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The Reason Young Sheldon's Look Changed In Big Bang Theory Is Simple - Or Very Sad

In giving fans of the often cringe-worthy "The Big Bang Theory" a look at what Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons, Iain Armitage) was like as a kid, "Young Sheldon" fills in the blanks of his upbringing. What is his relationship with his siblings like? What was his father, George Cooper Sr. (Lance Barber, who found Armitage to be a class act on set), like before his death? Questions like these and many others are thoroughly answered by the show's seventh and final season. However, "Young Sheldon" is also good at generating more questions about its title character. For example, why does he typically dress so fashionably and adult-like as a kid, but switches to primarily plain pants and graphic T-shirts as an adult?

Fans of both sitcoms have pondered this phenomenon, as seen in a Reddit thread on the topic by u/AirAffectionate7209, with two prevailing theories arising. Redditors like u/Earl_I_Lark believe that Sheldon's wardrobe change has to do with his living situation. On "Young Sheldon," he has his parents around and they are responsible for his clothes, but once he gets older and his budget gets tighter, he goes simpler on "The Big Bang Theory." Meanwhile, others such as u/freedog-88 think that his outfits could be something of a trauma response, with the unexpected death of his father leading him to feel stuck in his childhood years. He then expresses such feelings through his wardrobe.

Neither "The Big Bang Theory" nor "Young Sheldon" spend too much time explaining Sheldon's clothing choices, but his adoption of graphic T-shirts is pretty important all the same.

The importance of Sheldon's graphic T-shirts

Throughout the bulk of "Young Sheldon," which arguably should be the last classic family sitcom, Sheldon Cooper's outfits don't deviate too much. He's typically seen in a plaid dress shirt of some kind tucked into a pair of slacks. He even wears a bow tie as part of his regular everyday wear. He only takes a big stride in becoming closer to the Sheldon of "The Big Bang Theory" at the tail end of Season 5. As pointed out by u/ponponpatapon_acct in the aforementioned Reddit thread, at this point in his life he begins to integrate graphic T-shirts into his clothing rotation.

While Redditor u/NYY15TM mentions that he doesn't always go for a more casual look beyond this point, Sheldon wearing such shirts at all is a big deal. Through his clothes, the final few seasons of "Young Sheldon" mark a transitional period where that show's version of the character comes significantly closer to becoming that of "The Big Bang Theory." This is also major because it pulls these two shows much closer together. Yes, they're set in the same universe and focus on the same key character, but between their different visual styles — "Big Bang" utilizing one camera while "Young Sheldon" using multiple, for example — and the discrepancy in their tones, they can feel vastly different. This seemingly innocuous visual cue goes a long way in remedying that.

Sheldon Cooper, no matter his age, is far from a fashionable guy, but it's fair to say that his clothing choices carry a lot of meaning and are sure to generate further conversation among "Young Sheldon" and "The Big Bang Theory" fans.