Since we’ve been reviewing clothing here since late 2017, we figured it was time to look back and add long term updates to many of our reviews. These will be rolling out in batches, and here’s what we chose for the first update.
I’ve went through four distinct phases since starting down this rabbit hole of performance clothing. The first phase was a “try everything phase”, the second was “I found one pair of pants I love, everything else is dead to me”, the third was “I only want performance pants to replace all my ‘normal’ pants”, and now I am on a phase where I have very few pants that I really like. But I am missing one thing: a great pair of jeans. Actually, I have a few, but I keep wanting to find something better because each leaves something to be desired. I’ve talked about Ministry of Supply’s offering, the Bluffworks, and of course Outlier’s Slim Dungarees, and Strong Dungarees. Today, I want to talk about something that straddles the line better than most of those: Swrve’s CORDURA jeans.
I’ve long known about this fabric, but finding it in a cut not made for rock climbing has been hard. This is essentially a nylon reinforced denim. I bought the pants in the regular cut (as I am told looser pants are coming back in style), but they come in slim and skinny fits too. Before I get started, I want to touch on the best feature of these jeans, the price: $100. That’s it, $100. So many of the pants I review and test are expensive and hard to justify, but a good pair of jeans that could be your only jeans, for $100, ok that’s a solid deal. Let’s dive in…
Ok, so before we dive into this material, I want to touch on the normal grades of ‘performance’ jeans:
- Standard Denim: 100% cotton
- Big Brand Performance Denim: cotton + small amount of stretchy stuff.
- ‘Reimagined’ Performance Jeans/Denim/Type Thing: nylon + stretchy stuff.
The first two look like denim because cotton is what gives you the denim look. The last one looks like, well, it looks like nylon with five pockets. The last one is by far and away the ‘better’ pant, just as long as you aren’t trying to style yourself like denim.
These Swrve jeans are CORDURA denim, and as far as I can tell, no one lists the exact make up of these things in a format I can better explain to you. They are a blend of cotton, nylon 6,6 and spandex. They are a very standard weight and everything else is some form of copy and paste from this page.
The tag on the pants says 55% cotton, 15% nylon, and 30% polyester. Which doesn’t make sense or help in any way. First it is ‘CORDURA’ denim, with only 15% nylon? Second these jeans stretch a good amount, but list no elastane or spandex? I don’t get it.
So I’ll tell you how they feel. They have a great hand feel and they feel exactly like the denim I’ve grown up with. They drape the same, they cuff the same, and look the same. This is a a dark indigo wash, and it looks like one.
So while I don’t know what is going on here, I am guessing that the are cotton strands wrapping a nylon core — but that’s pure guessing on my part.
Fit and Style
As I mentioned, these are a regular cut, which means they are that classic: loose/relaxed everywhere look. They are not baggy, and do have a nice taper at the ankle, but they are loose. I got these as I do think trends are moving this way, but my wife is not a fan of the cut. She doesn’t hate it, but doesn’t love it.
I would get the slim if I were to buy again. That said, the fit is spot on, I normally wear 34/35 and the 36 fits me perfectly in this pant. The length reads true to size, but you might size up if you are on the edge of any sizes.
Generally speaking these fit great for jeans to work and do stuff in. Absolutely no restrictions with them. And feel great. But if you’re looking to stay more on trend, even now, you’ll probably want a slimmer cut. The pictures referenced on the site for this cut are very accurate.
Ok, there’s a lot to unpack here with the performance, I am going to go through each individually:
- Durability of material: there’s two parts to this denim which seem highly lab tested. The first is general abrasion resistance which seems proven out not only in testing but in use by rock climbers. So let’s just assume that’s correct and they can take a heck of a beating. The second part is washing fade resistance, which again has been lab tested. I’ve only washed them a few times, but they have not faded. This is more and more par for the course on performance jeans (Ministry of Supply manages the same thing) but is nice to have. Great durability on these.
- Movement: this comes in two forms, the stretch and the Diamond gusset. Both of those combined with the looser fit of these never once left me for wanting. They are some of the least restrictive pants I own. I suspect that they go back to standard performance levels of movement in a slimmer cut. But they stretch well and move great.
