Western Horseman, May 1993
Special Section: Shirts
By Kathy Kadash

Reprint in part:

The western shirt is part of the look and the lifestyle. Between the hats, the boots, and the jeans, something wouldn’t look right if the shirt you were wearing was purchased at your local department store.

The enduring western shirt has been around for the better part of this century and has undergone many evolutions from the practical covering needed for work by pioneers and early cattlemen to the flamboyant shirt worn by rodeo cowboys to the glitz and glitter required by many show ring competitors.

But 100 years ago, the cowboy had to buy what was available to him at the time.

“During the 1800s, clothing was imported from Victorian England,” says Larry Bitterman, president of The Old Frontier Clothing Co. in Los Angeles, “so much of the original cowboy’s attire is influenced by that styling.

“The approach we’ve taken is that our clothing is traditional, classic fashion that is timeless, and will never go out of style.

“We’ve modified a lot of the original Victorian-styled garments so you can wear them in contemporary settings and still feel comfortable. You can mix and match this type of clothing with today’s western styles and be perfectly at home. You can take one of our shirts and put it with a pair of jeans. And these shirts are for the rodeo guys as well as the buckaroos at the poetry gatherings. People at those gathering are some of our best customers, though, because they are trying to carry on the traditions of the Old West.

“We use natural fibers and materials only—all wool or all cotton,” explains Bitterman. “Finding western clothing made of all natural materials can be hard, because many of them have some polyester.”