Interview with Will Watters, Co-Founder of Western Rise

With reviews slowing a bit since we are not going into the office still, we thought we’d pick some of our favorite brands to interview about how they are doing and what they are looking forward to for 2021. Enjoy our first interview with Will Watters, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Western Rise.

2020 was a wild year for most companies, was there any product in your lineup that started flying out the door once lockdowns started?
I can’t say that one product began flying off of the shelves, but we did see an increase in demand for our pants with our Spectrum Joggers being a top new performer.

Following up on that, was there any product you were surprised did not start flying out the door for lockdown life?
Not surprisingly, our more formal button down options experienced a decline in sales. 

One thing we’ve always appreciated about Western Rise clothing is that it is not just another brand sewing up the same fabric from the same mills. Can you give us some insight into how you develop new fabrics?
Thank you! Our process is a bit different from most brands. We typically start with trying to solve a specific problem. We typically try and find the perfect fabric first as starting from the yarn level can create far longer lead times. We typically scour fabric shows both in the USA and Europe, searching both at performance shows and fashion shows seeking to find fabrics that live between fashion and performance while meeting our needs. If we can’t find a fabric that solves the specific problem we are seeking solve, we typically work with our existing partners and their yarn suppliers to help develop something completely new and different. Right now our fabrics come from our amazing mill partners in the USA, Europe, and Asia and are shipped to our factory partners in those various regions to create the finished garments.

Heading into 2021 and beyond there’s a debate with seemingly equal parts of people on either side. Either you think people will rebel against the loungewear they got used to wearing and start a more formal wardrobe, or the other side being that you think people will not settle for going back to uncomfortable clothing. Where do y’all see this trend going?
I certainly don’t think comfort is going away. I think it has just been added as a new baseline for clothing. Our theory when we started Western Rise was that Performance and Style did not need to be mutually exclusive. We create garments that perform better than your outdoor or athletic clothing, with a sophisticated style that allows for everyday wear. Our belief is that comfort has just been added to that equation. With modern fabrics and construction technologies, clothing must be comfortable, it must perform, and it must be styled to be worn in the broadest wear spectrum possible. It’s time to embrace comfort, but do it in style.

Part of 2021 is that the incoming USA administration is very focused on climate change, and as a Climate Neutral Certified brand, do you see more changes coming to your business and mindsets to point you in different clothing directions?
At Western Rise, we have been mindful of our impact since we began. Climate Neutral really just gave us a tool to measure that impact more effectively. From the yarns we choose to the garments we design, to the location of our mills and our garment factories, we always consider impact. Our supply chain isn’t perfect, and it probably never will be, but Climate Neutral allows us to measure how we are performing, make changes to improve that score, and offset what we are not able to improve with carbon offsets. We hope to see more brands join in that pledge in 2021. 

How do you look at staying on trend, while not creating fast-fashion and waste?
We don’t chase trends. We strive to create clothing that is seasonless and timeless. The world doesn’t need another fashion brand and most certainly doesn’t need more clothing. Our goal is to flip the fashion paradigm. Instead of buying more garments and using them less than ever, filling closets and creating waste, we seek to re-create the timeless, essential garments in every guy’s closet using the world’s best high performance fabrics allowing him to own less, carry less, and experience more.

What are you most excited for in 2021?
Travel. Travel not only broadens our perceptions and view of the world, but it allows us to meet in-person with our suppliers, mills, and garment factories. Creating garments is such a hands-on business and I cannot wait to get back to doing it in-person. Travel also pushes us to consider why each garment exists in our line. The constraints of needing to pack in one small carry-on bag really highlights the most-versatile styles. Each new climate or destination presents a new challenge and really guides our thoughts on what pieces should exist in our line and where opportunities exist.

Last question: all the performance pants out there wear quite slim, but the fashion watchers say pants are going more relaxed — what do you think?
Fit is constantly changing. While I don’t prefer ultra-slim fitting pants, I do prefer creating pants that fit correctly. Maximum Versatility is always our North Star as we design products. Choosing a fit that flatters the body, can be dressed up or down, and allows the body to move will always be the most versatile. I do think the fashion landscape will trend a bit wider than it has in 2021 due to the demand for more comfort. If a brand is not using fabrics with a high stretch content, the only way to maintain comfort is to widen the fit. 

