First Look | Hamilton 1883

Impatient shirt lovers rejoice! The good people at Hamilton – America’s oldest family owned shirt maker – today unveiled Hamilton 1883, the Texas concern’s new collection of ready-to-wear men’s wovens. The 1883 range is a casual and comfortable compliment to Hamilton’s custom shirt making operation which has been turning out high quality American made shirts in Houston for over 125 years. While the custom route is always a wonderful journey, the styling and details in the 1883 line are a welcome new addition to the company’s line-up.


The initial 1883 collection is made up of six styles (Oxford, Utility, Western, White Collar, Short Sleeve and a pullover shirt) and a tight group of classic fabrics. I’m most partial to the Oxford shirt with its nicely shaped button-down collar and the workwear style of the double-flap-pocket Utility shirt.



Another interesting component of the 1883 launch are the photos and profiles of a group of bloggers, two of which are pictured below. I have to admit that when I first got wind of the whole “blogger” idea I was skeptical, but the Hamilton crew did a great job putting everything together. One guy in particular is a natural at that whole modeling thing. When they first called me I assumed they needed me for the “big and tall” product. Check out the entire Hamilton 1883 range here.

Mister Mort and James Wilson of Secret Forts fame model Hamilton 1883

Comments on “First Look | Hamilton 1883

    Jon Gaffney on October 13, 2009 10:55 AM:

    That Khaki utility shirt is fantastic!

    L.A.S on October 13, 2009 11:06 AM:

    That’s awesome that used a bunch of you “bloggers” to model…smart move since low and behold it ended up on ACL…

    Andrew K on October 13, 2009 11:09 AM:

    very nice shirts. real – not snarkey – question: what exactly does “ready-to-wear” mean in this context?

    Jonathan on October 13, 2009 11:38 AM:

    Interesting. This looks like a great PR trick.

    It’s like the guys at Hamilton said something like “How do we get free publicity in all the cool blogs that are read by the fashion experts and by our target market? Easy! We’ll offer these non-model-looking people to become models for a day. Everybody dreams of that, right?”

    Now, I’m sure you that had fun, and indeed, the shirts are OK looking (although too expensive), but with all the respect to ‘Made In America’ – sometimes I prefer to buy from unpretentious Chinese than from American marketers who want me to pay their big salaries by offering me that ‘in the know’ feeling…

    Love you blog! Seriously!

    Uhhh on October 13, 2009 11:59 AM:

    I was excited seeing the shirts, until I scrolled down to see those photos of the two hipsters (scruffy beard, messy hair, ironic tattoo, thick-rimmed glasses).

    Please move on, people. This is 2009. How long are you planning to go for that look.

    (Yes I know these guys are super-important, Secret Forts, mumbo-jumbo bla bla), but their look is sooo tired.

    Exit Lines on October 13, 2009 12:07 PM:

    It seems logical that when an old custom-shirt company introduces a line for a younger demographic that they would go to the source.

    rob on October 13, 2009 12:27 PM:

    i must be the only one who sees nothing new or interesting about these shirts. what makes them any different than what j. crew, gant and 100 other companies offer?

    any special stitching, fabric blends, details etc?

    Michael B. on October 13, 2009 12:49 PM:

    I’m fortunate to be at the point in life where I’m free to spend whatever I want for clothing. Someone please explain why I’d ever want to spend $185 for an OCBD. Am I the only one who’s getting pissed off that the few American manufacturers left feel they can charge these kind of prices? It’s 2009. Spending money like it’s going outta style is going outta style. Period.

    Russell Sprouts on October 13, 2009 1:16 PM:


    Us “scruffy bearded, messy hair, ironic tattooed, thick-rimmed glassed hipsters” are the ones taking care of your girlfriend’s “special needs,” because you types are too busy commenting on how other DUDES dress.

    Love you all,

    PK on October 13, 2009 1:16 PM:

    How would you rate these in terms of fit and quality to Gitman’s?

