The ultimate men’s snap shirt / Finding it in a retail store or online

ultimate men's snap shirt
I will probably go with Coevals Club, even though the brand is not my #1 choice, because this pattern is.

I’m kind of big on snap shirts. A.k.a. “pearl snap shirts,” or “western shirts.” I even heard a saleswoman yesterday call them “button-up” shirts, though I think she was referring to shirts that weren’t t-shirts or polo style. But finding the ultimate snap shirt is an ordeal.

It’s this category of men’s apparel, specifically casual shirts, that I’m enraptured with, and I want to help you find one as much as I want to help myself.

Readers will  know from what I’ve written elsewhere how much I like snap shirts and how I’ve bought them over the years, even though I was born and raised in New York City and my family has California roots. There’s nothing to suggest cowboy-ness. In fact, my (Texan) wife said, “Only cowboys and dorks wear pearl snap shirts, and you’re not a cowboy.

No matter.

I still love ’em and I buy ’em and I wear ’em.

But I can’t find this one particular shirt, so as I write I’m going to go on a journey, and perhaps you’ll come with me if you, too are looking for a snap shirt.

new yorkers and black clothing
New Yorkers for a century have worn black.

Why snap shirts?

As I mentioned above, I grew up in NYC, where now everyone wears black clothing — (true) — and it’s usually tight fitting because everyone has six-pack abs, even the dogs out for walks. Everyone is beautiful there. (Not like LA, but in an inimitable New York way.)

Snap shirts are a combination of throwback to simpler times and ultra-urban-hipster modern. More hip and cool than the black clothes wearing Manhattanites I grew up with and spent most of my adulthood with. They are colorful, cheery, simple, and give me a sense of peace and relaxation. Like I can be myself wearing them.

So there’s the fashion side and there’s the practical side.

The practical side is that:

  • They’re easier to put on and easier to take off.
  • They can get wrinkled and still look good. (Unless you’re wearing a really nice solid color Wrangler long-sleeved snap shirt and taking your belle to the rodeo. In that case, you want it starched and pressed.
  • You can sweat in them and they don’t stank too bad, because they’re loose fitting.
  • You can wear them tucked in (more formal), or loose. The cowboys wore them tucked in, and the tails of these shirts were made longer for that purpose — so that they wouldn’t come untucked so easily while working on the ranch or riding a horse. (True.)
  • Unlike other buttoning shirts with plastic buttons, the buttons on snap shirts never come off or get broken. Or, at least, rarely do. So the shirt lasts longer and requires less maintenance. Cheaper to own in the long run.

You get the picture.

< ==  CLICK HERE for an overview of snap shirts; you might find one! == >

My inventory and what I lack

My first snap shirt was a Wrangler long sleeve that was mainly white and had a blue pattern as I recall.

This was in 1996, and when my wife, Karen, made that crack about cowboys and dorks, so it’s quite possible my memory of details has been damaged because of the trauma I experienced.

Over the years, I’ve bought long- and short-sleeved shirts, buying the latter only recently. In fact, I bought my first short-sleeved snap shirt in February 2018, after moving to Texas (Kerrville, in the Hill Country north of San Antonio). I did so, because I knew this was now home, and the warmer months were soon arriving, and a long-sleeved shirt wouldn’t cut it. My other shirts were fine for New York City but now I needed to augment my wardrobe.

ultimate men's snap shirt
When still living in New York, a coworker and I arrived at the office wearing the same outfit: jeans and a brown long-sleeved snap shirt.

I’d occasionally get to wear my snap shirt to one of the jobs I had in New York, because it was a relaxed church atmosphere. One time, a coworker and I showed up with almost identical clothes: jeans and a brown snap shirt. Needless to say, it was good we worked on different floors and had no group meetings together that day!

Also, fabric is very important, especially in a hot place like Texas.

When I lived in New York, I owned and still do a long-sleeved black snap shirt with brown stitching. Really beautiful shirt. Cost me close to $100. But it’s made of silk. Now, silk is pretty good in warm weather, but it can get sweat stains and also — more importantly — would never appear on any man in Kerrville, Texas. Just wouldn’t.