- Triple stitching: I normally don’t mention stitching, but Swrve points out that they triple stitch the seams for durability. And this is true, except in one spot which seems like an odd oversight: one side of the gusset is a single stitch — and that seems prime for a blow out. It’s a weird oversight.
- Reflective stripe: on the inside of the pants there is a reflective stripe that shows when the jeans are cuffed. It’s subtle in the daylight, but reflects well with light. I could take it or leave it.
- No zippers: the biggest performance gain for me is that these are performance jeans with no extra zipper pockets. Which is great and a refreshing change. One caveat to this is that at the back edge of each front pocket is a distinct slot to hold a pen, it isn’t wide enough for a pocket knife but a pen or small flashlight does fit.
I’ve been wearing these jeans everyday since I got them, and they’ve been great. I even did a rucking workout in them on a particularly cold day where temps hovered around freezing. Overall these jeans are great. They breathe about as well as a standard pair of jeans and they move even better.
There’s nothing about them which will wow you on the side of drying times, or dirt resistance. They dry quick enough, slightly faster than normal cotton, but not “fast”. They breath fine, but I would not want to wear them about 70°F. The performance is all about durability and stretch — they excel in those areas.
These are one of my favorite pairs of jeans I own. They are not my favorite on a performance basis, nor on style — but if I need to go do some yard work, these are the jeans. Work in the shop/garage, these jeans.
But when it gets hot, I’ll be grabbing something else. Ditto for date nights.
At $100 these are a heck of a deal for a pair of pants which likely will last a long time.
Spier & Mackay is a well regarded Canadian menswear brand, well known for their high quality suits and other traditional items. They’ve been having quite a few sales through the pandemic, so when I saw their merino wool cardigan on sale, I decided to give it a try.
This sweater is knitted with 100% 2-ply Australian merino wool with an anti-pill treatment. I’m not sure what that treatment is, and being merino and a sweater, I haven’t had to wash it yet, but I haven’t noticed any pilling. Even if it does pill, a sweater shaver or stone is always a great trick.
The fabric is light and soft, and doesn’t have any wool scratchiness at all. It is also machine washable (lay flat dry), so no need for a trip to the dry cleaners when it eventually needs to be washed.
Fit & Style
The fit here is quite slim. I went with my normal XL (which they say fits up to a 44” chest) and it fits great everywhere, except it is quite snug when I button it. For me, that makes it more casual, since I prefer to wear it unbuttoned. Sizing up seems like it would likely make other parts of the sweater fit too big.
Spier & Mackay describe the style as easy to dress up or down, and I agree. I even threw it on over a t-shirt when I got chilly in my home office, and I thought it still looked pretty good.
Not much to discuss here other than its 100% merino — it doesn’t retain odors and likely will only need very infrequent washing.
Otherwise, it is quite lightweight, so I would describe it as a layer to take the chill off inside, rather than a sweater to keep you warm. It is also thin enough that you could wear it as a layer under a blazer.
Spier & Mackay did a nice job with this cardigan. It’s a little slim for me, but it certainly isn’t overly slim. The quality of the knit and the fabric seems to be above what you’d expect at the price point, and one sale, definitely would beat a UNIQLO cardigan. I paid $37, but think it represents a good value even at the current price of $68.
With reviews slowing a bit since we are not going into the office still, we thought we’d pick some of our favorite brands to interview about how they are doing and what they are looking forward to for 2021. Enjoy our first interview with Will Watters, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Western Rise.
2020 was a wild year for most companies, was there any product in your lineup that started flying out the door once lockdowns started?
I can’t say that one product began flying off of the shelves, but we did see an increase in demand for our pants with our Spectrum Joggers being a top new performer.
Following up on that, was there any product you were surprised did not start flying out the door for lockdown life?
Not surprisingly, our more formal button down options experienced a decline in sales.
One thing we’ve always appreciated about Western Rise clothing is that it is not just another brand sewing up the same fabric from the same mills. Can you give us some insight into how you develop new fabrics?
