written by Tyler Chin, GQ
HBO's adaptation of The Last of Us is proving to be a lot more than just a show about zombies. It's a coming-of-age story, a love story, and, per our colleagues across the pond, a story at least tangentially about menswear, too. (Sure, it might not be as clothing-oriented as Ramy, but cut the cast a little slack here: Dover Street probably isn't open during the apocalypse.) TLoU's Joel Miller, an enviably hirsute Pedro Pascal, is shaping up to be one of the most stylish folks on the series; he looks killer in a slick waxed jacket, and in episode three, he debuts his latest surprise menswear flex: a thrashed western-style denim shirt, a silhouette that's pretty damn spot-on for 2023, on screen and off.
According to Cynthia Summers, the show's costume designer, it's not just any old western shirt. “After many, many fittings with all kinds of denim/chambray work shirts we landed on [one from Wrangler],” Summer says, largely because of what it didn't have: the classic yoke detailing by the shoulders that usually adorns similar options. “I intentionally searched out a version without the western yoke, as Joel’s style is that of an everyday man, paying little attention to personal style details.” (Priorities, people!)
At GQ, we've long been proponents of the dressed-up western shirt, but Miller's beat-to-hell version proves just how good it looks when worn with an utter disregard for its well-being—especially if you've got a costume department at your beck and call to put it through a dramatic “breakdown process,” lending it the kind of patina denim purists discuss with envy on Reddit.
Considering his pre-apocalypse gig in construction, Miller's affinity for hard-wearing menswear makes sense—this isn't even the first time the western shirt has helped a grizzled A-lister or two beat back a tide of ravenous cannibals. In AMC's adaptation of The Walking Dead, Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes wears ones to fight zombies, too, perhaps a carryover from his original job as a straight-talking sheriff from Atlanta.
Sadly, the exact Wrangler button-up in question is exclusive to Walmart, of all places, and it looks like scavengers have already ransacked the superstore of most of its inventory. But there's no shortage of similarly excellent options to help you get your Joel Miller on right now, whether you're dodging members of the undead or just trying to beat the rush hour blitz on the train home. Giddy-up and godspeed, fellas.