Western Rise Limitless Merino Wool Shirt and Polo Shirt

Note: Ben’s sample was purchased during the Kickstarter campaign, while Steve’s sample was sent by Western Rise for review.

I feel like I have been waiting forever for this shirt, as I backed it on Kickstarter right away. The premise of the Limitless Merino Wool Shirt is: “Looks like an oxford, is more comfortable than a t-shirt, and outperforms your activewear.” That’s a heck of a claim, but I think it actually holds true with this one, so let me explain why.

Material

Yes, this is a ‘merino’ shirt, but actually it is a lot more than that. The fabric itself is listed as: 53% Australian Merino wool, 47% polyester, with a weight of 175 gsm. The thing is, this does not feel like any merino button-down I own.

It’s heavy, where as typical merino button-downs are light. It stretches like crazy, whereas most never stretch. There’s no wool feel to the shirt at all. Honestly this just feels like a polyester performance button down and nothing more. Which defies logic a bit, because it doesn’t perform like one at all.

The fabric itself feels durable and has a great drape to it. It is a bit of a heavier drape, so don’t expect to have a more rigid starched look. This shirt certainly trends a little more casual just from the fabric.

Fit & Style

The fit is listed as tailored and I think that rings true. Steve had trouble finding one that fit him, and ultimately couldn’t find the right size. Whereas my standard Large sizing fit perfectly. This actually might be the best fitting shirt I own, Proper Cloth custom shirt notwithstanding.

The style is pretty interesting, as Western Rise wanted to make a shirt you could dress up, or down, so that you could wear it as your only shirt for any situation. So the button down collar helps the shirt stay casual (and it is a fantastic collar, which doesn’t look unnaturally stiff, while still looking relaxed), the cuffs are mitered to add a little flare to the shirt when you want to dress it up. The tailored cut makes it look great untucked or tucked.

But the real key here is the length of the shirt. When you tuck in a shirt you want it to be longer so it stays tucked in, when you wear a shirt untucked you want it to be shorter so that it doesn’t look out of place. This is a delicate balance to strike when you want the shirt to do both. For my torso they balance is perfect. I can wear it tucked or untucked without issue, and the stretch helps allow the shirt to remain tucked in when you are reaching and stretching your body.

On the style side, there is going to be no issue with casual wear. I’ve worn this to the office and while it is among the more casual looking button downs I own, I find no issue with it in a what I would call the bottom end of business casual. Layer it with a vest, or sport coat, and it looks fine. On it’s own you straddle that line a touch, but you can easily get away with it.

Performance

Merino wool always performs great in shirting as it is highly odor resistant and decently wrinkle resistant — all while having extremely good temperature regulation. This shirt is all of that, but with the added benefit of fantastic 4-way stretch.

Here’s the highlight reel for this shirt:

  • Stretch: the stretch is the best of any button down I own. When Western Rise says that they want this shirt to move like a work out shirt, they nailed it. Super comfortable because of that stretch. But the stretch also helps them make the shirt more fitted, which improves the overall looks of the shirt.
  • Breathability: is fantastic, you get the normal merino wool properties with a more airy feel. The only downside is that if your arm pits do start to sweat, you’ll see it.
  • Wrinkle-resistance: this is not the best performing shirt for wrinkle resistance, but it is very good, the the wrinkles do release well with wear.
  • Odor Control: excellent. I wore the shirt 5 times and it still smelled fine. I only washed it because I needed to for this review. On par with all merino shirts here.

This might be the best performing all around button down I have. The only thing I am unsure of is how it would hold up to a GORUCK backpack when traveling.

Overall

I love this shirt. I got the light blue and it is a fantastic color, and I’ll likely get the smoke color as well. I have worn it on the weekends hanging out with the kids, and to the office giving presentations. When I pack for a trip, this will be on my list of must brings, Western Rise really nailed this shirt.


Steve’s Thoughts

As Ben mentioned, I had trouble getting the fit right on this shirt. My normal XL Western Rise size was just a little too tight around the waist — the bottom button pulled a bit, making the shirt not look great. I assumed an XXL would be way too big based on the size chart, but I gave it a shot anyways because I really liked how this fabric felt, but of course it was way too big.