Thank you! Our process is a bit different from most brands. We typically start with trying to solve a specific problem. We typically try and find the perfect fabric first as starting from the yarn level can create far longer lead times. We typically scour fabric shows both in the USA and Europe, searching both at performance shows and fashion shows seeking to find fabrics that live between fashion and performance while meeting our needs. If we can’t find a fabric that solves the specific problem we are seeking solve, we typically work with our existing partners and their yarn suppliers to help develop something completely new and different. Right now our fabrics come from our amazing mill partners in the USA, Europe, and Asia and are shipped to our factory partners in those various regions to create the finished garments.
Heading into 2021 and beyond there’s a debate with seemingly equal parts of people on either side. Either you think people will rebel against the loungewear they got used to wearing and start a more formal wardrobe, or the other side being that you think people will not settle for going back to uncomfortable clothing. Where do y’all see this trend going?
I certainly don’t think comfort is going away. I think it has just been added as a new baseline for clothing. Our theory when we started Western Rise was that Performance and Style did not need to be mutually exclusive. We create garments that perform better than your outdoor or athletic clothing, with a sophisticated style that allows for everyday wear. Our belief is that comfort has just been added to that equation. With modern fabrics and construction technologies, clothing must be comfortable, it must perform, and it must be styled to be worn in the broadest wear spectrum possible. It’s time to embrace comfort, but do it in style.
Part of 2021 is that the incoming USA administration is very focused on climate change, and as a Climate Neutral Certified brand, do you see more changes coming to your business and mindsets to point you in different clothing directions?
At Western Rise, we have been mindful of our impact since we began. Climate Neutral really just gave us a tool to measure that impact more effectively. From the yarns we choose to the garments we design, to the location of our mills and our garment factories, we always consider impact. Our supply chain isn’t perfect, and it probably never will be, but Climate Neutral allows us to measure how we are performing, make changes to improve that score, and offset what we are not able to improve with carbon offsets. We hope to see more brands join in that pledge in 2021.
How do you look at staying on trend, while not creating fast-fashion and waste?
We don’t chase trends. We strive to create clothing that is seasonless and timeless. The world doesn’t need another fashion brand and most certainly doesn’t need more clothing. Our goal is to flip the fashion paradigm. Instead of buying more garments and using them less than ever, filling closets and creating waste, we seek to re-create the timeless, essential garments in every guy’s closet using the world’s best high performance fabrics allowing him to own less, carry less, and experience more.
What are you most excited for in 2021?
Travel. Travel not only broadens our perceptions and view of the world, but it allows us to meet in-person with our suppliers, mills, and garment factories. Creating garments is such a hands-on business and I cannot wait to get back to doing it in-person. Travel also pushes us to consider why each garment exists in our line. The constraints of needing to pack in one small carry-on bag really highlights the most-versatile styles. Each new climate or destination presents a new challenge and really guides our thoughts on what pieces should exist in our line and where opportunities exist.
Last question: all the performance pants out there wear quite slim, but the fashion watchers say pants are going more relaxed — what do you think?
Fit is constantly changing. While I don’t prefer ultra-slim fitting pants, I do prefer creating pants that fit correctly. Maximum Versatility is always our North Star as we design products. Choosing a fit that flatters the body, can be dressed up or down, and allows the body to move will always be the most versatile. I do think the fashion landscape will trend a bit wider than it has in 2021 due to the demand for more comfort. If a brand is not using fabrics with a high stretch content, the only way to maintain comfort is to widen the fit.
Here are some of our favorites—
I’ve tried a ton of pants for this website, all in the hopes of finding that one pair of pants which I can toss on and fall in love with. I’ve come close a few times. The Aether’s, the Oliver’s, or the Outliers. But each one is tricky. Aether is super comfortable, but too slim to look right in every situation, Oliver’s are really solid, but the waist stretches out really fast for me, and well Outlier stopped making theirs right when I lost some weight, oh well.
So I was pretty excited to learn about the Thunderbolt Sportswear MARK II LITE pants, which is a five pocket pant made from a Schoeller material which is code for expensive and comfortable. I have been giving them a go for quite some time, and I am impressed — they are different than the others I listed so let’s dive into it.
