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Labor of Lovett

Music icon and native Houstonian Lyle Lovett is giving away the shirt off his back

He hit the runway for Dillard’s department store as a kid, appeared in Robert Altman’s 1994 film Prêt-à-Porter, and spent almost two years married to one of the world’s most glamorous women, so it comes as no surprise that the inimitable singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett’s latest endeavor shows off his stylish side. Lovett, the country legend, is now the driving force behind a new line of Western dress shirts from Houston’s 130-year-old custom shirtmakers Hamilton.

“I’ve always been interested in fashion, and as a performer, you have to be conscious of it—or at least you should be,” he says with a chuckle. A loyal fan of the company, Lovett had been personalizing his Hamilton orders with different yokes, cuts, scalloping and more for more than a decade before approaching sibling owners David and Kelly Hamilton in January about partnering on a special collection. “I was going through my changes with David, and I asked, ‘Do you think anyone else would like these, that we could sell these?’ ” Lovett remembers. “He went for the idea.”

In a matter of months, the style-savvy crooner’s shirt specs—a trimmer fit, three-button cuffs, more than 23 different fabrics and distinctive, carved-horn buttons—became part of “the strongest product launch for us,” David Hamilton says. Indeed, the designer had a feeling Lovett’s customizations would appeal to a broader range of clients. “Lyle is sophisticated, local and unique, and that’s everything we’ve ever wanted Hamilton to be,” he says. “[The collaboration] needed to be authentic, and what Lyle designed feels very real to us.”

Lovett says he wears a Hamilton shirt every day, and he’s been known to pair a white button-down with a Prada suit onstage. “It’s kind of a luxury,” he says. The star says he still has every Hamilton shirt he’s ever bought, “because it’s such a classic design. I’ve never had anything happen to one.” So how many shirts does he own? “More than I can wear at once.”



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