The semiotics are impossible to ignore. This is cowpoke country. This is the wild west people. Of course, what makes those guys most wild these days is the idea of two dudes kissing. But this shirt is more focused on the romantic idea of America past. Wrangling steers, rickety stagecoaches, six-shooters, and the rape and murder of the indigenous population.
As with so much on this site however, it doesn’t originate in the land of thick cacti and idiotic abortion legislation. It’s Japanese. It’s just another eastern rose-tinted repurposing of American symbolism. The brand is Digawel. And contrary to my laboured US bashing, they do actually make some proper grails.
Needles frequently bash out takes on the western shirt. But if you’re in that uncommonly exclusive club of dudes who like the Needles aesthetic, but find the brand itself a little too prevalent (full discloser I don’t feel like that and I don’t know anyone who does – I’m just assuming, someone, somewhere might think that) then a shirt like this, from a rarified brand like this, is probably of interest.
The details? Cotton, snap buttons, curved hem, loose fit, that’s about the strength of it. It’s available in navy and sky blue, or white and blue striped; it hardly needs mentioning that either will get you well noticed. I mean, you’ll look like a a cowboy. Specifically a cowboy who’s been Queer Eyed.
But this shirt is also about context. It’s American(ish) but it’s really Japanese menswear. It’s easy for Tokyo residents to pull this off; with their huge trousers, Suicoke sandals and gleeful enjoyment in the sheer fun of fashion. Moody Londoners? Well, I think we’re sufficiently far from an actual ranch to carry it off. Just about. The right sneakers, loose fitting jeans… Just bin the quiff unless you’re going full rockabilly.
If you’re heading on a US road-trip though, maybe leave it at home. Anywhere west of the Mississippi and you’ll look a little too rootin’-tootin’. You’ll be in ‘pray the gay away’ country and those ‘pastors’ will be lining up to tickle you clean. That really would be a bum steer.