Welcome to the sixth installment of Sliding Scale, a series in which we bring you a single product for every budget. This month we’re rounding up Denim Western Shirts. Thrown over a tee for an easy summer look, or casually dressed up with a soft-shouldered blazer and tie, a good denim western is as versatile as it gets, and a great addition to any warm weather wardrobe. Here are our nine responsibly-made favorites.
Denim & Spirits
Kicking off the list is Tennessee’s Denim & Spirits, whose American-made Western Shirts come in 100% cotton denim and chambray (as well as flannel and gingham). Prices start at $65, and each shirt is made to order with a turnaround time of 7 – 10 days.
Next up is Rockmount Ranch Wear, a company that’s been making authentic western clothing in the USA for over three generations. Their slim fit western shirts come in chambray, denim, and wool, have diamond snaps and sawtooth pockets, and are priced at $86.00 and up.
Clocking in at $98 are the Pearl Snap Shirts from Buck Mason, which are made in Los Angeles out of 8 oz. indigo dyed chambray and come in two custom washes (light and dark).
Spellbound’s Denim Western Shirts are artisan-made in Japan out of indigo-dyed Japanese denim, and have the most modern fit (read: slimmest / shortest) of any of the shirts on the list so far. At Spellbound’s American and European stockists, these cost over $300, but you can get them for around $126 via Rakuten. The light wash pictured above is here. And a darker rinsed version is here.
Another Japanese brand that can be scored for cheap on Rakuten is Iron Heart. However, unlike Spellbound’s shirts which are pre-washed, Iron Heart’s westerns come raw and very rigid. Everything from the fabrics (most of which are selvedge), to the trimmings, to the shirts themselves is artisan-made in Japan, and each shirt takes months, if not years, to break in (seriously). These also cost around $300 in the US and EU, but they’re only $130 – $200 via Rakuten.
8.15 August Fifteenth
If you like the idea of breaking a shirt in yourself, but would prefer something a little more forgiving than the Iron Hearts, check out the slim-fit California Ranch Shirt from New York’s 8.15 August Fifteenth. It’s cut and sewn in the USA out of 6 oz. Japanese denim, and is now $135 (down from $225). UPDATE: Get an extra 20% off with code ADDITIONAL20.
For those seeking a more patriotic option, there are the slim-fit Western Denim Shirts from Dickies 1922, which are made in the USA out of American denim (Cone Mills White Oak, to be exact). Both a light wash and dark wash is available, and prices range from $150 – $155.
For a brand that’s known for its creative embellishments (read: pockets on pockets on pockets), the NYC-made, 100% cotton chambray Western Shirt from Engineered Garments is pretty straight-forward. That said, it does have a serge finished hem, and those three pointed cuffs, so it’s not totally without flair. Context has it for $175.
And finally, there are the Albacore Shirts from Visvim, which I feel a little conflicted about including. On the one hand, they’re made in Japan out of Japanese selvedge denim, they fit great, and they have those really cool contrast panels on the forearm. On the other, none of those things justify the shirts’ ridiculously high prices. I mean, even if you can afford one of these, you have to know that you’re just paying for branding (and, I guess, the approval – or envy – of a small handful of strangers on the internet). But, if that’s something you want to spend your money on, you can get these from Haven for between $740 and $815, depending on the shirt.