Proof has long offered casual t-shirts made of merino wool, and cotton performance button downs made of cotton and stretch. Here though they marry those two to try and create a button-down travel shirt, I have been testing it for some time and I have fallen in love with it.
Ok, first, I think calling this shirt merino wool is a bit disingenuous, at least for this site, because this shirt is 88% polyester, 12% merino wool. There is just not a lot of wool here. That said, the shirt material is quite nice, as the outside has a very slight brushed finished making the shirt almost feel more like a traditional flannel than a button down.
The weight is nearly perfect for a smart casual level shirt. It’s not thick enough that it will drape like a flannel, nor is it thin enough that it becomes opaque in any light. It’s very well done and the hand feel of the material is amazing.
Fit & Style
This is a shirt that has a very tailored fit, especially through the sleeves where I find that rolling the sleeves can be tight, while the cuffs are loose enough I can wear a watch under them with no issue. The fit is very flattering and right out of the gate, I love it. The collar sits properly, the top button placement is excellent.
What is really going to make or break the this shirt for most is the body length. It is primarily cut to be worn untucked, and that works extremely well in this shirt. But it does have just enough length in it for me that I can tuck it in so I can dress it up a little.
So for travel, tucking it in to go to a nice restaurant, I think this shirt plays that card extremely well. But as a shirt to walk into a business casual setting, I don’t think it works well. The brushing on the face is too soft, and makes it look too casual. This is casual to smart casual all day long. Which for most people should be all you need.
The big question is how does such a low merino wool percentage shirt perform. And the answer is: reasonably well actually. This won’t be the most performant shirt from an odor resistance perspective but 2-3 wears is pretty reasonable. More if you are wearing an anti-perspirant or something of that nature.
The variant I got is an ivory color for the most part, and the dirt will show first on that, well before odor is a factor. To that end, the shirt also has two vents on each armpit to help the shirt breathe a little more, which is a welcomed addition from my view.
What does bode well for travel is that the shirt washes up rather nicely. It dries reasonably fast, and with not a terrible amount of wrinkles, and even the wrinkles it does dry with, tend to be visually hidden by the fabric itself.
All in all the performance of this shirt is better than pure polyester, but not as good as wool. But it should last longer than wool and be more durable.
Given that most of my testing was done in my home for this shirt, I have fallen in love. The cut of it is sharp, and the comfort is off the charts. It feels great to wear, and I find my self reaching for it first, and having to remind myself that I wore it yesterday, and I should wait a day.
Will I travel with it in the future? Yes, but only for leisure travel. It will not however fit into my office rotation, whenever we return to offices.
Great shirt, and I think most people will get more use out of this than a pure merino wool shirt as it lends itself to a more carefree garment care.