I did, however, get the Polo Shirt in my normal XL and it fits great. The curved hem and the button-down collar adds a little different look. I do like both, and I think the are functional additions as well. The curved hem helps the polo stay tucked in but also makes it look right when untucked. The button-down collar helps keep the collar looking sharp all day and through multiple wears.

Since this is the same fabric, I echo all of Ben’s comments. It does indeed live up to the advertising copy and makes for an excellent everyday and travel polo.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Western Rise Limitless Merino Wool Shirt and Polo Shirt

Western Rise Diversion Pant

Note: Western Rise provided these pants at no cost for review.

Western Rise is one of the performance clothing brands which excites us the most, as they seem to be taking a rather unrestrained approach to making better performing clothing. The Diversion Pant is the latest offering from them, and is designed to be a person’s go to everyday pant, which makes it right up our alley. Further, Western Rise wants this pant to be: “tougher than workwear, more comfortable than sweatpants, and more stylish than jeans.” That’s a tall order, and I’ve had a chance now to wear these pants enough to know how they stack up.

Material

Western Rise markets that these pants took 3 years of research and development. Which all leads to what they call the ‘Diversion Double Weave Canvas’, and which I call: really stretchy and soft material. Soft is the key word when describing this, because most performance materials are either rough, or slick/smooth. Soft, outside of high cotton or polyester is pretty rare.

Specifically this fabric is: 94% nylon, 6% spandex and comes in at a hefty 286 gsm. All of that is coated with a DWR coating, and of course the pockets are non-standard, in this case Nylon 6,6. The stretch is 4-way, and the pants have a UPF rating of 50+. But none of that really shows what you get with this material, because it is quite good.

The face of the material looks and feels like a cotton canvas. It is matte, with not a hint of sheen — something very rare in very high performing pants. It is also soft to the touch, with a very broken in, favorite t-shirt, feel to it. The facing is fantastic.

Next, the inside of the pants is a dobby weave, which Western Rise hopes mimics the feel of sweatpants. On this I can comment, because sweatpants are my go to evening pants, and while they came close, it is a slight miss on the sweatpant mimicry. However, they do feel amazing against your skin with a softness to them that you rarely feel in an everyday pant. Almost like a nice pair of terry cotton sweat pants.

The stretch on these pants is extreme, so much so that I was actually quite surprised that they are only 6% spandex and not more. Kudos there, as the stretch makes them quite comfortable.

Simply put: yes, more of this fabric please.

Fit & Style

They are listed as a ‘slim/tailored’ fit, which I think is slightly off from reality. These are easily the most slim pants I have reviewed for this site, and the most slim I have ever worn. They border on being too slim for my taste, and I hope that they make a slightly more relaxed cut in the future. However, the wife says I look good in them and they have yet to be uncomfortable, so perhaps they found a nice balance there.

I was told the pants would stretch a half, to one full, size during wear, which is very common in this type of pant. After about a half day of wear I would say they stretched somewhere in that range, and have stayed there. The fit overall is a bit snug for me to call perfect, but none of that makes them any less comfortable to wear.

On the style front, Western Rise makes the claim that not only should these pants be better than jeans, but that they can easily be dressed up for the office. I call shenanigans on this thought. They most certainly can, and probably should, replace jeans for most people. They are more comfortable, and look better than jeans. I received the blue-grey color and find it very versatile and easy to wear. There is, however, no escaping the fact that they are a five-pocket pant style, which is not going to fly in many business settings.

There’s no way I can get away with wearing these at work, where I wear chinos and up styling. You could easily get away with these in a more casual to smart-casual environment. Basically if ‘nice jeans’ is all you ever need, these will be more than ample. But if ‘at least chinos’ is where you live, then these won’t dress up enough for your needs. This is all subjective though, and the black could likely dress up more.

That notwithstanding, the biggest style miss on these is the cuff on the pant leg opening. Western Rise stuffed some extra fabric in it so that you can easily adjust the pants from the standard 32” inseam they ship with to roughly a 33” inseam. This is great for product inventory, but if you leave the inseam at 32” the cuff looks a bit too thick and detracts from the style overall. I have it on my list to take these to the tailor and have that cuff redone.