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Interview with Will Watters, Co-Founder of Western Rise

What We’re Wearing — Quarantine Summer into Fall

COVID-19 and the lockdown nature of most major cities and offices have lead to a drastic change and flexibility in all our wardrobes. So, when you only work a couple dozen or so feet from your closet, and no one can smell, oreven see you close up — what do you wear?


WFH Summer-Fall Attire: Since about June my clothing has stabilized to Outlier New Way shorts, and some sort of short sleeve shirt. I basically rotate through my polo shirts, and short sleeve button ups. My go to shirts (or I guess preferred) during lock down are easily the GORUCK American Polo Stealth (only the spearhead version is available at the time of publication). They’re just comfortable, and they have a collar so no one really says anything on calls. Good enough for the video calls, comfortable and easy to maintain.

WFH Early Fall Attire: It is, as I write this, it is just starting to cool off here in Texas, so I have been mixing in some long sleeve button downs. I’ll keep on that track and maybe eventually start wearing pants? If and when I move to pants they’ll certainly be either the Aether or Olivers pants I own — those are both very comfortable. For shirts, I’ll likely get reacquainted with my Wool & Prince button downs, and rejoice in the reduction of laundry.

Thoughts on Attire Heading Back to the Office: A lot of people are predicting the rise of more casual garb when we head back in, not to mention fashion trends were pointing more towards looser fitting clothing before lock down. But, the rise of business casual and then eventually smart casual happened as a way to revolt or stand out from the suit and tie crowds. So if heading back into the office everyone comes in a little more casual looking, then being a little more formal looking with be the revolt dress code.

I read an interesting article about how the loss of suits as a daily uniform has resulted in a rise of wearing suits on the weekends. I could see something like that happening, but I hope not. I’m not a fan of suits. My current plan is just sticking to what I always wore, because I always found it comfortable. My office has always been more casual than not, and firmly in the smart casual arena, with even some wearing t-shirts daily.

If I had to make one prediction, it would be that I think footwear is going to be the biggest change. I mean months and months of not wearing anything more than perhaps slippers, and now you want me to wear wingtips again? I tried on some of my work shoes the other day and I was like “oh boy”. I bet more casual footwear comes out, and I welcome it. Any excuse really to go buy the Red Wing Iron Rangers I have been wanting for years.


WFH Summer Attire: Not doing many video calls for work (don’t get too jealous, I’m still on conference calls much of my day) I really went casual for the warm days of the summer. I usually just threw on whatever shorts and t-shirt I had around. Some favorites were Outlier New Ways, Myles Momentum Short, and Faherty Brand All Day Shorts. I have too many t-shirts to count, but it was always something merino or another odor resistant option, but once I picked up my Jungmaven Baja Tee, it was a go to.

WFH Early Fall Attire: It’s finally starting to get chilly up north, so I’m adding pants and warmer button-ups into my rotation. Mostly my Western Rise Spectrum Jogger and Myles Apparel Momentum Pant. My lighter flannels have started to come out, like the Western Rise TechWool and Patagonia Lightweight Fjord Flannel.

I’m also looking forward to my Taylor Stitch Crater and a new wool overshirt I’m testing. Vests are also always helpful with the Patagonia Better Sweater Vest and Taylor Stitch The Vertical Vest in rotation.

I’m starting to feel bad for my Wool & Prince button-ups hanging in my closet.

Thoughts on Attire Heading Back to the Office: I’m with Ben, except I don’t even anticipate the “more formal looking revolt dress code”. I think jeans are going to become acceptable every day. Just please don’t let pleated pants come back with the trend towards looser fitting clothing.

As far as more casual footwear, I’m all for it. Boots all the way for me, but wear what is comfortable. It’s not worth destroying your feet.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

What We’re Wearing — Quarantine Summer into Fall

GORUCK X-mas in July Sale

GORUCK just launched their X-mas in July Sale with some great deals on their bags and clothing (although it is all final sale). A perennial favorite of ours is the GR1. If you are looking for some durable and performance workout clothing that can do double duty for everyday and travel (our general discussion), Ben loves the Stealth Polo and always travels with the Simple Pants as a backup pair.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

GORUCK X-mas in July Sale

Supporting Our Favorites During The Lockdown

Note: some of the items discussed here were provided for no charge, see the reviews for more details.

