The 8 Coolest Pearl Snap Shirts You Can Buy Right Now
Despite its utilitarian origins as a work shirt for ranchers and bull riders, the pearl snap has earned its place as an Americana staple. In Texas, a pearl snap shirt is a wardrobe standard — the equivalent of a plain white t-shirt or faded pair of blue jeans. There’s even an Austin-brewed beer named Pearl Snap.
But even if you don’t live in the Lone Star State, you should own at least one pearl snap shirt to add some variety to your rotation of button-downs.
Now, the pearl snap shirt as we know it came into existence just after WWII. And over the years, it’s gone through multiple revisions — adapting to the trends of the times and filtering through wide collars, boxy fits, polyester fabric, and loud colors and patterns. These holdouts from yesteryear can be found at almost any vintage store in practically every state. Finding a good one can be hit or miss.
But recently, a slew of brands have revitalized and modernized the pearl snap shirt, providing slimmer cuts, easy-wearing cotton, and timeless cool.
We’ve hand-picked 8 brands making our favorite pearl snap shirts that you can buy right now.
When a brand only makes one thing, there’s an expectation that they excel at that one thing. This is the case with West Major, an Arizona-based startup that literally only makes pearl snap shirts (okay, they sell a hat, too, but pearl snaps are their bread and butter). And well, they have the pearl snap western shirt down cold.
West Major keeps their production small and clean, offering only a dozen shirt options at a time. They hone in on the details — fit, fabric, style. The cuts are slim and modern — it fits like a well-tailored dress shirt but looks equally as good untucked. They use 100% upcycled cotton giving the shirts a feeling of quality and durability. Oh yeah, they offer free repairs for life, so you can wear it out without fear.
Our pick is the Bone Ecru Western Shirt, a simple off-white pearl snap that will quickly become your favorite neutral button-down. Pair it with a suit and dress it up or pair it with jeans or cords for a casual look.
WYTHE NEW YORK
New York might not come to mind when you think of pearl snap shirts, but Wythe New York makes one of our favorites on this list: the Moleskin Pearl Snap Shirt in olive.
Wythe models their 100% cotton moleskin pearl snap after classic chamois shirts. They add a hint of western flavor, making this a good option for those who don’t want to go full-on cowboy. We love how soft these shirts are, how they break in over time, and how the pearl snaps are recreated from old enamel pearl snaps from the 50s that have yellowed with age. This shirt has a relaxed cut that looks great worn unbuttoned, layered over a t-shirt or waffle knit.
When it comes to pearl snap shirts, midweight denim is always a solid choice, and we dig the Howler Bros. Dust Up Denim Snap Shirt.
The Howler Bros. Dust Up is made with 100% midweight cotton denim and features a tailored fit that looks good tucked in or untucked. These shirts feel sturdy and look their best when you’ve actually dusted them up a bit. Our favorite addition is the sunglass cleaning microfiber at the hem — a clever addition we wish more brands would incorporate into their designs.
Double RL is a major player in the Americana arena — they practically defined Americana alongside Levi’s. For a darker denim pearl snap that you'll likely be able to pass down to your kids, we love the Double RL Slim Fit Denim Western Shirt.
But we recommend the Slim Fit Twill Western Shirt in olive. It's a lighter-weight, year-round, easy-wearer. The Slim Fit Twill is Double RL’s slimmest shirt silhouette, and it offers plenty of sleeve length for those of you who are a little long in the arms. We love the broken-in feel and fit of this shirt. It's worth the splurge.
IMOGENE + WILLIE
Imogene + Willie is one of our favorite brands specializing in Americana. Their take on the classic western shirt is the Leo Washed Pearl Snap — a comfortable, broken-in denim pearl snap sewn from a soft 3x1 twill with a killer vintage wash. It’s a heavier denim shirt at 7.25 ounces, but you can wear this one hard. We dig the offset pockets with a single snap on each.
Yeah, pearl snaps are such a thing in Texas that even golf apparel brands are getting in on the action. We love the Corduroy Pearl Snap in camel from Criquet Shirts, an Austin-based brand mainly known for its polo shirts. It’s a refreshing departure from standard cotton and denim shirts. While we dig the camel color, the charcoal and sand options are equally sleek.
Levi’s needs no introduction, and they’ve played a significant role in shaping western wear over the years. You can’t go wrong with Levi’s when it comes to pearl snaps. We dig the Barstow Western Denim Shirt in black denim with black snaps. Pair it with jeans for the iconic denim-on-denim look, or size up and wear it like a jacket. You can’t go wrong.
We'd be remiss to leave Wrangler off any list of pearl snap shirts. For a proper workhorse pearl snap shirt, look no further than the brand that’s as synonymous with western wear as it gets. We like the Premium Performance Advanced Comfort Cowboy Cut® Long Sleeve Spread Collar Solid Shirt in Brown. Yeah, that name might be a real mouthful, but this shirt walks the walk with a comfortable fit, enough sleeve and body length to stay tucked in all day, and a cool retro-inspired brown color that is closer to a dark orange.
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