A Brief History of the Pendleton Shirt

The Pendleton shirt is an American icon. Originally designed in the early 1900s as a durable and stylish shirt for cowboys and ranchers, the Pendleton shirt has been worn by everyone from Hollywood stars to U.S. Presidents. Today, the shirt remains as popular as ever, with a new generation of fashion-savvy men and women embracing its classic design. Here's a brief history of the Pendleton shirt, from its humble beginnings to its current place in the fashion world.

The Pendleton shirt was first introduced in 1913 by Thomas Kay, a British-born, Oregon-based tailor who saw a need for a rugged and good-looking shirt that could stand up to the rigors of life on the range. Pendleton shirts quickly became a hit with cowboys and ranchers, who appreciated their durability and style. In 1919, the shirt business was sold to brothers George and Albert Bridgeforth, who renamed it "Pendleton Woolen Mills."

The company continued to produce high-quality shirts throughout the 1920s and 1930s, but it wasn't until Hollywood celebrities like John Wayne and Cary Grant began wearing them in movies that Pendleton shirts really caught fire with the general public. In the 1940s and 1950s, the shirt became particularly popular with Ivy League students, who wore them as part of their "preppy" style. In recent years, the Pendleton shirt has enjoyed something of a renaissance, with hipsters, retro enthusiasts, and fashion-forward thinkers all embracing its timeless design.

Whether you're a cowboy or a city slicker, there's no denying that the Pendleton shirt is a wardrobe essential. With its unique blend of style and functionality, it's easy to see why this American classic has been around for over 100 years—and why it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Explore our collection of vintage Pendleton shirts.