    Michael Williams on October 13, 2009 1:36 PM:

    Andrew K — ready-to-wear means that these are “off the rack,” rather than being made to order as the other Hamilton shirts are.


    Don Guss on October 13, 2009 1:51 PM:

    Love the Utility shirt. I’m trying to figure out how to justify that purchase.

    But the idea of “Blog Stars” is really bugging me right now.
    I know that a blog is a great way of getting your ideas out.
    But the idea of you guys becoming marketing icons is a bit too much.

    Keep up the great work.

    Andrew K on October 13, 2009 2:18 PM:

    ah!. ok see, i’m not aware of these terms, but thank you. so custom tailored shirt is not ready to wear.

    also, to the dude that is so over scruffy bearded hipster look. what is the new look we should be embracing? how does my fist look in your clean shaven face? just kidding.

    Russell Sprouts on October 13, 2009 5:42 PM:


    You will always be a “Flickr Star” in my eyes –

    Don’t worry little buddy your day will come.

    You complete me,

    susan on October 13, 2009 5:51 PM:

    Wow! I’m obviously not in the market very often for tailor made men’s shirting (I’m a lady..) but this is so cool that this is right here in my town!

    Re: the special-ness of these… I am not sure. However, I know many a rancher, small town banker and professor (not just financiers and lawyers) in Houston and across this big state who have custom-made monogrammed shirts. One look at the list of retailers in Texas and if Maloufs in Lubbock and J.L. Leddys in Fort Worth (one of the oldest custom boot makers in Texas) carries them- than this is something that Texan gents tend to save their pennys for and splurge on one once a year.

    You look very dapper Mr. Williams in that red & white stripe! I might save my pennies to have one made for my own mister!

    Andrea on October 13, 2009 7:56 PM:

    What goes around comes around. You can make the pull-over version with your own lily white hands. I didn’t notice until today that McCall also offered a ladies’ version of this pattern.

    Don Guss on October 13, 2009 8:44 PM:

    Thanks, Russell.

    It’s nice to know someone other than my mother is pulling for me.

    And Michael, I meant no disrespect. Seriously, brother.
    I just sort of want these thing I love to stay the way they are.
    And I do know that’s not ever going to happen.


    damien on October 14, 2009 12:50 AM:

    I’m not sure if wearing a well constructed, quality BD shirt without shiney floral prints, MoMa style construction or fits for little girls is too hipsterish or trendy or not but sign me up cause I’d pay $200 for one.

    Uhhh on October 14, 2009 2:34 AM:

    Haha, the girls you hipsters really want wouldn’t even give you the time of day, and you are painfully aware of it.

    The hipster guys’ comments show only one thing. Lack of self-esteem. If you feel so special looking and acting like millions of other “alternative” people in the western cities, why the need to get all huffed up about my comment?

    Oh I know – you use the hipster “look” to hide your insecurities. Didn’t work, apparently.

    xcubbies on October 14, 2009 6:59 AM:

    Why would anyone pay that sort of money for a shirt that comes in S, M, L when you can buy an excellent, American-made shirt from Mercer and Sons for under $100 and have it made to your specifications?

    dave from london on October 14, 2009 7:00 AM:

    Rob, I’m with you……
    the best they came up with some Oxford button downs…..? they look mighty big for ‘vintage’ product so they dont even look authentic…!

    Steve Stevenson on October 14, 2009 7:24 PM:

    OCBD – Under $30, JC Penny’s, wears well, smart collar, cuffs roll up nice, looks good tucked in or out, slightly fitted, and you can spend the extra $70 bucks on a pair of Sperry’s.

    Pro Buyer on October 14, 2009 10:19 PM:

    First you folks need to get over the people in the pics :)
    I would have to assume that the shirts have MOP buttons, gusset details, split back yolk and better stitching than most American and Canadian shirtmakers like Gitman and Coppley/Royal (they are terrible). Americans need to take more pride in craftsmanship. The Italians are blowing us out of the water. That’s my two cents.

    giuseppe timore on October 15, 2009 9:20 AM:

    $185 is way too much money for an off the rack university striped button down, I don’t care where it comes from. Hell, even the recently much maligned Brooks Brothers (you know the guys who invented the button down collar) are selling U.S.A. made shirts three for $200.

    cws on October 15, 2009 1:54 PM:

    Many well made shirts with exceptional craftmanship for under $185, but thanks for the information – always good to know what is out there . . .

