“The West is not a place, it is a state of mind.” So said Jack A. Weil, who is credited with creating the classic western shirt.

Photo by Rick Wilking, Courtesy New York Times

Remembered as The King of Cowboy Couture, Jack was the first person to put snaps on the western shirt. He also patented the sawtoothed pocket. An adopted son of the west, the Indiana native began his career as a garter salesman. When his sales territory moved to Denver, he fell in love with the romance of the American Cowboy and never looked back.

Founded in 1946, his company, Rockmount Ranch Wear, became synonymous with Western style. He became instantly known for his distinctive yet practical shirts. The reinforced yoke was a classic detail that compensated for the hard wear of the cowboy’s life. His true innovation, however, was the snap. This meant that when the shirt was pulled, it would simply open, rather than tear the fabric as it would with a button. The look quickly caught on, becoming a staple for ranch hands and city slickers alike.

Montgomery Clift and Clark Gable sport Jack Weil designs in the 1961 classic film, The Misfits.
© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Weil lived to see a renewed interest in his shirts spurred by the the 2005 film, Brokeback Mountain. He passed away in 2008 at 107, the undisputed originator of a timeless American style.

Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal both wore Rockmount Ranch Wear in Brokeback Mountain.
© Focus Features. All Rights Reserved.

We like to think that our western shirts follow in this proud tradition. This season, we’ve updated the classic style. With cleaner lines and an amazing jaspé fabric, this two pocket design makes the iconic look feel new. The dark shell snaps are an understated nod to the Jack Weil original.

When it comes to creating an authentic vintage style, it only takes a touch of ranch hand cool to make the look. Check out our Fall collection for the one that brings out your inner cowboy.