Leaving Herald Square

“Hey! Is that a pearl snap shirt?”


“No,” my coworker answered after coming to a stop in the hallway.  We blocked the entrance to his office.  Moments before, I ostensibly had something to do that was more important than admire what I thought was a pearl snap shirt.

052309.ellecer“Oh.” I said.

“But I used to have one. I lost it.”

“I’m sorry.” Awkward pause. “Was it white, like that one?”

“No, blue.”

The conversation went on, in this tantalizing fashion, until he referred me to H&M Clothing, on 34th Street and Broadway, steps away from the office.  Ostensibly, he had something to do that was more important than discuss pearl snap shirts.

I exited 1359 Broadway and walked the two blocks south, my mind anticipating finding pearl snap shirts in New York that were not the $100+ kind sold by Billy Martin’s Western Wear. At said establishment, on Third Avenue at around 62nd Street where — I can attest from having grown up just a mile north — there are no cowboys loitering or yodeling, the purveyors have outfitted with “upscale…Western-inspired” clothing the likes of Madonna and Mikhail Gorbachev. Need I tell you the horror of picturing in my mind Gorbachev riding along the prairie in pearl snap shirts, a tree branch catches the material, the shirt breaks open at the snaps the way the cowboys intended it to (so that they wouldn’t have to sew the button back on), and out pops… Mikhail. This is a scene that Remington did not envision, nor shall I.

And yet, my search for pearl snap shirts in NYC has been as fruitless as has been the search for authentic Tex-Mex cuisine, the most recent outing (twice) to Tequila Chito’s on West 23rd producing somewhat favorable results for me and my dining partners, but I anticipate would not be up to snuff for my wife, whose loving contempt for my last choice has not yet been lived down.

Having ascended the escalator to the third floor Menswear department at H&M, my suspicions were stirred when there was more chrome and black lacquer on the fixtures and racks than oak and pine. In Kerrville, Texas, where I buy all my snap shirts (at the Cowboy Store, where Jason Aldean shops), the guy at the front has a Jesse James-like pointed beard and dons a Stetson. He says, “Howdy!” which is in fact my childhood nickname, and so I feel right at home. Here, in NYC, sales tax is 8.375% and increasing to something like 8.625% (as if they need the five-thousands’ worth); in Texas, while there is sales tax, there is no income tax. I plan — in the future, sometime after retirement, maybe when I’m 90 — to show the statistical correlation between taxation and authentic pearl snap shirt offerings. I know it’s not scientific to come to a study with a conclusion in mind — I am supposed to follow the data — but in this case, there seems to be a preponderance of evidence proving that the overhead for stores like Billy Martin must certainly require the sale of shirts so outlandishly priced that only a rock star or former Soviet leader can afford them. (After all, we know that ommunist leaders are absolutely loaded, because everyone else in their countries is dirt poor.)

I did two laps around the floor, spying only some flat-fronted khakis that the Lovely K would have approved of (but which I didn’t need…I needed a pearl snap shirt) and a couple of dress shirts that were suitable for a meeting of which I have yet to conceive. No snap shirts. On one rack, partially blocked by two large 20-something males whose pants some stranger obviously had rudely and just moments before yanked down to within inches of their knees, I saw a short-sleeved collared shirt made of grey brushed cotton that had a matching thin tie around it. I recalled how my mother made my father a tie of green and white checkered gingham to match a sport coat he had bought at the St. George thrift store on Second Avenue. Yet he wore this set to cocktail parties at Point O’ Woods, Fire Island, where the object was to get drunk while discussing Woody Allen movies and stumble down sidewalks with no fear of powered vehicles running you over. What H&M was selling was clothes that you would have to wear sober enough not to fall onto subway tracks coming home from a rave.  This seemed an inordinate expectation.

The search continues, as it does also for Tex-Mex in New York. But don’t tell Karen.

photo:  ellecer


Pearl Snap #5

040108pearlsnap.jpgFound this store online – it’s the real deal for those of you looking for pearl snap shirts.  Also, I am still interested in your opinion on my idea to have a retail location in NYC selling them, which would have an online ordering option.  If you care to state your opinion, here’s a quick survey you can take.  If you do the survey, make sure you opine whether Puglia’s Jorge Buccio would look good in a pearl snap shirt.

Denver’s got the real deal

To be fair, Sierra Trading Company is quite excellent at customer service.  I mean, they provide all the tools to return the product they send to you – (and is this a good sign??) return label, complaint form, etc. – and they let you post your review of their product to your blog, which I decided to do for the novelty of it.

But I must say here, that a pearl snap shirt should ALWAYS be all cotton.  Truly, if indicative of everything wholesome and American, like riding a bull for eight seconds, it should be made of natural fibers.  Sierra’s product was not, and for all I know, they ride llamas.

I’m kicking myself a bit over this transaction and, therefore, Sierra is taking the brunt.  The buy was a bit impulsive, because the shirt was under $18.  That seemed to good to be true, and it was.

Here’s the real deal for ordering pearl snap shirts online, Rockmount Ranch Wear, in Denver.  I’m sure they have good product, and I’m sure you can’t post your complaint, let alone return the shirt.

My Review of Panhandle Slim Snap Shirt – Long Sleeve (For Men)

Originally submitted at Sierra Trading Post

[Shameless verbage from Sierra Trading’s website]

Closeouts . Snap shirt from Panhandle Slim features a great pattern and vintage western feel to keep you at your cowboy best. Long sleeves Western cut yoke Double-point pockets Smoky pearlized snaps 65% polyester, 35% cotton Machine wash, dry Closeouts . Indonesia. Size: S(34-36) M(38-…

Panhandle Slim Snap Shirt – Long Sleeve (For Men)

My review:  “not a real snap shirt”

By hfreeman17 from New York, NY on 3/29/2008
1out of 5

Pros: Lightweight; the fact that I can blog my review from their site…that is pretty cool.

