The Best Denim Shirts for Men Ensure Wild ‘Fits Ahead

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

October 26, 2023 11:25 am
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.
InsideHook/Getty Images

Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, we may earn a small share of the profits.

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 work shirts and waxed jackets, 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.

The InsideHook Guide to Fall Style
All the tried and true pieces the season demands

We beg you to consider the timeless classic that is the denim shirt this fall, if not because of westernwear’s TikTok-fulled resurgence, but because it’ll make you look like a certified, hot-blooded American badass, even if you Canadian-tuxedo it. We’re talking McClain levels of ballerness here: all rugged texture and dip-dyed finish and general bale-busting aura.

To help convince you, we’ve rounded up 12 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 manufacturing 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 fabric freaks are reading this, and we know that you’re already very aware of Todd’s GOAT-ed Raw Italian Denim Overshirt. Well, here’s some news for you: after selling out in days, the style is back, this time in Italian-milled raw 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.

Remember when clothes were fun? We’d like to bring that back, please. And we’re thinking that a great place to start might be this embroidered J.Crew workshirt, complete with semi-nonsensical Chesapeake branding and a chocolate-coated hunting dog adorning the backside of the shirt. It’s just kitschy and vintage-looking enough to work.

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 double-breasted jackets or peak lapels, but Buck Mason’s 7.0 oz Denim One Pocket Shirt is here to change that. A slim-fitting button down cut from indigo yarn-dyed denim, it’s a classy and lightweight option that should fulfill even the classiest of dress codes.

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.

If you’re looking to get out of your denim comfort zone, why not start with some stars? Eli Russell Linnetz’s ERL has been serving up some of the funkiest patterns and fits over the past seasons, and this Jacquard Overshirt is no exception. Prepare for maximum compliments.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.