    Russell Sprouts on October 15, 2009 3:46 PM:

    @Uhhh Who took the cream out of your Oreoâ„¢?

    You need a hobby chief (or pal, ace, buddy – whichever moniker dbag types like you prefer).


    Michael Williams on October 15, 2009 3:53 PM:

    This conversation is deteriorating.

    adam kline on October 15, 2009 7:12 PM:

    look, if you don’t feel like paying $185 for a shirt, don’t. let that be your resounding statement of protest. but if this shirt makes you happy every time you put it on, have at it. beautiful things made in america are few and far between. buy your custom knives, your custom bike frames, your handmade double-ring mocs, and the occasional piece of artwork. because if you don’t, there’s not much point in reading blogs like this one, and you should stick to the very serviceable and affordable options made by the chinese.

    as to the models, hamilton went straight to the core of their target demographic, which isn’t easy to do. they could have spent ten or twenty or fifty times as much money with some crappy ad agency. kudos to hamilton. that said, i’m far more excited about bemidji, pointer, and arrow moccasin, as they don’t even have decent web sites. screw the decent web site if your product is completely boss. that’s just how filson was back in the day, before the fashionistas got ahold of it.

    buy magnificent things that you’ll love forever. that’s my opinion. but hasn’t acl been saying that for some time now?

    giuseppe timore on October 16, 2009 12:24 AM:

    All I’m saying is that for that kind of scratch I’d like my shirts to comesized by the neck and sleeve at least. S,M,L,XL sizing is a point that makes these shirts lacking in quality.

    I, for one, would like nothing better than to buy everyhing I can from American producers. The fact that this has become a luxury, the province of only the very wealthy, is part of the problem. Until we figure out a way to employ more of our own people to make our own stuff, affordable to the vast majority of us, than I’m afraid “Made in China” is boundto remain a household term.

    Uhhh on October 16, 2009 4:57 AM:

    Russell, I don’t need a hobby, I have a job. Something which you also should consider before your mother sees you prancing around the blogs.

    Blank Label on October 18, 2009 4:35 PM:

    although these shirts are great, i am a biased supporter of custom dress shirts. mostly because Blank Label produces custom men’s dress shirts.
    although the fit for dress shirts is important, most men do fit well with standard sizing.
    custom design is always fun. and can fix the problem ready-to-wear shirts have, which is when consumers say “i like this shirt, but there is (either) something missing or something i don’t like about this shirt (i.e. didn’t want that pocket to be there)
    but i think my fav. pic here is James Wilson’s shirt with the contrast collar

    Derek on October 18, 2009 9:10 PM:

    Adam Kline,

    I count ACL as one of my favorite blogs. I come here at least twice a day to see if it’s been updated. It’s a fantastic, fantastic blog. I have very, very little to quibble about regarding what Michael does over here.

    But I just want to say, your ease with being such a spendthrift is kind of disturbing. There are real reasons why one should protest $185 shirts. I give you Singer’s argument:—-.htm

    I love ACL and come here all the time, but let’s not lose sight of other important things we should value. $185 dollars is an offensive price for a shirt, even if they are very good looking; I’m sorry.


    K on October 19, 2009 2:56 PM:

    This is drastically overpriced. While like the patterns, it just too much for wrinkled mess that I am going to take to the dry cleanters for pressing. This is an obvious response to the Thom Browne/Band of Outsiders franchise. The sizing is so generic. I can stick to JCrew for the same look or Brook Brothers.

    kungfu grip on October 26, 2009 7:09 PM:







    kungfu grip on October 26, 2009 7:10 PM:

    …email stream.

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