So, that will stay closeted until I travel to NYC next in a cooler month.

Most recent experience

Yesterday I went to Billy’s Western Wear looking for a specific short-sleeved snap shirt. I didn’t find it. Which placed me in the dilemma that prompted this article.

The shirt I was looking for was a red and blue plaid with fairly broad stripes. Not a lot of white.

Didn’t find it.

This isn’t totally unusual. I have had less success at Billy’s than elsewhere, but with the Internet, for better or worse and as we all know, our decision-making process early on incorporates the statement, “Well, if I can’t find it ___ [fill in name of favorite local retailer where your neighbors work], I can always get it on Amazon.” Which is true. One of my friends ordered a front driver-side panel for his Mercedes off Amazon and had a friend who worked at a local body shop put in on.

A car side panel! On Amazon!

nick dewolfe melrose MA 1957
Main Street, Melrose, MA 1957 // photo: Nick Dewolfe

Increasingly, the older I get, the more I want to shop local. I see that the places I go to get things in a pinch or as part of my daily routine actually do employ my neighbors. I want to keep this small town strong. There’s a woman who’s a receptionist at a doctor’s office who also works at a restaurant we go to. These are our neighbors in Kerrville, also trying to make a living — though there are a lot of wealthy retirees here from Houston — and I want to support them.

So long as they have quality goods and provide quality service. If I can’t find something, and I know it’s not nearby, Amazon is getting the click.

My — and your — options for snap shirts

Which brings me to the Amazon “option.” I’ve bought two snap shirts off of Amazon, and neither has been great.

But they both have been “good enough.” Yet, if they were in stores here, I can’t say that I would have got them.

On one of them, long-sleeved solid blue, there’s a button up tag that will hold up the sleeve if you roll it up. It’s practical for those who work with their hands, but for me it takes away from being formal, which is what I wanted it for. During the height of COVID, I needed a shirt that I could wear on video calls but I could also re-use and it not wrinkle or look sweaty. This served the purpose.

ultimate men's snap shirt
This is the shirt I bought from Coevals Club on Amazon. It was just…ok.

The other shirt I bought was short-sleeved and white with blue and grey. It was ok, but was a bit too roomy. The online sizing was hard to decipher, and this is the key problem with buying shirts online. If you know the maker and the size match shirts you’ve bought in person, or match others you’ve bought online, no problem. Otherwise, buyer beware.

So, it’s:

  • Amazon
  • Other online retailer
  • Store in mall
  • Free-standing store
  • Yard sale (true)
  • eBay (I saw one recently that looked awesome, but it got sold before I could even bid)

The ultimate men’s snap shirt: where to look

To expand a bit on the above options:

My recommendation: If you’ve not ordered a snap shirt before, go with Wrangler your first time.

Because, after all this, that’s probably where I’ll end up.


Where To Buy Moleskine Notebooks in Texas

my moleskines
My moleskine notebooks. Only recently did I allow myself to go 4-color. I did the whole NYC black thing for a long time. There are 35 of them, and yes, on the left stack, third from the top, is the Batman edition.

This is going to be a really fun article to write, because I’m writing about not only a product I think it beautiful but also one I use every day, sometimes several times a day. In fact there are 10 million of these products sold every year.

Moleskine notebooks.

To be specific: classic black hardcover pocket Moleskine notebooks. These have become an essential travel tool for me, yet in rural Texas, finding retailers is not so easy. Of course Amazon is a solution, as it is to almost any product need. But wouldn’t it be nice to know where to go to get one and support a local economy?

I’ll be looking at where to buy one, and also a bit about the notebook itself.

{If you want to buy one now so you can read in peace, knowing one’s on the way, CLICK HERE}


Most of us learning for the first time about Moleskine notebooks aren’t familiar with their history or even how to pronounce the name.

moleskine notebooks
My go-to: hardcover, blank pages, 3.5 x 5.5 inches.

