When I moved on from Wool&Prince shirting, I was not ready to move on from the performance of a good merino wool button down shirt. But, the trick would be finding one which was durable enough to stand up to washing and wear. My issue with the Wool&Prince shirts was that the fabric broke down quickly and they barely lasted me a year before they looked like trash.
Proper Cloth has been my go to for made-to-measure shirting since they first gave me a review sample. Something tailored to fit you is tremendous. They offer a lineup of merino wool fabrics from Reda, and I bought two to try out in a classic button down style.
They are stellar.
I have a Reda Sky Basketweave, which is 100s 2-ply, and I have a Reda Grey Tonal Plaid, which is 120s 2-ply — both are 100% merino wool. The hand feel on these both is exceptional. They are smooth, not scratchy, and much thinner than the Wool&Prince wool I had been used to.
These wear more like a classic button up shirt, than your classic button down. This is exceptional merino wool fabric, and I have no complaints about either.
Fit & Style
Since these are fully custom shirts, there’s not a lot to dwell with the fit and style. If you are building this shirt, it will be the style you selected, and the perfect fit.
And the thing about a custom shirt: the fit is amazing when it is made for you, and absolutely worth the time and cost.
My only bit of advice is to have someone measure you per the guidance on Proper Cloth’s website, as this is the best path to success for a good fitting shirt out of the gate. Using the smart sizer, or measuring off another shirt is likely to not get you the true ‘made-to-measure’ experience.
If you are building one, my favorite collar is the ‘Soft Ivy Button Down Collar’. Be sure to add allowance in the build for a watch, otherwise the cuff might struggle to get over larger dive style watches.
Alright, I have a bunch of thoughts on the performance of this fabric, but the short version is: excellent all around.
- Breathability: the fabric on these are lighter and more breathable than most of the other merino wool I’ve had. They wear very nicely in the dead heat of a Houston summer.
- Moisture Wicking: when these come out of the wash, they feel barely damp, still wet enough you wouldn’t want to wear them, but they dry very fast. Because of this, they don’t retain smells for very long. However, these are thin, so the shirt will suck up arm pit sweat, and show that rather easily, which is less than ideal at times.
- Wrinkle Resistance: out of the wash, these are not wearable for me as they are full of wrinkles. Three minutes with a steamer and they are good to go. Even when folded and packed for travel, there’s never enough wrinkles that you cannot quickly get them to drop out with minimal effort. Really nice.
- Durability: the reason I moved to these is because I found all other merino shirts to be less than durable. I’ve treated these shirts the same, and had one for 14 months, and the other for 13 months. They both look brand new. That’s machine washing, hang drying, and wearing like any other shirt. I’m impressed.
All in all: the merino wool performance you want, without the durability concerns I’ve seen from other brands.
I rolled the dice on the first one, and bought the second after only a month as I felt confident these shirts would hold up. That they look brand new over a year later is pretty astounding to me.
At $195 they are hard to put head to head with many others priced closer to $130, but that they are also designed and cut exactly how I want them — they are kind of a bargain at that point.