03/07/2013 06:40 BST | Updated 03/07/2013 07:52 BST

Texas Teacher Dale Irby Wears Same Outfit For 40 Years In Dallas (PICTURES, GIF)

A fun-loving teacher has become an internet sensation after school photos of him wearing the same tank top and shirt for 40 years went viral.

Dale Irby, 63, accidentally wore the same brown v-necked tank top and big-collared disco shirt in two consecutive school photos from 1973.

When he realised what he had done, the embarrassed teacher's wife Cathy dared him to repeat it for a third year.

dale irby same top teacher

The PE teacher managed to keep up the joke and for the past 40 years staff and pupils have eagerly awaited Mr Irby's arrival at school for the annual photo.

As the years went on, Dale's moustache would grow a bit, his hair would thin and grey and his spectacles would be replaced.

But the one constant was his tank-top and shirt combination which he bought at his local shopping mall.

dale irby teacher same top 40 years

Dedicated Dale, who has just retired after after 40 years at Prestonwood Elementary school in Dallas, Texas, is now experiencing fame for the first time.

His local newspaper, the Dallas Morning News, ran a piece on his wacky tradition and the hilarious photos have gone viral, turning him into an overnight celebrity.

He said: "It all started by mistake. After I got the photos back from the second year I realised what I had done.

"So my wife Cathy, who I met in my first year teaching, dared me to repeat it again for a third year and we didn’t stop.

"The shirt is now faded and the wool vest has several holes but it has all been worth a few laughs."

Dale, who has a son and daughter with wife Cathy, would put the 1970s attire on for the photo and immediately take it off afterwards.

He’s proud that, despite having owned the attire for 40 years, both items fit him but admits the clothes can no longer be cleaned for fear they would crumble in the washing machine.

The photos of Dale in his shirt and sweater combo are are still kept in the same drawer - and now he has retired he admit it’s unlikely the picture collection will get any bigger.

He added: "It really wasn’t stylish and, to tell you the truth, it was a little bit tighter in the latter years than it was in the beginning. But I could still wear it and button it.

"I doubt that I’ll wear it again, even in a dare."