We want to start by saying, if you are in an unsure financial position, or there isn’t anything you need, we are not advocating that you go out and spend a bunch of money. However, if you’ve been eyeing something, now’s a good time to save some money and support some small businesses through these tough times. Also, we will keep this post updated as we find new deals or deals expire (Updated 4/16).

Bluffworks is offering 30% off with 10% of sales going to Feeding America (Men’s, Women’s). If you are looking for a new button-up, the Meridian is a good choice (our review) or if you need some more tees before the summer, the Threshold T-Shirt is great (our review).

Huckberry is having a Spring Flash Sale. The Proof Stretch Flannel (our review) is still available at a bargain price of $29. Also notable are the heavy flannel The Crater Shirt from Taylor Stitch, Proof Elements Jacket, and Flint and Tinder Wayfarer Wool Blazer.

Outlier is offering an unprecedented 15% off with code S-O-E, or an extra 15% added to a gift card within 10 days of the state of emergency being lifted in NYC with code Final Sale – No Returns, of course, this makes your purchase non-returnable. For a great intro to Outlier, check out any of their pants or shorts (we love Futureworks, Strong Dungarees, and New Way Shorts) or an Ultrafine Merino Tee (our review).

Taylor Stitch is offering 25% off site wide 20-30% off select products with a $20 credit for orders over $200. Some items of interest include their Chore Pant and Camp Pant in their Boss Duck fabric (hemp-blend heavy work fabric) and The Jack in Dusty Blue Hemp

Expired Deals

Everlane is offering 25% off everything. We are planning to review their Performance Jean and put their anti-microbial claim on their Performance Polo and Performance Dress Shirt to the test.

Olivers Apparel is offering 20% off with code INITTOGETHER. Their Passage Pant (our review) is worth a look as a great work from home option.

Outerknown is offering 30% off sitewide. The Sur Sweatshirt is a great hemp-blend, lighter sweatshirt (our review). We are also currently testing out their Verano Beach Pant and BBQ Shirt.

Western Rise is offering a $50 gift card for each $100 you spend. We’ve reviewed many of their pieces, and you can’t really go wrong. We are really enjoying the Limitless Merino Wool Shirt and Polo (our review) and Diversion Pant (our review) for working from home.

Wool&Prince is offering gift cards at a 10% discount that can be used starting April 15th. If you are looking for pure merino performance, you can’t go wrong with any of their offerings, especially their button-down shirts. Ben loves their socks for work, for whenever we get back to the office.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Supporting Our Favorites During The Lockdown

Winter Shirt Round-up

Note: Some of these shirts were provided free of charge for review; see original review for more details.

Now that winter is getting close to being over, I’ve had a good chance to wear many of my warmer button-ups, including some new ones added this year. So let’s jump into a round up of what I’ve been wearing and some of my favorites.

Wool & Wool Blends

Wool&Prince Button-Down Oxford 210 (our review): This was my first merino button-down and is still a favorite when I want to dress business casual and up. Made from a 2-ply, 17.5 micron, 210 gsm fabric, it has a traditional oxford look. It has a substantial feel, but regulates temperature well since it is 100% merino. While I usually pair it with a pair of Outlier Futureworks (our review)) or Wool&Prince Slim Chinos (newer versions), it looks equally at home with a dark pair of jeans. The burgundy color is amazing.

Patagonia Long-Sleeved Recycled Wool Shirt (our review): This is a great, casual, heavy wool shirt. It keeps you warm, without overheating, but it’s definitely not a shirt for the warmer months (other than maybe as an overshirt). The one caveat here is that the wool is a little scratchy, but I still love the shirt. One benefit is that I always wear this with an undershirt so it can go a long while between washes.

Western Rise TechWool Flannel Shirt (our review): Another great casual shirt, with by far the least amount of wool (only 5%), but it still maintains odor resistance. I’d compare the warmth here to a heavier oxford, but with more breathability.


