The chamois cloth shirt has been a longtime favorite among outdoorsmen – made from soft sueded cotton (think flannel), they are ideal for layering in cold weather and are about as warm as wool. Just don’t get them wet. Some newer ones for consideration this season:
An LL Bean chamois cloth shirt in the Signature line catalog. Their copy says that it was first introduced in 1933, but I’ve seen references that state that LL Bean first introduced chamois cloth shirts around 1927-28 – perhaps they’re referring to a particular version of the shirt? The design has supposedly not changed much over the years.
Update: Here’s an explanation on the difference in years (click on the chamois cloth shirt image).
Made of thick brushed cotton to mimic the supple feel of chamois leather, ”Bean’s Leatherette Shirt” first appeared in a Fall 1927 catalog. Five years later it returned as the Chamois Cloth Shirt, and as Leon Leonwood told his customers, ”This is the shirt I personally use on all my hunting and fishing trips.”
In the coming decades L.L.Bean would introduce dozens of chamois shirts, varying the styling and colors slightly to keep up with changing times. This model harks back to the original.
So, same shirt, but with a different name.
J.Crew’s new version in their utility shirt cut, it’s much better fitting if you’re not looking for an overshirt.