How the West Was Won: Making the Maker & Co. Western Shirt

The Western shirt has seemed ascendant these last few years, its rise commensurate with the drop-off in traditional office wear. And while we like a stiff denim pearl snap as much as the next horse wrangler, we warmed to the idea of a softer in-between, a Western shirt that looked the part but might be worn just as easily with side-tab trousers and Italian loafers as it would be with Levi’s and side-zip boots.

However, we wanted it to come from a maker who knows the score, and that’s where Hamilton Shirts comes in. Founded in 1883, Hamilton has passed through four generations of family ownership and is the oldest family-owned business in Houston. While its reputation today derives from custom and bespoke dress shirts, the maker is known to sew a mean Western shirt.

And for that, you can thank Lyle Lovett. Years ago, co-owner David Hamilton caught the Texas-born musician shopping at one of the company’s retail partners and made an introduction, which in time led to a collaboration.

“Over the years we developed a relationship, and fine-tuned his shirt style and fit,” Hamilton says. “Eventually, Lyle suggested that we make the shirts available to others. We were thrilled to do so, because authenticity and quality are so core to Hamilton, and we feel that Lyle is the ideal representative of that for a modern Western shirt.”

Although our Western shirt and those Hamilton created with Lovett share much of the same DNA, we worked with Hamilton to develop a style unique to Maker & Co. With the ability to tweak the design right down to the color of its stitches (believe us, we tried many samples,) we created something that bridges the divide between Downtown and Out West.

Cut and sewn from a cool-hued olive cotton, our Western shirt maintains key details like double patch-and-flap gusseted breast pockets and a Western yoke in the rear but keeps the front plain for a cleaner and more modern look while opting for traditional single-button barrel cuffs over triple. All in all, it’s a shirt that makes its Western provenance known when worn by itself with white denim and rolled-up sleeves but can look like any other fine dress shirt when slipped under a blazer.

You might even say that it stands at the frontier of contemporary style and American heritage, with a boot firmly planted in each camp. 

Style is synonymus with originality-how you transmute the things you've seen into something you haven't.

Jay Fielden