Describe Yourself: Casual/ Recreational

Fabric is blend, not all cotton. Collar button is not a snap. This is not a real pearl snap shirt.  Am returning for a refund.

Pearl snap, rich

People keep coming to this site to find out about pearl snap shirts, but I’m tellin’ you, friend, if yer lookin’ for ’em here you won’ find ’em.  Go to The Cowboy Store in Kerrville, about three miles from which I now comfortably sit, at my in-laws, watching Texas vs. Texas A&M – not that I care much about basketball, much less the Big 12 Conference – yet I watch on 021808essie82.jpgtheir HD set with a piece of chocolate cherry cheesecake resting on top of a beef chimichanga with queso on it in my stomach that I worked into submission today at the Family Sports Center weight room, about 1/2 mile from The Cowboy Store, aforementioned, which you have to getchyu to.

I know I have written twice previously about pearl snap shirts – of which I will procure another when I go to The Cowboy Store this week – which makes a Google search for this phrase point to this blog at #9.  This is an honor.  Especially considering how the Lovely K, who took vows to love me in sickness and in health, in riches and in poverty, but not necessarily when I try to act country – no, that’s love against all odds, love in the face of sheer idiocy – how she has lovingly chided me about my procurement and subsequent sartorial demonstration of same.


photo:  essie82

Pearl Snap Redux

Lots of folks – good folks, I’m sure – navigate their way on the information superhighway over to this site looking for details on pearl snap shirts, since I have written about them in the context of saying that the Lovely K once quipped that “only cowboys and dorks wear pearl snap shirts, and [the author of this blog is] no cowboy,” which leaves me with limited identity options in her declarative analysis.

123007pearlsnap.jpgI am sure they are well-intentioned folks who Googled their way over here, but they are also for certain to be disappointed, by about $70 and 1853.56 miles.  Where they’ll end up is a computer on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, not far from Billy Martin’s, one of the only stores around these parts that sell pearl snap shirts, about a mile and a quarter southeast from here and a world apart from the southwest, since its retail locations exist around the corner from Bloomingdale’s and – in California – on Sunset Boulevard.  Billy Bob Thornton bought a gift for Dwight Yoakam from the store, or so he attested in a reprinted testimonial about how he is one of Billy Martin’s most consistent customers.  Now, I like Dwight Yoakam, and the Lovely K likes his voice.  Sounds a lot like Roy Orbison.

But $95 for pearl snap shirts…

And next to Bloomingdale’s…

Where they really need to go is the Cowboy Store on Junction Highway in Kerrville, Texas.  They sell Wrangler pearl snap shirts for $27 on sale.

That’s where I got mine.

photo:  Cavender’s online store

Pearl snap

I’ve been jazzed about my new pearl snap shirt, which I had always wanted since my first visit to Crider’s — spelled with a rope — in Hunt, Texas, and which I purchased last week at the Cowboy Store in Kerrville because I had heard Jason Aldean on RevFM Radio say that’s where to go.  I had wanted to wear it home from Kerrville to Boston, considering that I would come in contact with Texans only briefly on the departure end in San Antonio International Airport and perhaps also a couple of Southwest Airlines employees along the way — who are paid to smile at all customers regardless of the shirts they wear in vain — their being the only ones to know that I was but a cowboy Wannabe.

Not the real McCoy.

It’s a Wrangler brand shirt with 1/4-inch wide royal blue vertical stripes on a white cotton with an embroidered paisley pattern.  Button down pockets.  Fancy taper behind the neck.  $23.82 with tax.  It is the only thing “Wrangler” I own, for the jeans made by this company should always be worn flush with the back of a large mammal with two horns and a final destiny as either a quarter pounder with cheese or marinated steak tips.  If I were to wear Wrangler jeans inside Texas, once again, I would publicly brand myself a Wannabe.  But in New York City, perhaps this will come across as trendy.

So I wore the dadgum shirt only around the house at my in-laws during vacation, and because of the heat on travel day — and because my wife values her reputation as a Texan, albeit one who is married to a New Yorker — I opted for a short-sleeve shirt that I had brought with me for the flight home.

Now, where will I wear this shirt in NYC?

None other than the famous Denim & Diamonds dance hall for NewYorkersWhoWishedTheyHadCountryBloodAndBuyPearlSnapShirtsToWearAwayFromTexas.  So I Googled the place, where Karen and I went a time or two back while we were dating — it used to be on like 48th and Lexington, not exactly a sprawling area where steer amble up to the side of the road near the cattle guard underneath the gate that shows the ranch name, and yet from my Google search I fear it’s moved to Staten Island, where buffalo indeed may roam…I don’t know…I have never been to that “borough” and don’t intend to go unless I want to see the wildlife — and which had a circular dance floor that had two “lanes.”  The inside lane was for slower dancers and outside for twirlers who employed greater celerity.  Little did we realize back in 1996 that we were of the slow ilk.  One of the more speedy and accomplished Wannabees took us aside and showed us where to dance.  Even showed us a few helpful techniques.

Karen will not admit this.  That a New Yorker showed her anything – even about how to teach a Yankee – about Texas Two-Stepping.  Not in New York.

Not in a place called, “Denim & Diamonds.”

No way.