Note: We received some of these items for review purposes. See our original review posts for details.
With 2019 in the books, we look forward into what we need to round out our performance wardrobes. Those items we have yet to find, buy, or like.
There’s only three things I am really looking for:
- Casual pants for warm weather: my go to pants for the hot Houston summers has been the Olivers Passage Pant (our review), but they are not quite ideal for me. So I am trying to find something else, and I’m not sure the Diversion Pant from Western Rise (our review) can be them or not, only time will tell. But I’d like something very passable as “normal” which handles hot and humid reasonably well. Why pants over shorts: the AC here is strong.
- Versatile blazer to match my stuff: I have the Kinetic from Ministry (our review), and the Gramercy from Bluffworks (our review). Both are amazing, neither works as a versatile piece that looks good with jeans, or with my more technically derived pants. I’m thinking I need to go back to classic materials, or swing over to a performance cotton/linen. Either way it should be unstructured, and light weight. I’ll be keeping an eye out to see who releases what this summer.
- Polo: I don’t understand why the performance wear market sucks so much at making a good polo shirt. But we’ve struggled here, and my go to Wool&Prince 100% Merino Wool Polo (our review) will need an upgrade this summer, likely with the Merino blend version (our review) unless something else comes along.
And that’s really all I am currently looking for, I finally got most of my wardrobe figured out, such that I probably need to shed a few items.
There are only two things I am really looking for:
- Work pants: when I’m working around the house and need a pair of sturdy pants, I typically go with an old pair of jeans — not too comfortable. I really need something with more comfort for when you find yourself in a weird position. I have v1 of the Livsn Flex Canvas Pants (our preview), and am awaiting v2. I wore v1 for a few months in the wood shop, but the fit is off on them for me. The thighs are about as tight as I would like, yet the waist was too big and I had to hold them on with a belt. I’m hoping v2 will solve this fit issue, but if not, I will be on the hunt for something better. Likely I will go to the Patagonia Iron Forge Hemp Pants next.
- Spring jacket, lightweight and breathable with style: when the weather warms up and I need just a light layer I’ve been grabbing my Myles Elements Jacket (our review) or my Patagonia Houdini Snap-T Pullover. While both great jackets, they don’t fill this niche. I just picked up the new Proof Elements Jacket, and am looking forward to giving it a try once the spring weather comes.
And that’s it for me, also mostly have my wardrobe figured out and could shed a few items as well, especially t-shirts.
Brand to Watch in 2020
Ben: Western Rise is poised for a big year, I’ll go on record with that one. (Note: they give us free stuff in exchange for review.) Outlier has been my perennial favorite but their style direction is veering away from wearable for me, and their staples are still good, but they don’t feel like they are pushing the bounds. The last three Western Rise products I have gotten seem like magic to me, a feeling I used to only get with Outlier. The AirLight (our review), insanely cool wearing and worry free care. The Diversion Pant is truly a modern and comfortable take on pants, and the Limitless Merino Wool Shirt (our review) actually lives up to its name. And it feels like they are just getting started.
My only complaint is that their styling lends more casual, but if they start to smarten that up with an eye towards the office, they are going to take off. And the other thing: their prices are fantastic, which is to say, they are pretty low prices relatively speaking.
Steve: I also will be watching Western Rise in 2020, but to not be boring, I am going to pick a fabric trend to watch in 2020 — hemp and hemp heavy blends.
Keeping cool this summer with my Outlier Ramielust T-Shirt (our review) turned me to other, non-merino fabrics. While merino will always be king for odor resistance, it does have weakness in that it can be delicate, and that in a t-shirt, it has a soft drape. In my search for other non-merino but still performant fabrics, I came across hemp. While on it’s own, it can be quite rough, it makes for a substantial but comfortable fabric when blended with cotton. So far, I’ve found a button-down (our review), sweatshirt (our review), and t-shirt in 55% hemp/45% cotton blends that work well for me.
I’m hoping to see some more fabric innovations in hemp (and other interesting natural plant fibers) this year.