Performance

I can sum this section up with one word: fantastic. These are one of the best performing pants I have. I wear them any time I am not going into my office, and I have yet to regret it. I wore them for an entire day of cleaning both of the kids rooms, and their playroom. That involved a lot of movement, crawling on my knees and everything else. These pants were fantastic for that.

Let’s break down the claims made about these pants one by one:

  • “unprecedented freedom and comfort”: yes, this is a very accurate statement. Typically the slimmer fitting the pants, the less mobility. I wore these on an all day road trip, cleaning the house, lounging, and more. They never once restricted me, nor did I find them uncomfortable. The key thing to know is that the waistband has a solid nylon lining on the inside face of it, which means the waist does not stretch like the rest of the pants. It will slightly loosen with wear, but not a lot. This is great if the pants fit you well, but will be uncomfortable if you are sitting in an uncomfortable position, or the pants fit too snug. The other upside of this waistband design is that your pants tend to actually stay up much better.
  • “ultra-soft, breathable inner lining”: yes, double checks here. The pants are soft, just not fuzzy soft. The pants are also very breathable, while it is winter, here in Houston we have touched 80°F a couple of times and have had some very humid weather. The pants performed admirable under those conditions.
  • “abrasion resistant”: this was my biggest worry with the facing material on the pants as it feels too soft to be durable. Yet, I crawled around on my knees across the carpet cleaning the play room with the kids for an entire day and even upon very close inspection I can see no signs of wear at the knees. I honestly find it hard to believe that pants this soft can be this durable. Time will tell, but so far I am impressed.
  • “helps the pant retain its shape”: one of the biggest problems with stretchy pants is that they do what many call “bag out” especially at the knees. Essentially over time they stretch out in areas with lots of articulation, and stay stretched out making them look oddly shaped. Typically this is easily fixed with a quick wash. However, thus far, nothing of the sort with these pants. I hope that holds true, because that can be the only reason I need to wash pants like this, and if they continue not to loose shape, then they will likely be the pants I can wear the longest between washes.

As I said, from a performance stand point, these pants are amazing. The 286 gsm weight seems heavy on paper, but on your body it does not feel that heavy at all. They feel like the perfect all around weight. Warm enough for cool to cold weather, and light enough for warm to very warm weather. They won’t replace shorts, but they can likely handle a large portion of the temperature range people face.

Overall

These are now going to be my go to casual pants. They are just too comfortable and look too good not to be. I do wish they were cut a little more relaxed, but none of that takes away from the pant itself. Not only will they be my casual pants, they will likely find themselves my airplane travel pants too.

I highly recommend these.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Western Rise Diversion Pant

Bluffworks Trevi Pant

Note: These pants were provided by Bluffworks for review purposes.

In addition to the Threshold Women’s T-Shirt (our review), I’ve also been trying out the Trevi Pant from the new Bluffworks Women’s collection. These pants are really comfortable while looking dressy enough for a nice night out or a meeting where jeans are not appropriate.

Material

These pants are 98% polyester and 2% spandex, an easy-care lightweight material. After washing them I hang them up to dry, no ironing needed. They pack down nicely and are ready to wear which is always a plus when traveling. The fabric drapes nicely and has flattering front pleats, with the addition of spandex they are not as restricting as some dress pants.

Performance

I wasn’t sure how warm these would be in the winter months, the fabric description mentions that they are an all-season twill weave but the fabric does not feel heavy. Almost every time I have worn these it has been on the colder side (20°F-30°F), they are warm enough but I wouldn’t want to be outside in cold temperatures for a long period of time. I have not had the chance to wear them in warmer weather but they breath well which will be nice for hot days.

With 8 pockets it is easy to carry all of my essentials without the hassle of carrying a bag, the back pockets and one of the front pockets have zippers which provide extra security. There are also hidden stash pockets on the waistband if there is something small you want to carry and are worried about losing.

The odor resistance is a plus as I can see these being a great option for a long travel day.

Fit & Style

These pants have an adjustable hem via built in snaps, which is a great feature if you want to make them more casual. I do wish there was a longer option as the unrolled length is shorter than I typically prefer.