Taylor Stitch The Crater Shirt in Navy Plaid (Huckberry): This shirt is made from a heavy, 9-oz. 100% organic cotton twill flannel, heavily brushed on both sides. If I had one word to describe this flannel, it’s classic. Taylor Stitch did put their typical extra attention to detail though, with substantial and classy cat eye buttons. Overall this is casual, but with a little up scale look. I think the Navy Plaid is a nice subtle twist on a classic flannel pattern.

Taylor Stitch The Jack in Maroon Brushed Oxford (Huckberry): The fabric here is a 6-oz. 100% organic cotton heavily brushed on both sides. This shirt is a nice cross between a flannel and an oxford, similar to the style of the Western Rise TechWool Flannel. The color here is what drew my eye, but it is also a solid, warmer oxford that works well with chinos or jeans.

Patagonia Long-Sleeved Lightweight Fjord Flannel: I just picked up this shirt in the Patagonia end of season sale, but it’s worth a mention if you are looking for a reliable lightweight flannel or are looking for some unique flannel patterns (you also can’t beat the price). I got the “Unbroken: Piki Green” for something different, and I really like it. The fabric is an unbrushed twill, so it has a nice texture. While Patagonia doesn’t list a weight, it is definitely the lightest of the three cotton shirts.


For business casual wear that can be dressed down, you can’t get any better than the Wool&Prince 210. For casual wear, I have to go with two: Taylor Stitch Crater for the coldest months, and Western Rise TechWool for more versatile wear.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Winter Shirt Round-up

What We Are Looking For in 2020

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.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

What We Are Looking For in 2020

Our Most Worn in 2019

Note: We received some of these items for review purposes. See our original review posts for details.

Looking back at 2019, we tested a ton of new stuff, and settled into some new habits. Here’s our most worn stuff, and some of our favorites from 2019.


Two things happened this year, which really caused a shift in what I wear: I moved from Seattle to Houston, and I started working in an office full time again. This meant both my weekend and weekday outfits had to change.

Weekend and Casual

For the most part I stuck to shorts and a shirt, but the AC is strong here in the summer so pants are sometimes a necessary evil. Here’s where I landed:

  • Olivers Passage Pant (our review): I wore these a ton. They were the only casual looking pant I owned that could remotely handle the hot and humid weather of Houston. I still felt too warm in them though. While I wore them a ton, I can also say that the olive green color I have is not a great color long term for me. Solid pants though, and they show no wear which is a plus.
  • Outlier New Way Shorts (our review): These have long been my go to shorts, and still are. I love them, and wear them basically all the time here in Houston.
  • Wool&Prince 100% Merino Polo (our review): This was my go to, and it was fine. I love the comfort and I feel great wearing it. But I think it looks crappy, and the bottom hem is a nightmare to keep flat after washing it. This needs a replacement.
  • Outlier Ramienorth Pivot (our review): If we were going out to eat, this was the shirt I wanted to be wearing in the evenings. Keeps you cool outside in the sauna, and keeps you from freezing out in the AC. This was a winner for me all year.
  • Western Rise AirLight Short Sleeve (our review): If this shirt was clean, I wore it. Dang, love this shirt. It’s like magic for when it is hot out, and it looks really nice too. I should get a long sleeved one for this summer.

Office Wear

Big changes here. I started the year mostly with my go to Futureworks, and while I still absolutely love these pants, a new player hit my closet that took over the majority of the wear time at the office.

  • Ministry of Supply Kinetic Pant (our review): If I had to pick one item which was the biggest game changer for me, it would be these pants. They look great, breath really well, and stretch like crazy. I wear them all day at work and never am bothered. These are really good office pants. So glad I found these, and I usually have to force myself to grab different pants to change things up, otherwise I would just keep wearing these. And some weeks I only wear these.
  • Outlier Futureworks (our review)): Still a far more versatile and tough pant, and if I weren’t between sizes with these, like they would be just as worn as the Kinetic. The biggest upside is they hide pocket bulges better and repel lint. The downside: the waist isn’t elastic like on the Kinetic.
  • Ministry of Supply Aero Shirt (our review): I don’t think there is a better office shirt to wear. They keep you cool, look sharp, fit well, and have tons of patterns to choose from. And while they don’t travel well, they do everything else fantastically well.
  • Bluffworks Horizon Vest (our review): I love this vest, and wore it everyday the weather allowed me to. I even took it with me to Washington State so that I could stay warm. This is a great, versatile, piece that I will likely be wearing for a long time to come.

