Style | May 18, 2023 12:25 pm

The Best Denim Shirts for Men

These rugged work shirts bring a sort of "giddy up" vibe to everyday 'fits that wild horses really don't like

a collage of the best mens denim shirts on a dusty background
The best denim shirts for men can take any fit to a whole other high-horse level.
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Maybe it’s our embarrassing ties to the iconic 2010s Red Wing store employee menswear uniform, or maybe it’s our Mcqueen-Marley-Marvin-flooded Pinterest board. Maybe we’re just a bit sick of hearing about swolos and suits, as handsome as they might be. But the fact of the matter is, denim shirts, the beating heart of full-bodied Americana, have been on our minds. And the best denim shirts, we hope, will soon be on your backs.

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Hear us out — with the weather mellowing and Summer Friday’s imminent return, you might have dreams of seersucker and linen floating through your dome. Don’t fret, there’s room for that too. But we beg you to consider the timeless classic that is the denim shirt, if not only because of westernwear’s TikTok-fulled resurgence, but because it’ll make you look like a certified, hot-blooded American badass. We’re talking McClain levels of badassery here: all rugged texture and dip-dyed finish and general bale-busting aura.

To help convince you that a little sweat is more than worth selvedge salvation, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best denim joints the interwebs have to offer. There’s sartorial stuff from the likes of Todd Snyder and RRL, but classic Levi’s and Wrangler workhorses, too. Basically, there’s something for every kind of denim dude on this list — you just gotta scroll. Below, the best denim shirts for men…lasso not included.

The Best Denim Shirts for Men:

With a particularly intense creation process, denim is a labor of love, and even among sky-high standards, Japanese-founded orSlow stands out for its quality and care. Operating under an ethos in direct opposition to fast fashion, each orSlow piece is specially made in Japan, using traditional looms and innovative techniques to produce some of the finest garments we’ve had the pleasure of rocking. The denim shirt plays host to a button-down collar, mother-of-pearl buttons and a box pleat yoke — it’s simply the best.

If there’s one name in denim you’re sure to recognize, it’s Levi’s. With deep roots in the American west and centuries of history outfitting cowboys and presidents alike, the heritage that comes with any Levi’s product makes it an immediate top choice in our book. Of course, the Barstow Denim Shirt is pretty rough-and-tumble, even without the name recognition. Featuring a unique snap placket, distinct yoke, curved hem and point collar, it’s affordable and timeless, just like its maker.

If cowboy cosplay is your goal, your only real option is a Taylor Stitch Western Shirt. Bar-tack reinforced and sporting all the visual cues of an old-school ranch hand — slanted chest pockets, genuine YKK snaps, antique brass concho-style top button accent — there’s no better way to Yellowstone it up.

We know that you selvedge freaks are reading this, and we know that you’re already very aware of Todd’s GOAT-ed Denim Overshirt. Well, here’s some news for you: after selling out in days, the style is back, this time in Japanese-milled raw selvage denim and contrast stitching, so that you can feel just like you breaking in a pair of crispy indigo darks.

Wrangler is less concerned with the current trivialities plaguing denim — which Japanese Mill it was sourced from, how many centimeters the point collar is offset by, that sort of thing — and more concerned with making a damn fine snap shirt for just $39 bucks. It’s not the most comfortable one we’ve tried, nor the best fitting, but it’s a bonafide American classic with a century of history and unbeatable value. Yippee Ki-Yay.

A made-in-America, authentic western shirt from Huckberry’s crafty inhouse label Flint and Tinder, finished burnished cow-bone button snaps? To that, we have just one thing to say: hell yeah, brother.

You might not associate denim with beach vacations. Buck Mason is here to change that with their One Pocket Chambray Shirt, a slim-fitting button down cut from indigo-dyed cotton chambray. It’s Lightweight, breathable and looks great with a pair ‘o trunks. Just a word of warning — it runs a touch small, so consider sizing up if you plan on sipping on an Aperol Spritz all day long.

Ralph Lauren’s premium western wear offshoot, RRL’s — phonetically, double-are-el — had a magnanimous reputation in the style forums of yore as something of a mythical purveyor of all things simultaneously rugged and luxurious. It was well warranted — to this day, Ralph’s cowboy fantasies have produced precise felted navajo jackets and rugged twill chore coats, but obviously, their denim is the star of the show. This lightweight Japanese denim cotton-linen workshirt, in particular, is a masterclass in momentous menswear.

Okay, so Alex Mill’s Work Jacket is not, in fact, a shirt. Technically. However, given the current hot boy summer trend of wearing a tank and scant else, we thought it would be appropriate to include our favorite denim layer: we’ve been reaching for the chore coat-work jacket hybrid all spring long. It’s cut a touch longer than your typical cropped Type-2 making it a killer pair with some cutoffs (short-jorts?), and its copious amount of pockets ensures that you can leave the tote at home.

The Shoals Denim Shirt, a stalwart of Billy Reid’s line since 2004, is by nature a bit milk toast. We mean this in the best possible way — while it lacks the designer pizazz or ‘head-level selvedge finish, it’s a supremely solid denim shirt and the perfect choice for the everyday guy who just wants to look a bit more like Steve McQueen.