I really like the side closure on these pants combined with the semi-fitted mid-rise waistband, they are very comfortable. I have a couple of other dressier pairs of pants and with the typical button & zipper closure they can be uncomfortable if you are sitting all day or traveling, that is not the case with the Trevi Pant.

These can be dressed up with a button down shirt or dressed down with a nicer t-shirt. The one think I struggled with was what winter footwear to wear with them. I found they work well with a low pair of boots but I do prefer wearing them with flats or loafers.

Overall

Overall the Bluffworks Trevi Pant is a great option if you are looking for a versatile pant that can be dressed up or down. While the length is shorter than I typically prefer I know I will get a lot of wear once the weather warms up.

At $150 these are a good addition if you have the need to dress up on a regular basis or if you travel a lot and want pants that are low maintenance.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Bluffworks Trevi Pant

Our Most Worn in 2019

Note: We received some of these items for review purposes. See our original review posts for details.

Looking back at 2019, we tested a ton of new stuff, and settled into some new habits. Here’s our most worn stuff, and some of our favorites from 2019.

Ben

Two things happened this year, which really caused a shift in what I wear: I moved from Seattle to Houston, and I started working in an office full time again. This meant both my weekend and weekday outfits had to change.

Weekend and Casual

For the most part I stuck to shorts and a shirt, but the AC is strong here in the summer so pants are sometimes a necessary evil. Here’s where I landed:

  • Olivers Passage Pant (our review): I wore these a ton. They were the only casual looking pant I owned that could remotely handle the hot and humid weather of Houston. I still felt too warm in them though. While I wore them a ton, I can also say that the olive green color I have is not a great color long term for me. Solid pants though, and they show no wear which is a plus.
  • Outlier New Way Shorts (our review): These have long been my go to shorts, and still are. I love them, and wear them basically all the time here in Houston.
  • Wool&Prince 100% Merino Polo (our review): This was my go to, and it was fine. I love the comfort and I feel great wearing it. But I think it looks crappy, and the bottom hem is a nightmare to keep flat after washing it. This needs a replacement.
  • Outlier Ramienorth Pivot (our review): If we were going out to eat, this was the shirt I wanted to be wearing in the evenings. Keeps you cool outside in the sauna, and keeps you from freezing out in the AC. This was a winner for me all year.
  • Western Rise AirLight Short Sleeve (our review): If this shirt was clean, I wore it. Dang, love this shirt. It’s like magic for when it is hot out, and it looks really nice too. I should get a long sleeved one for this summer.

Office Wear

Big changes here. I started the year mostly with my go to Futureworks, and while I still absolutely love these pants, a new player hit my closet that took over the majority of the wear time at the office.

  • Ministry of Supply Kinetic Pant (our review): If I had to pick one item which was the biggest game changer for me, it would be these pants. They look great, breath really well, and stretch like crazy. I wear them all day at work and never am bothered. These are really good office pants. So glad I found these, and I usually have to force myself to grab different pants to change things up, otherwise I would just keep wearing these. And some weeks I only wear these.
  • Outlier Futureworks (our review)): Still a far more versatile and tough pant, and if I weren’t between sizes with these, like they would be just as worn as the Kinetic. The biggest upside is they hide pocket bulges better and repel lint. The downside: the waist isn’t elastic like on the Kinetic.
  • Ministry of Supply Aero Shirt (our review): I don’t think there is a better office shirt to wear. They keep you cool, look sharp, fit well, and have tons of patterns to choose from. And while they don’t travel well, they do everything else fantastically well.
  • Bluffworks Horizon Vest (our review): I love this vest, and wore it everyday the weather allowed me to. I even took it with me to Washington State so that I could stay warm. This is a great, versatile, piece that I will likely be wearing for a long time to come.

Workout and Miscellany

A few odds and ends to wrap up 2019:

  • ExOfficio Give-n-Go Boxers: I know not everyone loves these, but I do. Still the only underwear that I wear.
  • GORUCK Simple Pants: I wear these to work out, and to wash cars in. They are light, so they keep me cool, but protect my legs from mosquitoes. Importantly they also dry really fast. I am always impressed with these.
  • YAthletics SilverAir Merino Shirt (our review): This is my go to for working out, and they prove themselves over and over again. Great shirts.

