I’ve seen moleskin blazers often in the past, I never really dug into the fabric. It was originally produced as a sturdy and comfortable fabric for farmers and hunters, and transitioned to military and factory use. I won’t go into the details, you can read more here if you’re curious, but it’s a dense cotton fabric that is shorn and brushed on one side for softness — and it’s the same as corduroy without the wales (the ridges).
When I saw that Outerknown had released a more modern cut shirt in moleskin, the Lost Coast Moleskin Shirt, I had to give it a try.
This moleskin is 100% organic cotton described as “woven tough and brushed for softness. It gets even better as it breaks in over time”.
While I’ve only been wearing it for a bit over a month, I already feel it getting softer without feeling like it’s wearing out or getting thin. The “Curry” color I have is also garment dyed (I assume they all are, but it’s not specified). This will also add to the improvement with age, as the color will likely fade a little at wear points. While they warn about color transfer, I haven’t seen any issues, but something to watch out for in the darker colors (think dark indigo denim).
Fit & Style
Outerknown lists this as their “Relaxed” cut. I stuck with my normal XL (the size I have in their “Classic” cut BBQ Shirt) and it fits well. It has room for layering with a long or short sleeve t-shirt, but if you intend to wear it as an over shirt, you will want to size up.
Even though the cut is “Relaxed”, it is good-looking and modern. It gives you room to move (since there is no stretch to the fabric) while not looking baggy. It is long enough to tuck in, but I wear it untucked with either jeans or other workwear style pants. The natural corozo nut buttons add a little sustainable flair.
It fits and looks great for an all-around weekend shirt — tough enough for the shop but with the good looks for (socially distant and outdoor) drinks with friends. The Curry color is great, with more of a brown tone than yellow.
Outerknown makes a big performance claim with this shirt “Tougher than a flannel…one of the best fabrics you can wear in cold weather.”
While I can’t yet judge if it is tougher than a flannel in practice, it certainly seems so. The density of moleskin fabric does make it a great cold weather shirt, as claimed. I found that it does a great job cutting the wind. For me, it’s comfortable on its own even into the low 50s °F, while also breathing well and still being comfortable inside.
Ben brought up the question of if the areas of wear get shiny like corduroy, it doesn’t seem like they do — I’m guessing because the whole outer face is brushed. This is a tough shirt that will get better over time.
Outerknown did a great job with this modern take on a moleskin shirt. I’ve been wearing it every weekend since it’s been cool enough, and foresee it being a go-to piece throughout the rest of the fall and winter.
Great value at the full price of $98, and a steal on sale. Highly recommended.