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.


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.


Let’s talk about snap shirts

Let’s talk about snap shirts.

Let’s talk about snap shirts worn in Medina, Texas.

Let’s talk about snap shirts worn outside and inside The Old Timer, Medina’s “one and only General Store,” while surveying which jerky my middle son would like most, and then grabbing a coffee — 54 cents for a small (including tax) and $1.00 for a large, but when purchased “after 6pm, it’s free,” said the man with the beard yellowed around the mouth from decades of smoking cigarettes.

Long ago, I was told by my new bride that snap shirts were worn only by cowboys and dorks. And I, “was not a cowboy.” Tell all the truth, but tell it slant, Emily Dickinson once penned. But after my first snap shirt purchase, at the no-longer Cowboy Store in the Hometown Crafts strip mall in Kerrville (the original is still in Bandera), I was hooked. I started buying them from Billy’s Western Wear, and then online, for I was not about to go into a local store and ask for a black rayon snap shirt like I could buy from Amazon. Truly, only dorks wear black rayon snap shirts, but New Yorkers wear black rayon snap shirts, and mine has worn well all these years.

Snap shirts are wonderful. If I’m ever on a horse and a tree branch catches the front, I’m telling you: it breaks open at the snaps instead of ripping, and saves my filly the hassle of sewin’ it back up. Since I don’t have a filly who sews my shirts, nor have I ridden a horse since camp in 8th grade, what happens now is that I’m preparing for arthritis. Snap shirts also come in handy for that, mister.

Let’s talk about snap shirts, worn by a decreasingly dorky but rapidly aging New Yorker, outside The Old Timer, having bought teriyaki jerky for his 17-year-old and procured his coffee for free. Traveling south on Highway 16 toward Bandera.


A desperado photographer laughing.

But not too loud.

Photo credit: KPAK