Steve

With no big moves for me, some things solidified in my wardrobe as well as a few new favorites.

Weekend and Casual

This year, I dressed up my casual wear a bit, so there are some new and old favorites here.

Outlier New Way Longs (our review): These are still the king of shorts. They may seem pricey for shorts, but they are worth it. They look sharp with a button-down or polo, don’t look out of place with a tee, and perform no matter what you are doing while wearing them.
Western Rise Evolution Pant (our review): These are a 5-pocket cut that can be dressed up if needed. They are lightweight, fast drying, and comfortable. Favored over my Outlier Slim Dungarees.
Bluffworks Threshold T-Shirt (our review): Bluffworks hit a sweet spot here, finding a synthetic blend that looks normal, performs well, and has almost merino-like odor resistance.
Outlier Ramielust T-Shirt (our review): Nothing beats ramie on a hot and humid summer day. Hard to even describe how good this is.
Taylor Stitch The California in Olive Hemp Poplin: This hemp-cotton blend from Taylor Stitch has been working really well for me. I’ve found that hemp blend fabrics to have a great casual look while having some good moisture management and odor resistance.
Western Rise TechWool Flannel Shirt (our review): This has been my favorite for cooler weather. It’s not too heavy, is cut well, and is odor resistant.
The North Face Ventrix Jacket (our review): This active insulation jacket is perfect for many temperatures and became my main jacket this year.

Office Wear

After testing a bunch of polos for my guide, I finally had some polos in my wardrobe that I could depend on.

Bluffworks Piton Polo (our review): This became the polo I grab first, as it is light enough to keep me cool, wicks very well, and resists wrinkles. The only caveat is that it needs a rinse to be able to get more than one wear out of it when traveling.
Wool&Prince Button-Downs (our review): These button-downs are still my favorite for everyday and travel wear. I have them in both the 130 and 210gsm fabric — this allows me to wear them no matter what the weather. Being 100% merino, their odor resistance is superb, and if they get wrinkled, they look sharp again with just a little steam.
Outlier Futureworks (our review)): Another long-time favorite. They fit me well and are versatile in the office environment, looking sharp dressed up or down. No issues with durability, and they still look great after a few years.
Western Rise AirLoft Quilted Jacket (our review): Great technical insulation and fabric package in a classic silhouette. Works really well for me when I want a jacket that looks nice.

Workout and Miscellany

YAthletics SilverAir Merino Shirt (our review): These are still the best workout shirts that I’ve found and are proving themselves every day for me.
Patagonia Essential Boxer Briefs: Grabbed a pair of these on sale from REI and they have become my favorite. Soft lyocell material that holds up and doesn’t get stretched out over time. I haven’t bought more because I still have pairs from numerous other brands, but as I need to replace, I plan to get more of these.
Darn Tough Socks: Haven’t tried a lot of other brands because these work, have them for workout, dress, and hiking socks.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Our Most Worn in 2019

Western Rise AT Slim Pant

Note: These pants were provided by Western Rise for review purposes.

With the Western Rise The Evolution Pant (our review) as a pair of pants that I wear quite frequently, I decided to take the opportunity to take a look at the AT Slim Pant.

I’ve been wearing them for a few weeks now, including traveling with six flights in three days.

Material

These pants are made from Western Rise’s AT Cloth, a 97% nylon, 3% spandex fabric with air-texturized fibers and a canvas structure. The weight comes in at 280 gsm and they are coated with a nano-scale C6 DWR.

The spandex gives the fabric 2-way weft stretch, this is not very noticeable to the hand, but the fabric does move decently while wearing.

The canvas structure gives the fabric a nice texture and the weight helps the fabric break, like a good pair of jeans, rather than the drape of a lighter nylon fabric.

Unfortunately, there is some “nylon swish” while walking. The fabric was quite stiff out of the box, but it has softened some with washing. So far, the noise hasn’t been reduced, but it may as the fabric softens further.

Fit & Style

The fit here is very similar to The Evolution Pant — the listed measurements are exactly the same. The only difference I noticed was that the rise feels a little lower. They fit slim but not overly so, and are more of a straight than tapered fit.

