The Naturalist’s Shirt was a staple of the brand from 1983-1988 (and beyond) and is distinguished from other BR shirts by front pockets that do not have closure flaps, as well as no epaulettes. Most commonly, these shirts have smooth dark copper snaps rather than buttons. However, they did switch to buttons for a brief time in 1986, and then brought the snaps back in 1987 claiming there was a public outcry. (See photos further below for discussion of buttons) The poplin material is light, crisp and has a faded quality due to the repeated washings they describe.
The catalogue copy varies a bit, mainly as relates to snaps and buttons. At first, snaps are mentioned, then buttons. When the snaps come back (with some fanfare) they are not mentioned in the copy but are usually a note next to the illustration, though sometimes there is no mention whatsoever.
From the Fall 1983 catalogue: “Cotton fresh from the gin is an undistinguished grayish hue. It needs color, but subtle color–color reminiscent of t he earth itself. Thus, to dye our Naturalist’s Shirt we’ve used colors inspired by plants and natural earth pigments. We’ve dyed the raw cotton poplin, dyed it again, then washed it and washed it again. The result: a pre-shrunk, broken-in distinctive natural shirt with tiny copper snaps for closures. A shirt without artifice for naturalists who would accept no less.”
Naturalist Shirt with snaps.
Button Naturalist Shirts
For a short time the Naturalist Shirt came with buttons instead of snaps. The artwork does not really indicate this, it’s only in the text on the Spring 1986 entry. “…tiny horn-and-resin buttons for closures.”
The shirts below are from the post-Safari era, with the “Safari & Travel” tag..