Project in progress

A cowboy's uniform forms a crucial part of his identity and opportunity for performance. The collared work shirt, while practical, recalls conventional images of American business and capital. In cowboying circles, the white work shirt is typically worn by those who adhere to the "buckaroo" school, where a white shirt and dark jeans speak of elite abilities. 

Adornment on Western wear has a long history, but is typically reserved for special occasions or rodeos. For this piece, extensive hand embroidery on the cheapest Walmart shirt available, adding unique and time-intensive value to a mass-produced item that is, ostensibly, meant to get dirty. The shirt also offers an insight into the gender politics of cowboying: while women can wear white shirts too, it is men who receive the most acceptance and acclaim for their abilities. This shirt will never get worn on a ranch, and by decorating it with what is seen in the contemporary West as a feminine craft, it allows for a reclamation of cisgendered masculine identity. 

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