The Commonwealth Collection: Safari Shirt
Published on July 08, 2016
One of our favorite parts of summer is the spirit of exploration and sense of wanderlust that seems to take over once the humidity kicks in. Whether you’re exploring the concrete jungle or the Southernmost tip of the Outer Banks, we turned to Papa Hemingway for some wayfarer inspiration. Hemingway is a style icon for many reasons (his love for the Fisherman Sweater is unparalleled) but he can lay most of his claim to his penchant for the classic safari shirt. The safari shirt was originally worn as a lightweight jacket in the 19th century by European soldiers in warm climates. Also known as a “bush jacket” it was created for venturing into the African bush, as early white colonialists were apt to do in the 1800’s. The loose cotton blend of a safari jacket allows breathability in the sub-saharan climes of Africa and typically feature plenty of loose pockets for keeping your hunting essentials close at hand.
The classic safari jacket morphed over time and by the time the 1970’s rolled around, the “safari suit” was in vogue championed by designers like Yves Saint Laurent, popularizing the look with the fashion elite. When Roger Moore wore a cream safari jacket as James Bond in 1974’s “The Man with the Golden Gun” the safari look was forever galvanized in the annals of men’s fashion. While they share similarities, don’t confuse the safari shirt with the classic guayabera, which originally originated in Central America and the Caribbean. The ‘wedding dress shirt’ is reserved for formal occasions, and shares the functional large patch chest pockets of a safari shirt (although in their case, rumored to originally carry guavas, hence the name.)
As part of our fifth Commonwealth Collection release, the Halstead Safari Shirt is our homage to Hemingway's African adventures and features a mid-weight cotton twill, box pleat chest pockets, and epaulets. It comes in a slim fit and shortened body and can easily be worn untucked without looking sloppy. This one is made in extremely limited quantities (only 10 were made!) so don't wait too long to pull the trigger. Each was crafted with care in our Richmond-based Ledbury Workshop. It pairs well with our Evergreen Richmond Chino and a belt in a neutral brown or tan. Our safari shirt will suit you well on any summer adventure you have on your itinerary - and allows you to explore with your cellphone, keys, wallet, on your person with hands unencumbered - or for reading that well-worn copy of the “Green Hills of Africa." Papa Hemingway would approve.