The product dates back to the 19th century but actually disappared from stores and the public during the latter half of the 20th century. Before that, famous writers such as novelist Ernest Hemingway and playwright Oscar Wilde made them famous, kind of like Michael Jordan did with Nikes. (I don’t sense that Nike is going the way of the Moleskine.)

As for pronunciation, the company that relaunched the product was French, so before then it was called MOLE-skeen, and when it moved to France they added a syllable and called them MOL-ey-skeen. To us anglos to stomach that pronunciation, we’d need it spelled “Mollyskiing.”


If you want to know more about why it’s even called “Moleskine,” click here.

moleskine coToday, the Italian company that manages the brand — after buying it from another Italian company that had it publicly traded on the Italian stock market after they bought it from the French company — delisted it from the stock exchange. They have 500 employees.

It seems a bit unusual to consider its quixotic market appearances. One wonders how a brand stays alive. But between its pedigree as a tool used by famous artists and its durability and simply beauty, it finds a market among discriminating writers and poets, sketchers/artists, architects, musicians, even CEOs, and others.

The importance of its cover and its paper

Durability and beauty, shaped in simplicity, are why Moleskines enjoy such loyalty from its users. Moleskines in particular are also somewhat of a rebellion against a world gone digital. They provide solace in focus, retreat from sound and movement…just the pen or brush or pencil moving across a cream surface.

{for pens and pads and cozy slippers for those mountain mornings…CLICK HERE}


Gruppo Una
People who use Moleskines — writers and artists and so forth — often throw them into backpacks or shove them in their back pockets, and they sit on them, lay them down on wet surfaces, place them on rocks by cliffs overlooking raging ocean surf, or any number of things that would ruin a lesser journal.

And if you Google “Are Moleskine covers real leather?” the nearly 800,000 results will convince you that it looks and feels enough like a lower grade leather that it doesn’t really matter if it is or isn’t. It’s simply beautiful.


This next fact will anger some, especially given the events of recent days (March – June 2020).

Moleskine is quite proud of the fact that they produce the notebooks in China (source: Yup. You heard right. The reason lies with China’s (true) historical expertise in paper manufacturing. The Chinese invented paper, after all.

Shinola store in NYC

The paper is indeed one reason I use Moleskine. I’ve tried Shinola notebooks, made in Detroit and which has admittedly a very cool store in SoHo, but its paper is inferior in my opinion. At least it is for writing with a fountain pen.

I also tried a Daler/Rowney, which is a good art company and the notebook wasn’t bad all in all — good paper to hold the ink, and durable cover. But it was so close to a Moleskine but not a Moleskine, that I said, “Why? Why would I want an imitation?”

Answer: I don’t.

If you’re already seeing what’s below and can’t help yourself, CLICK HERE.

The inspirational power of Moleskines

In this section, I’m simply going to show a few of my favorite Moleskine-borne creations.

Why do I like these?

I put the writers’ journals first, because that’s the way I use them, and that’s what made them famous and, I believe, kept the brand alive (used by Hemingway, Wilde, etc.). A Moleskine wouldn’t be complete without crossing out and corrections. I included Tina Bu’s time planner, because so many people I know of use an analogue device for tracking time and projects, and I really admire that. I’ve never been able to do that; I’m digital for tracking my activity.

Then there’s the art, which I could stare at for hours. Nowadays, the creations have to jump to the opposite page, even play off there being a gutter, and often bleed off the edge in some thematic way. Some have made creations that are truly 3-D.

Where to buy Moleskine notebooks in Texas

  • Living in Kerrville, the easy way is to order through Amazon. I absolutely will not go to Walmart to buy a knock-off. Google Maps says they have Moleskines; they don’t. Entertainmart (the former Hastings) on Main Street might.
    reef blue
    Yes…my newest color
  • But an hour south, in La Cantera Mall near San Antonio, there’s a Barnes & Noble, and they have a fairly good selection.
  • Austin has six different retailers.
  • The Dallas area, in Carrolton, apparently only has one.
  • There are four in Houston.
  • Lubbock: Barnes & Noble.
  • Same with El Paso — Barnes & Noble.
  • Moleskine’s own global store locator here appears to be useless, so don’t bother.

