Western Shirt History

Many of our shirts are inspired by classic western shirts. With origins in traditional work shirts, by the 1930s western shirts had developed their own distinct style suitable for town or ranch.  Rockmount Ranch Wear of Denver, Colorado made the first commercially available western shirts with snaps in the 1940s.  Rockmount’s founder, Jack Weil, was a man of western substance and style.  He lived in Denver until the age of 107.  In addition to being the first person to put snaps on western shirts, he also is credited with inventing the bolo tie.  

Believe it or not, western and Aloha shirts have been linked since the early days of each style.  In the 1940s, Rockmount already was making western shirts with prints that would have made great Aloha shirts, except the motifs were from scenes of the western frontier.  While we mix things up a bit to create our own take on the style, our western shirts have some or all of the following traditional features:

Snaps

Cowboy Reason: Because cowboys didn't like to sew buttons.  Also, snaps are a “breakaway” safety feature in case a cowboy’s shirt snags on a fence, saddle horn, or some other ornery object.

Our Take: Snaps add style points and make shirt removal a breeze. And ours are the toughest industrial-grade snaps on the market. 

Tailored Cut

Cowboy Reason: To prevent snags on brush or barbed wire.  

Our Take: A tailored cut gives our shirts a more modern look.

Shoulder Yokes

Cowboy Reason: For extra durability and protection.  Before they had western shirts, cowboys sometimes wore scarves across their shoulders as added protection from the elements.

Our Take: We use yokes to improve fit and add contrast and variety to our print designs.

Pockets with Flaps and Bartacks

Cowboy Reason: To keep goods secure while out wrangling the herd.  Some shirts alternatively use “smile” pockets with a design similar to the front pockets on pants.

Our Take: Our pocket flaps are western, but not 1970s-on-stage-at-the-Opry western. Our pockets are durable and reinforced with bartacks.  We will make a smile pocket when the time is right.

Long Sleeves

Cowboy Reason: For protection from the elements, particularly the sun. Some rodeos still won't admit you without long sleeves.

Our Take: Many classic Aloha shirts also have long sleeves. And if you roll your sleeves up (easy to do with our fabric), you now have short sleeves. Two shirts in one!

A sturdy collar, placket, and cuffs

Cowboy Reason: A cowboy can be rough around the edges, but not a cowboy's shirt.

Our Take: We spent a lot of time designing collar, cuffs, and placket to be both sturdy and comfortable.