. Think about the look you’re going for and choose a shirt that reflects your personal style. Don’t be afraid to go bold with colors and patterns!

Check the Details

When shopping for a bowling shirt, pay attention to the little details. Look for shirts with reinforced seams and high-quality buttons that won’t come loose after a few games. Make sure the shirt has a good length and won’t ride up or become untucked during play.

Consider Customization

If you’re really serious about your bowling game, consider customizing your shirt with your name or team logo. Many online retailers offer customization options, allowing you to create a truly unique shirt that represents your personal style and bowling skills.


2023 Ultimate Guide to Bowling Shirts History, Styles, and Buying Tips

Q1: What should I wear under my bowling shirt?

A: You can wear an undershirt or turtleneck under your bowling shirt for addedcomfort and warmth. Just make sure the layer underneath isn’t too bulky or thick, as this can affect your range of motion while bowling.

Q2: Can I wear a regular shirt instead of a bowling shirt?

A: Technically, yes, you can wear a regular shirt while bowling. However, bowling shirts are designed with the game in mind, so they offer greater comfort and mobility than regular shirts. Plus, they add a fun, retro flair to your bowling attire!

Q3: How should I care for my bowling shirt?

A: Most bowling shirts can be machine washed and dried on a low heat setting. However, it’s always a good idea to check the care label to make sure. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners, which can damage the fabric and cause colors to fade.

Q4: Are there any rules about what I can wear while bowling?

A: Each bowling alley may have its own dress code, so it’s best to check with the establishment before you go. In general, though, most alleys allow casual clothing like t-shirts, jeans, and athletic shoes. Some may prohibit items like sandals or high heels for safety reasons.

Q5: Where can I buy a bowling shirt?

A: Bowling shirts can be found at most sporting goods stores, as well as online retailers like Amazon and eBay. You can also find a variety of custom options through sites like Etsy and Zazzle.


Bowling shirts have been a staple of the sport for decades, offering both practicality and style for bowlers of all levels. Whether you’re a fan of retro looks or modern designs, there’s a bowling shirt out there for everyone. When shopping for a bowling shirt, be sure to consider fit, fabric, and style, and don’t be afraid to customize your shirt to truly make it your own. With the perfect bowling shirt, you’ll look and feel your best every time you hit the lanes!

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