step back in time and see the R.M.Williams shirt evolve

The shirt

More than a few people have reached out asking us to share stories and conversations from our past and present – stories from the Boot Room so to say. We want to take this opportunity to look back at the paths we have journeyed and celebrate our rich history. Here we focus on the evolution of the work shirt and dress shirts for rugged use or smart occasion.

Step back in time with us.


Hand-worked fancy shirts

From your ‘fancy’ shirts to the more practical ‘Stockmen’s’ work shirts there are common themes: hard wearing, comfortable, light weight, washes well, colourfast, does not shrink, hand finished, good cloth, dependable. All these messages are hallmarks of quality and a desire to cater to all purposes from the sheep yard to the dinner table.

Stockmens work shirts
R.M.Williams Californian check shirts
R.M.Williams Wollen flannel shirts


Stockmen’s shirts

WWII has been going for four years now and the selection of materials are restricted but the desire to innovate is still strong... 'The types of cloth available for working shirts are now restricted, but we are pleased to be able to offer a new wind cloth shirt in fawn, full cut, two pockets.' The catalogue has real fabric swatches to make choosing a design easier.


Tailored gabardine shirts

For “best” wear there is nothing smarter than an R.M.Williams hand-tailored gabardine shirt as shown (above). This style of shirt has an action back and three-button cuffs. The introduction of this shirt has made it to the cover indicating how important shirts have become in the R.M.Williams range. Each detail is designed for a specific purpose whether it’s a double yoke for strength across the shoulders or double button cuffs for a snug fit. Women’s needs are taken into consideration with a range of colourful of rodeo shirts.


Denim shirts

A tough job requires a solid material to stand hard wear. We guarantee our denim shirts made from 8oz. fully-shrunk cloth to take all the rugged use you give them. A range of styles in plain, three-pleat, or action back with press stud or button front: roomy pockets with flaps; all ears double sewn.


For rugged use or smart occasion

The materials selected were carefully chosen to suit each style of shirt after thorough tests to prove their strength, wearing and washing qualities. Seams are double sewn for added wear. All shirts are cut full length to prevent creeping up the back.

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In this big spring yarding of shirts, we feature several of our foundation stock. No longer do the shirts in this catalogue have names, only codes, but the extensive range of styles remain the same as ever. More attention is being paid to the women’s range and it’s clear the female customer is very important.

Shirts from the eighties.
R.M.Williams Shirts from the eighties.
R.M.Williams Shirts from the eighties.


Continuing heritage

The last thing you need is a button that pops or a collar that frays along with your temper. So we make our shirts to last, with lock stitched buttons, lightweight interfacing on the collars and cuffs and double stitching on the seams. And we make them feel good too, in 100% cotton or easy wearing poly-cotton. In soft moleskin or tough denim. We make the tails a little longer, so they stay tucked in where they should. And the pockets a little larger - because a pocket that isn’t big enough to hold the odd item or two isn’t a pocket. it’s a damned nuisance. Finally, we make them look good enough for a night on the town. Because RM knows a man can’t spend his whole life working. And neither can his shirt.


The standard continues

In 1963 RM proudly proclaimed in his opening catalogue letter… “We confidently predict many of these items will become the standard in their particular sphere in a very short while.” In 2019 the styles originally introduced endure and continue to be favourite staples whether for work or play.

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