Being five-pocket, they stand in well for jeans, especially with the break, rather than drape of the fabric. The texture also adds to the more casual look, although I think they sit in the same “dressiness” category as a nice pair of dark jeans.

Performance

In order to increase the durability and give the pants structure, there are some trade offs to performance. While there is a little stretch, the gusset is definitely needed here to make the pants move comfortably. I never felt any restriction while wearing the pants, but they certainly aren’t “sweat pants comfortable”, like some pants with a high level of 4-way stretch.

With a fairly heavy 280 gsm weight, they wear cooler than expected — I never felt too warm or sweaty.

While the nylon here does give the pants some noise while walking, it does allow the pants to dry extremely fast if they get wet (the C6 DWR does repel a light rain) or after washing.

A few other nice additions to the pants are a phone pocket in the right pocket in place of the coin pocket. It comfortably fits my iPhone XS and keeps it in a more comfortable location than the main pocket.

There is also a hidden zipper pocket inside the right back pocket.

All the pockets are also made of a nylon fabric, so they don’t hold moisture.

Durability-wise, I can’t comment for sure as I’ve only been wearing the pants for a few weeks, but they certainly seem like they will hold up well to any abrasions and resist pulls.

Overall

Overall, the AT Slim Pant is a nice entry into the more durable synthetic pant market and sit as a nice denim substitute. While they don’t have a ton of stretch, they still are comfortable and perform well, except for the noise while walking. They will definitely remain in my rotation for times when I need a more durable and abrasions resistant pant.

If you are looking for a pant that has much more stretch, while still claiming high durability, the just-launched Diversion Pant is worth a look (look for a review in the coming weeks). These also come with a slimmer, more tapered fit (they are cut 0.5-1” smaller in all measurements).

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Western Rise AT Slim Pant

Western Rise X Cotton Everyday Tee

 Note: This shirt was provided by Western Rise for review purposes.

The performance t-shirt is incredibly saturated with merino and synthetic options. Recently, performance cotton blends have been showing up, and Western Rise has a worthy contender in their X Cotton Everyday Tee.

Material

Western Rise created a 220 gsm, 4-way stretch, 60% cotton, 35% polyester, 5% elastane blend treated with Polygiene anti-microbial technology for this shirt.

The 4-way stretch is surprisingly noticeable, with slightly more stretch in the vertical than horizontal direction.

Despite the 40% synthetic content, the heavy weight combined with the cotton brings a completely cotton-like drape and look to this fabric while being extremely soft.

Fit & Style

Western rise describes the cut as “slightly lean and tailored”, and I think that is a good description. The shirt is lean through the chest and body. The body is cut slightly slimmer and longer, and the sleeves more tailored than the StrongCore Merino Tee (our review).

This extra length and more tailored sleeves give the tee a more athletic cut, making it more suited to active pursuits, while still keeping it stylish for any situation.

Performance

This tee performs above and beyond expectations.

The Polygiene treatment really does help bring the odor-resistant performance of the shirt towards the realm of merino. I was able to wear the shirt for a couple of days with no odor, and when I wore it for a really sweaty workout after those few days, it only had a slight odor after airing out overnight. One caveat however, since this is a treatment, it could wash out slowly over time.

The shirt also is surprisingly wicking and quick-drying. With the high cotton content, the moisture tends to stay in the fabric longer (like merino), but it never felt uncomfortable to me. For typical everyday wear, the performance was good enough that I never felt wetness in my armpits. When it comes time to wash the shirt, it dries more quickly than a cotton tee and hangs dry with minimal wrinkles.

Finally, it is great to have 4-way stretch in a cotton tee. It moves with you no matter what the situation, lending to its ability to seamlessly go from everyday to a workout.

Overall

Overall, I was quite surprised by the X Cotton Everyday Tee. I typically don’t get great odor-resistance out of shirts treated with Polygiene, but in this case, it performed — maybe it adheres better or has better performance on cotton then synthetics. Combined with the great weight, cotton drape, and extremely soft feel, this shirt is a great option for your wardrobe.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Western Rise X Cotton Everyday Tee