Whether you’re looking to channel your inner cowboy or embrace the look of a Canadian tuxedo, you can never go wrong with a stylish denim shirt. There aren’t many other shirts as versatile as this one, as they typically tend to cooperate with any outfit you have in mind. However, certain takes on the style differ from one shirt to another, with an endless number of brands cutting and sewing non-stop to craft their own signature look. While a majority of these options blend in, there is a solid collection of standouts, too, which is where our list of the best denim shirts comes in.
Whether you’re in the heart of the south or basking in the west coast sun, there are few places we can think of where a good denim shirt isn’t warranted. Made cool by countless celebrities, cowboys, and, most of all, celebrities that doubled as cowboys, there is simply no room for error with one of these classic button-up tops. That said, with it being one of our most prized garments, we had to get to the bottom of what makes contemporary picks so special. So without further ado, fancy up your getup with our guide to the 12 best denim shirts.
Levi’s Barstow Western Shirt
It’s only right to kick off a denim-centric list with something from Levi’s. The American heritage brand has excelled at crafting quality garments since it first set up shop, and the Barstow Western Shirt serves as one of its more quintessential pieces. Staying true to the standard silhouette, this collared top is crafted from 100% cotton and finished off with a pair of pointed snap-flap pockets.
J.Crew Relaxed Midweight Denim Workshirt
As a brand we look to for a number of closet staples, J.Crew’s Midweight Denim Workshirt fits the bill for a quality piece all around. By putting its own take on the classic denim shirt while still staying true to its timeless look, this comfortable button-down piece comes equipped with a patch-styled pocket for added space to hold your gear. Simply choose your shade of denim (Light Wash or Mid Wash) and let it age with grace.
Rockmount Ranch Wear Stonewashed Denim Western Shirt
This choice from Rockmount Ranch Wear serves as one of the most traditional examples you’ll find, as it’s been around for well over half a century. The family-owned brand is a pioneer in the world of what we know Western fashion to be, and this is a silhouette that embodies it entirely. The Stonewashed Denim Western Shirt is crafted from premium cotton for comfort, stitched with a double-needle for sturdiness, and rounded out with Rockmount’s signature Sawtooth pockets and Diamond snaps for a little extra flair.
Buck Mason Dark Wash Denim Field Shirt
Buck Mason’s vintage-inspired option is crafted from 10-ounce denim that doesn’t stint on sturdiness. This piece might resemble something you may find at your local surplus store, as it was modeled after the classic OG-107 field shirt. Regardless, it maintains the standard denim shirt’s stylish integrity. It is rounded out with a pair of chest pockets and a true-to-size fit to keep you feeling like it was sewn with you in mind.
Taylor Stitch The Western Shirt
Akin to Buck Mason, you can’t go wrong with anything Taylor Stitch puts forth, be it from a sustainability or style standpoint. Although based in the metropolitan cluster of San Francisco, the brand has a penchant for ranch-ready Western-inspired looks, and this particular shirt is a perfect example of that. It comes equipped with a pair of slanted snap pockets at the chest, and its authentic western snaps are rounded out with antique brass settings to give them that extra worn-in appeal. The tailored-fitting piece is finished off with the standard bar-tack reinforcement you’ll find on many of these pieces, with all of these elements coming together to craft a shirt we can trust.
Alex Mill Work Shirt
Alex Mill’s denim-crafted work shirt separates itself a bit from the standard silhouette that appears throughout this guide, deeming it the perfect blue-collar choice — literally. It comes equipped with a set of hidden buttons beneath the collar for added security, so it’s a perfect top to wear when things start to get a bit chilly out. Nevertheless, this is another shirt that abides by tradition, sticking to the iconic work shirt’s look with its pair of chest pockets.
Flint and Tinder Bone Button Western Shirt
Huckberry’s house brand is adept at crafting anything of quality — and we mean anything. Whether it’s a fuzzy blanket or a stylish piece of clothing, Flint and Tinder shows off what it’s all about with the effortlessly cool Bone Button Western Shirt. It encapsulates the Western style to a tee, boasting a pair of pointed chest pockets with burnt cow bone snap button closures for a look that simply never gets old. While it comes available in a quarter of colors, we say the sleek Salt & Pepper palette is the perfect summertime choice.
Nudie Jeans George Dry Deep Selvage
The Swedish label is well aware of the art of denim engineering, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise because a) all of its pieces are of high quality and b) it literally has “Jeans” in its brand name. This particular offering from Nudie Jeans is composed of 12.5 ounces of selvage denim courtesy of the Japan-bred Kurabo Mills. However, it gets its inspiration from the States, taking after a style that was prominent in the West Coast’s well-documented goldmine era.
Billy Reid Shoals Denim Shirt
As one of our favorite boutique labels, Billy Reid makes use of its Southern-bred know-how to deliver a rootin,’ tootin’ denim top that’s worth writing home about. And while the Alabama brand prides itself on its classic American styles, this overdyed shirt gets an elevated assist from Europe by way of its imported Italian denim construction. The Shoals comes available in a handful of colors to coincide with your wardrobe, all of which are finished with antique brass snaps and Billy Reid’s trademark ribbon stitching.
Todd Snyder Japanese Denim Overshirt
As one of the most prominent menswear brands in the country, Todd Snyder’s claim to fame comes courtesy of reimagining iconic pieces, á la the denim shirt. The New York-based label’s Japanese Denim Overshirt is crafted with the utmost care, like all of its products. It is cut and sewn from stone-washed selvedge denim that was provided by Three Looms, a Japanese textile manufacturer that has been crafting quality material for years. If there’s anyone you should trust with what it takes to craft an American classic, it’s Todd Snyder.
imogene + willie earl selvage denim
It may be one of the more lowkey names to appear on this guide, but don’t mistake imogene + willie’s lower name recognition for a lack of quality. As one of several work shirt-driven silhouettes to appear here, the humble label’s take on the matter is one of subtleness. The cut-and-sewn top is incredibly lightweight for easy wearability, as well as garment-washed for easy styling. Whether you’re having a fun night out or a strenuous day getting some work done, the earl selvage denim shirt is sure to have your back. Oh, and did we mention that it’s patterned, cut, and sewn in the USA?
A.P.C. Cyril Denim Overshirt
A list of denim-crafted garments without an offering from A.P.C. would simply make no sense, which only makes it right to ring in the Parisian clothier and its minimalist Cyril Denim Overshirt. The minimalist clothier’s Cyril Overshirt is crafted from a blend of standard and recycled cotton, going to show that Jean Toutiou’s label is inching ever-so-closely to a more sustainable future. The top is rounded out with a septet of buttons, a rounded hem, and a buttoned cuff before being finished off with chic caramel-colored stitching for a classic burst of color.
The Best Selvedge Denim Jeans You Can Buy
As we said, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of denim-on-denim action, so have yourself a look at our sprawling guide to the best selvedge jeans you should rock alongside these shirts.