As I mentioned this is a Schoeller fabric, specifically here is what it is:
Schoeller® Dryskin soft shell with NanoSphere® DWR to repel water and dirt. Fabric maximizes performance in breathability, quick dry, wind and water resistance, four way stretch and self-cleaning.
Essentially it seems like a lighter weight version of the Schoeller 4-way stretch materials which for a while started to become common in pants. At a 180gsm it is decently light weight, without feeling thin.
The stretch is great, and the material face feels very much like other Schoeller pants. It has a slight sheen, is rather smooth and looks like a soft shell. Inside, the material has a lot less pile as compared to others and is more like a grid pattern. It’s soft and decently smooth. The material itself is aces.
Fit and Style
This is a standard 5-pocket look. Where it differs from most is the color, which in this case is a Ranger Green color (I like it, many might not) and the overall cut. While my main complaint with a lot of pants we review on the site is with how tapered they are, these take a straight leg approach. There is barely a taper on these.
This is in line with the intended use, which is more outdoors and active than it is heading to brunch. For me it’s still hard to get used to how straight legged this are, and I think they would benefit for a slight taper for pure looks. But the straight legs do make for a comfortable fit over all.
The only other fit detail is the waistband. On most pants like this the waist band is simple double the material the pant is made from. The issue with this method is that it causes the material to become stretched out over time, and thus you need to wash the pants to get them to fit correctly again. The benefit is that the waist is a bit stretchy and thus more comfortable, until they are too loose at least.
With these pants, the waistband has been designed to not stretch. That’s somewhat true. It stretches less than the rest of the pants, but it does have some give. Whether that is intentional or not, I don’t know. But it does make for a nice middle ground between no-stretch and stretch which eventually becomes too loose. I’ve found these pants will become loose over time, but it takes twice as long as others like this I have tried.
I’ve been wearing these pants a ton since getting them. They are truly comfortable, whether lounging around the house, doing yard work in the sun, or going on a warm walk through the woods. They have handled every task I have tossed at them with easy. But, since Thunderbolt Sportswear called out specific features, I’ll address each:
- Breathability: these are likely the most breathable pants I own, outside of maybe my GORUCK Simple Pants which are about half the weight by hand feel alone. The Mark II Lite’s are just insanely breathable and a couple of times wore too cool for me.
- Wind & Water Resistance: I have worn them in a some wind, and they did a good job with that. Not stellar, but better than expected. I can’t comment on water resistance as I have not worn them in much heavy rain. The water which has gotten on them, beads up well as it would with any solid DWR coating.
- Quick Dry: straight out of the washer, yes they dry fast. Quick would be an understatement here, they dry fast.
- Stretch: it’s perfect, because of the cut doesn’t need as much stretch to feel more stretchy. I really think there’s a solid amount of stretch, which you barely notice, yet are never restricted.
- Self-Cleaning: nope. Generally I have not seen them dirty in normal wear. However on a walk in the woods the dirt was rather dusty and very fine. The entire bottom half of the pants was coated in that dust, and would not shake/brush off. It required a full wash.
Generally speaking these are among the most performant pants I have. All Schoeller material performs really well, and these are no exception. They breathe well, dry fast, and stretch. There’s not a lot more to say here, but if you live in a warmer climate like me, these pants are something to consider for sure — as they breathe even better than most I test.
I bought these pants on sale for $92.50, with a non-sale price of $185. I don’t think I would have paid the full $185, but for under $100 these are a bargain. They are my go to pants during this work from home life, as I can be comfortable working, do work in the yard, or lounge on the couch in them and be comfortable under all situations.
The downside to these is the cut, it won’t be for everyone and that will make them harder to wear out and about if you care more about style. I would not hesitate to go on day hike with them though, they are really solid.
Note: this jacket was provided for review.
The Long Haul Jacket is a classic, most commonly called a ‘jean jacket’, but for this incarnation Taylor Stitch used a Wool Beach Cloth to put a very unique spin on the jacket. I’ve been wearing and testing it and I’ve found it to be far more versatile than initially expected.
