Steve recounted all of the polos he’s tried, in an effort to find one which can be worn in place of a standard cotton polo. Before switching to better clothing, a cotton polo was a summertime staple of mine, and something I had been greatly missing. Not so much that I wanted to wear cotton shirts again, but enough that I knew I needed to find something this summer.
Unlike Steve, I got lucky with my first try, the Wool & Prince 100% Merino Polo.
This polo is made from 100% 17.5 micron merino wool, and comes in at 205 gsm. In hand it feels sublime. It’s very soft, like a well worn and loved cotton t-shirt. This does lend to a bit of a fuzziness with the fabric after washing it, but once the shirt dries you tend not to notice it. The only slight against this shirt is that some might find the shirt a little casual even though the styling is like a traditional polo. The drape of the shirt is on par with a t-shirt, which is right where I want it to be on this type of a polo.
Collar and Buttons
With any polo shirt, the collar and front buttons will make or break the look. Buttons that are too big, too flashy, or non-standard will ruin the shirt. Likewise, too many buttons, or buttons too spread a part, will hinder the wearability of the shirt. And the collar, oh the collar.
There are two types of collars: messy collars and crisp collars.
This Wool & Prince shirt checks both the boxes here. The buttons are subtle, limited to just two, and can be worn more casually with all of them unbuttoned, or made a little crisper with just the bottom of the two buttons secured. They are gray, and blend seamlessly with the shirting — nothing to see here, just as it should be.
As you may have noted, the biggest issue with most of the polos we have been trying is that the collars tend to not stay put, and much prefer to laugh across your collar bone giving a very unkempt look. Wool & Prince specifically addresses this in their description, that the collar should stand tall and be crisp. Out of the box, before washing and over the first five wears, this could not have been more impressive. The collar stayed put, and looked sharp.
After washing the first time and hang drying with the shirt buttoned up, the collar was notably less stiff. However, it still stays in place and I had no further issues, even across many wears. After the third wash, I was in a rush and did not button the collar, this lead to the left side of the collar having a bit of a rolled effect, but still never laid flat.
After the fourth and fifth washes, the shirt still maintains poise with the collar as long as you pay attention to how the collar dries. It is comparable to almost all the cotton polo shirts I am used to: get the collar how you want it when it is drying and that’s how it will be until you wash it again. I have no complaints at all about the collar, as it should be.
The biggest issue I have with this shirt is the weight of the fabric itself. At 205 gsm, it is very heavy. It is heavier than the OUTLIER Ultrafine T-Shirt, which is already among the heavier wool shirts I’ve worn. If you move to the nylon blend polo from Wool & Prince it drops the weight down to 160 gsm, which is a much better warm weather weight.
Weight of the fabric aside, wearing this shirt in warm weather was a bit of a mixed bag. Going through the drier heat in San Jose with mid-70s weather, I had no issues. Here at home in the Pacific Northwest, in the 80°F range, I’ve found the shirt to be warm, but not uncomfortably so. Much above 80°F in low humidity and it gets warm.
In Boston, with humid air, and warm upper 70s weather, it was warm. Even though the shirt dries fast, I found that most of the time the arm pits were rather wet on the shirt, though not noticeably so when looking at me. At this weight, it’s not likely you will be able to tolerate the shirt much above 80°F in any type of climate.
I really love this shirt. It’s just as comfortable as wearing a t-shirt, but with a less casual look. I average five wears of the shirt, even in warm climates — which means it was the only short sleeved shirt I really needed to pack for the two trips I took it on. However, because of the weight, instead of buying another 100% merino polo, I’ll be looking to get the blended polo to reduce the weight of the shirt, at the expense of odor resistance.