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.
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.
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.
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.
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.