If you are not familiar with ‘Beach Cloth’ you can line up with me. Here’s the description of it from Taylor Stitch:
Famously impenetrable, the original Beach Cloth was a closet staple in the early 20th century, especially among laborers whose work subjected them to chilly, damp conditions—seafarers, loggers, etc. For this run, we’ve updated the age-old formula but maintained the instantly recognizable texture and impressive heft. Trust us, this so-called Beach Cloth’s applications extend well beyond the seaside.
That’s interesting and in a lot of ways reminds me of some of the reasons for the heavy wool jackets Filson sells. And I assume the updates Taylor Stitch is referring to is the nylon content as the make up is a 14-oz, 50% wool, 40% cotton, 10% nylon garment. I would not have guessed there was nylon in it, and I assume that was done for some added durability. The outside of the material has a heavy weave and has a bit of that ‘rough wool’ feeling.
Inside is brushed and fuzzy, with the sleeves having an acetate lining in them so you can easily slide long sleeves in. This is a heavy jacket, but not a super warm jacket. Plenty warm for Houston, but not nearly warm enough for winters in Seattle — not without more layering.
The last note on this material is that it is noted as ‘dry clean only’ which is a shame, as you’ll likely find yourself mostly spot cleaning then.
Fit & Style
This is meant to fit tailored, and stop at the pant line. And it does just that, it’s a classic looking jacket, but with a very unique pattern. In these fit pictures I am wearing a light gray shirt and flat black pants — I chose the black pants to show off the fact that this jacket isn’t quite black, but not quite blue.
Overall the pattern and coloring is a bit of a chameleon. And depending on what you pair it with, it will either look, well not good, or it will look pretty neat. But the generally style of this pattern is heavy handed and something you can’t just toss on with everything in my testing. So while I do like it, it is not a versatile as the more plain patterns.
For the fit, there’s only two things I’ll note. The first is that, as with most Taylor Stitch garments I find the cuffs slightly too small, as they have trouble falling nicely over a watch (if at all). Second, I do wish the inside of the cuffs was also lined, as the material can be scratchy against your wrists.
The performance here is really all about how well the nylon and wool out weigh the cotton content in the jacket. And I think it tamps down the cotton really well. It’s not going to be my pick for any scenario where I need to rely on staying warm when wet. But for those times when you want a good jacket that can perform well, this could fit the bill.
The weight of it is a mid-weight, and that works well here in Houston for the winter, and most other cooler areas for the spring/fall seasons. If you size up, you could easily layer under it, or stay true to size and you could wear an overcoat.
The one aspect of this jacket I can’t escape is that I think it will be substantially better once more broken in. Because it does wear stiff, like a true work jacket does when new, and generally this means the fabric will break in and relax with more wear. As it does that, I can see this only getting more comfortable to wear.
There’s enough wool in that you don’t need to worry about poor performance. Enough nylon that you don’t need to fully baby it. But there does remain enough cotton to keep this from being a true performance jacket.
I look at this more as a really heavy over shirt, or shirt jacket. I don’t think it works as well with a button down as it does with a t-shirt. What that does mean is that you can easily wear this on cool summer evenings too.
I look forward to this breaking in more.
Prometheus Design Werx makes outdoor clothing, tools, soft goods, etc. and often makes their clothing in small runs with various fabrics.
Ben pointed the DRB Woodsman Shirt in Merino Red-Black-Gray Plaid out to me when it was on sale this Fall, because it would be way too warm for Texas. I picked it up, and this is a very warm shirt — the warmest I have.
Let’s dive right in.
The shirt is made from 18% 14 oz. Australian Merino Wool Melton/15% nylon. The cuffs and back of the collar are lined with 100% “Fine Brushed Poly Twill”.
In researching what Melton Wool actually is, I found that is often used in naval garments like CPO shirts and peacoat. It is also referred to as the equivalent of selvedge to denim or shell cordovan to leather. This is because it is a very dense woven and robust wool fabric, imparting both wind and water resistant properties.