Every morning…

I get my coffee, sit down in my leather armchair — kind of the only time I do — and get out this reef blue notebook (until I get another color; a canary yellow is on deck) and my Parker Sonnet brushed black metal fountain pen, and I write. Whatever is on my mind.

Sometimes there’s not much.

But that’s not often.

For an updated review, CLICK HERE

I have posted some new thoughts on Moleskine journals, for writers and for artists.

Essential Travel Gear | REVIEW: #1 Best Shoe For Texas Road Trips

If you think that traveling in boots or ropers will be comfortable after 12 hours going across Texas or 10 hours beating it from Amarillo to the beaches of Corpus Christi, then you haven’t tried the Adidas Cloudfoam…the #1 best shoe for Texas road trips.

Karen and I were recently in Kyle, Texas for the weekend, celebrating my birthday. We stayed at the Sage Hill Inn, which in and of itself is worth a 5-star review, and on Top view of AdidasSaturday morning we needed one or two items for our room, as well as some sneakers (some call them “tennis shoes”) for me, so we drove the ten minutes over to the mall. At Rack Room Shoes, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based chain but one that seems to have tons of stores in Texas and not many elsewhere, I thought I was done searching when I came across Adidas Cloudfoam.

Yes, “Cloudfoam”

I repeat the brand and name because CLOUDFOAM sounds so luxurious.

I want a mattress made out of it.

A desk chair.

Maybe even jeans.

adidas1(Maybe not jeans.) Here’s why I think they’re awesome.

  • For starters, you don’t need to lace them up. Not the version I have, pictured above. They’re slip-ons. As close to slippers that you get to wear in public as you’ll get. They also have pull tabs on the upper and the heel. If only my L.L. Bean winter boots — awesome in every other way — were easier to get on and off. Suctioning my foot out was like pulling it out of tar.
  • Mesh uppers. Therefore, quite breathable. Also a bit stretchy, so they feel roomier than another shoe of the same size.
  • Simple design and elegant make the shoe almost wearable for business situations.
  • Silver. They come in different colors, of course, but this metallic silver is awesome. I was turning 57, but I felt in my early 50s.

{but if you have a hankering for the even softer footwear…CLICK HERE}

Where to find them

The 4 best places to find Adidas Cloudfoam for men:

LOOK | 9/10

COMFORT | 10/10

PRICE | 8/10

AVAILABILITY | 5/10 (can’t seem to find my style online)

VALUE | 9/10


And while you’re in Kyle

Make sure to visit the Hays County Store, for pretty much the best burger and best onion rings in Texas. Be careful, though — seriously — about the intersection in front. We witnessed a horrendous accident just after sitting down at one of the outdoor picnic tables — everyone was eating outside some distance apart because of COVID — between a semi and minivan. So loud, so terrifying, but amazingly, the lady driving the minivan got away with a broken leg. The only injury, thank God.

Our waitress told us that DOT authorities have been meaning to resolve that situation.



The forecast was decent — low to mid 80s and partly sunny — so it seemed like a good stand-up paddle boarding afternoon. I stopped in to see Corey, the owner of Kerrville Kayak & Canoe, and pick up a rental board.

I asked him, “It’s first-come-first-serve down at the river, right?”

“There’s no riverside rental today. Everything’s going out of the shop.” He explained that next week there’d be regular riverside rentals (as there was last week, during spring break); it’ll be after Easter and closer to the “season,” as it were.

I told him “fine,” and I mused aloud about finding a way to transport the board.

“Haven’t you heard about the ‘redneck roof rack’?” Given the rhetorical question, perhaps I looked less urban than I felt. “You take two swimming noodles and a couple ratchet straps. Get ’em all for about thirty bucks.”

“So…how do you tie it down?”

“You open all your doors, run the straps around the board on top and through the car interior, and then shut your doors.”

I was OFF!

Went down to Gibson’s. Noodles were on the end cap of the first aisle behind the main register — I picked two purple ones to pimp out my $650, 20-year-old Ford Contour — ratchet straps and bungie cords were on aisle 12.