4.01.2021

THE WESTERN SHIRT

The western shirt appeared at the beginning of the 19th century, during the conquest of the West. The outposts that welcomed the settlers were cosmopolitan; a cultural mix conducive to the creation of the first western shirts. The shirt is the result of a cultural mix: inspired by the traditional Mexican shirts worn by the vaqueros (made of silk or very light cotton) and the combat shirts worn by the Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War.

The American colonists, future cowboys, adapted these Mexican shirts to their way of life. In response to a need for durable and comfortable clothing, western shirts are made from thick denim, the very one that was used to make jeans. They are also suitable for horse riding: the classic buttons are replaced by press studs to prevent them from tearing off if falling off the horse; the shoulder yokes provide better support for the garment, they are also longer so that they don’t come out of the trousers when riding. From a richly decorated ceremonial garment, the western shirt becomes a real workwear, robust, simple and cheap.

However, the first western shirts were embroidered with designs of Mexican and Native American inspiration. Pockets, shoulder yokes and sleeves are piped, usually with a contrasting fabric of a different colour. Front plackets have up to 6 aligned buttons.

HUSBANDS

WESTERN SHIRT
George Harrison, The Dick Cavett Show (ABC), november 23rd, 1971

George Harrison, The Dick Cavett Show (ABC), november 23rd, 1971

Warren Beatty, 1977

Warren Beatty, 1977

John Lennon, Hit Factory studio in New York City, october 9th, 1980

John Lennon, Hit Factory studio in New York City, october 9th, 1980

Mick Jagger, 60s

Mick Jagger, 60s

Clem Burke by Roberta Bayley

Clem Burke by Roberta Bayley