In practice, this fabric is surprisingly wind resistant and does a nice job beading up a light snow or rain.
PDW mentions that their Melton is softer than typical Melton. While I’m not sure I’ve handled a Melton peacoat, this fabric is still stiff, but is somewhat softer than what I’d expect from a peacoat.
This fabric does put it firmly into the shirt jacket category. I’m not one to think wool feels rough against my skin, but wearing the shirt with just a t-shirt, it is uncomfortable against my arms.
As far as the weight, this is heavy. I thought my Patagonia wool shirt was heavy at 6.9 oz., the 14 oz. weight here is downright burley.
Fit & Style
PDW describes this shirt perfectly:
This is like your grandfather’s favorite outdoor shirt he wore to the cabin, or what your father threw on after an early morning session at his favorite break, but better. A modern regular fit for comfort and freedom of movement.
I don’t think I can do better than that. It’s fit like a shirt jacket (so plenty of room throughout the body, sleeves, and cuffs for layering shirts, sweaters, or hoodies), yet its designed well enough that it doesn’t look ridiculous over a long-sleeve tee or thermal.
The large chest pockets look a little out of place in the product photos, but I don’t think they look bad in person (they are sized to fit smartphones — my iPhone XS fits, but I’m not sure a bigger phone would). The slotted buttons also add to the rugged look (and the durability of the shirt — no more popped buttons).
This shirt is very interesting. When I first received it in early Fall, I tried it on inside and it made me hot very quickly. Now that it has cooled down, I can wear it unbuttoned inside if I’m feeling chilly, but it’s too warm for all-around inside wear for me. I wore it for socially distanced Halloween night and it kept me warm just sitting around in the high 40s °F with just a long sleeve tee under. In the 30s °F, this shirt still works well as an outer layer, with some warmer base/mid-layers underneath.
The only negative for colder weather performance is the length. Since it is a shirt length, there isn’t too much protection from cold air blowing up from the bottom.
The shirt also features full-length side arm panels (a strip of fabric that runs up the side of the shirt and down the arm) to help improve motion. It seems that this helps a little with the typical lifting of a heavy shirt when you raise your arms.
The double reinforced elbows are also a nice touch. As this is a shirt that is meant to take some abuse, the elbows are often the first place a shirt wears through.
Even though the shirt is listed as dry clean only, I don’t think that’s going to be an issue since its wool and is an outer layer.
The DRB Woodsman shirt is a great example of a classic shirt jacket in a very heavy fabric. While it is currently out of stock, PDW tends to release small batches of their clothing each year, so you might be able to find this shirt or something similar in the future.
If you’re looking for a classic warm wool shirt jacket when this is in stock, its definitely worth consideration, although if you find wool scratchy, it’s not for you.
Note: Taylor Stitch sent this item for review.
A good hoodie, which is also performant, is hard to find. Yes you can find wool hoodies, but they all lack something. Synthetic hoodies are all over, but they look synthetic. There’s two types of hoodies out there: those that you want to put on to feel cozy and have a quick nap or three. And those you want to wear out and about, to be seen in, as a layer while remaining comfortable and casual.
And it is that latter category that I find the Apres Hoodie in Coal. It’s quietly performant, while looking very sharp.
First this is mostly cotton, as the composition is a 12-oz. garment consisting of: 98% cotton, 2% Spandex. I would have wagered there was far more than 2% spandex as the entire thing is pretty stretchy. It’s a solid 4-way stretch and there’s little chance of restricting movement.
More than the materials composition is the hand feel. This is a dense and heavy feeling hoodie. Neither the interior or the face, is soft and fuzzy. Well, the interior is soft and not scratchy, but there is no pile to the material — instead Taylor Stitch opted for a soft woven texture across it. The outside feels closer to your standard hoodie with perhaps a heavier weave.
The clear advantage here is that it slides over other materials much better, and doesn’t leave behind a lint trail.
Fit and Style
As I mentioned at the outset of this review, this hoodie is full of style. It’s cut trim and modern, and my standard Large fits just fine. If you want a little more of a relaxed look you should size up a full size — I could wear an XL easily and still look fine. But the Large looks more tailored, more put together.
The entire hoodie works well from a style perspective. You could easily toss this on with a pair of swim trunks and hang out near a bonfire on the beach — you’d fit right in. Or you could toss it on with a pair of chinos over a button down and have a great layer for a night out.
And that’s not just the cut, but the detailing on it plays to these strengths. With pockets that a slanted and sit flat, and tiny little leather triangles at either end. It’s a nice touch for the whole thing. The leather grab on the zipper is classic as is the brass contrast of the zipper. And the white speckling throughout the hoodie adds enough of a casual element to keep this feeling like a hoodie.
I love the way this looks and fits.
Ok, so this is a cotton hoodie. All of the performance here comes from stretch. And there is a lot of stretch in this. What this means practically is that the hoodie can fit trim to your body, while not restricting your movement at all. And not only being unrestricted, you can also lounge in it and still be comfortable the entire time. The stretch really is fantastic and rarely do I see this much in a cotton garment.
The rest of the performance simply comes from the application of cotton. As I mentioned above there is no brushed interior. It’s smooth and soft with a dense exterior. This is cotton done well, but still cotton.
I only have a handful of hoodies because I find them problematic. It’s hard to find a good performance one which also still looks sharp. And that’s because hoodies are one of those items which is best done with cotton. The stretch here is excellent.
No it won’t dry fast, repel water, or resist odors. But it will look good no matter what you are doing, perhaps better than most. And if you happen to be working at home, well this should be at the top of your list.
It’s not a performance hoodie, but it is the hoodie I want to wear.
Note: This hoodie is currently out of stock in the color I reviewed. It is available in other colors, but note that each color has a slightly different fabric makeup, with many infusing hemp into the mix which should be a nice addition.
Since I started on this journey of finding better performing everyday clothing, one of the top fabrics which always catches my eye is anything with merino wool. It’s a magical fabric which is soft, performant, and yet wears well in many conditions. The problem is always price, it is often a very expensive fabric to own. Which is where Uniqlo comes in, with their Long Sleeve Knit Merino Polo.
I have been testing it as my work from home shirt for some weeks now, and I am blown away. So, at a full price of $39.90, and a sale price of $29.90 — is this too good to be true? No, it’s actually a really awesome shirt.
As you might guess the shirt is 100% merino wool, which Uniqlo says is ‘19.5-micron superfine Merino wool’. That’s not really that superfine, but a borderline soft merino in my book. What’s weird is that you could tell me this is 16.5 micron and I would believe you. It is luxuriously soft and really just cozy feeling.
There’s not much more to say, it is a super soft merino wool shirt. Well one more thing, Uniqlo specifies: “treated with special press-processing to prevent pilling”. I have no clue what that is, it does get fuzzy, but no pilling so far.
Fit and Style
A long sleeve knit polo is a classic — made out of a soft slightly fuzzy sweater material, also a classic. The style is all around great, something you could wear to most offices, or out to drinks and blend in just fine. It also might be the ideal work from home style.
The fit is slim, but I think it is cut well and fits my body well. I could use a touch more length in the sleeves, but that is almost always the case for me. I am also a very big fan of the collar, as it sits nicely and keeps a clean appearance to the shirt.
It’s 100% merino, so there’s not a lot to say about it which we have not already said. It performs at the same level as all other 100% merino, which is 4-5 wears before washing is needed. It does fuzz up a bit, and the cuffs are good. Not too tight, not loose at all.
Perhaps the best performance feature is the no-fuss nature. Wash it like normal, hang dry, toss it back on for another 4-5 wears, repeat. It dries quickly. It’s not too light, not too heavy. This would work well to layer for a cool night, or on it’s own well into the 70s. Top marks.
The real selling point is the overall product, not any one feature. Any other brand could sell this for $80-100 and I would tell you that it is worth the price. That it is under $40 is unfathomable to me. This is a steal. Buy this for sure. Even if you only wear it a few times, it’s worth it.
It quickly became my work from home go to. And I really love it.