Workout and Miscellany

A few odds and ends to wrap up 2019:

  • ExOfficio Give-n-Go Boxers: I know not everyone loves these, but I do. Still the only underwear that I wear.
  • GORUCK Simple Pants: I wear these to work out, and to wash cars in. They are light, so they keep me cool, but protect my legs from mosquitoes. Importantly they also dry really fast. I am always impressed with these.
  • YAthletics SilverAir Merino Shirt (our review): This is my go to for working out, and they prove themselves over and over again. Great shirts.


With no big moves for me, some things solidified in my wardrobe as well as a few new favorites.

Weekend and Casual

This year, I dressed up my casual wear a bit, so there are some new and old favorites here.

Outlier New Way Longs (our review): These are still the king of shorts. They may seem pricey for shorts, but they are worth it. They look sharp with a button-down or polo, don’t look out of place with a tee, and perform no matter what you are doing while wearing them.
Western Rise Evolution Pant (our review): These are a 5-pocket cut that can be dressed up if needed. They are lightweight, fast drying, and comfortable. Favored over my Outlier Slim Dungarees.
Bluffworks Threshold T-Shirt (our review): Bluffworks hit a sweet spot here, finding a synthetic blend that looks normal, performs well, and has almost merino-like odor resistance.
Outlier Ramielust T-Shirt (our review): Nothing beats ramie on a hot and humid summer day. Hard to even describe how good this is.
Taylor Stitch The California in Olive Hemp Poplin: This hemp-cotton blend from Taylor Stitch has been working really well for me. I’ve found that hemp blend fabrics to have a great casual look while having some good moisture management and odor resistance.
Western Rise TechWool Flannel Shirt (our review): This has been my favorite for cooler weather. It’s not too heavy, is cut well, and is odor resistant.
The North Face Ventrix Jacket (our review): This active insulation jacket is perfect for many temperatures and became my main jacket this year.

Office Wear

After testing a bunch of polos for my guide, I finally had some polos in my wardrobe that I could depend on.

Bluffworks Piton Polo (our review): This became the polo I grab first, as it is light enough to keep me cool, wicks very well, and resists wrinkles. The only caveat is that it needs a rinse to be able to get more than one wear out of it when traveling.
Wool&Prince Button-Downs (our review): These button-downs are still my favorite for everyday and travel wear. I have them in both the 130 and 210gsm fabric — this allows me to wear them no matter what the weather. Being 100% merino, their odor resistance is superb, and if they get wrinkled, they look sharp again with just a little steam.
Outlier Futureworks (our review)): Another long-time favorite. They fit me well and are versatile in the office environment, looking sharp dressed up or down. No issues with durability, and they still look great after a few years.
Western Rise AirLoft Quilted Jacket (our review): Great technical insulation and fabric package in a classic silhouette. Works really well for me when I want a jacket that looks nice.

Workout and Miscellany

YAthletics SilverAir Merino Shirt (our review): These are still the best workout shirts that I’ve found and are proving themselves every day for me.
Patagonia Essential Boxer Briefs: Grabbed a pair of these on sale from REI and they have become my favorite. Soft lyocell material that holds up and doesn’t get stretched out over time. I haven’t bought more because I still have pairs from numerous other brands, but as I need to replace, I plan to get more of these.
Darn Tough Socks: Haven’t tried a lot of other brands because these work, have them for workout, dress, and hiking socks.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Our Most Worn in 2019

Everyday Wear 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Rather than overwhelm you with a huge gift guide list, we wanted to keep it simple and recommend a few great items to keep you or your loved ones looking great this winter.


As far as pants go, we have a long time favorite and a recent pick to highlight here. If you just want to own two pairs of pants, the Outlier Futureworks (our review) and the Ministry of Supply Kinetic Pant (our review) are the two that could cover almost every activity in your life. We’d go with lighter casual Futureworks and dark business oriented Kinetics for a perfect two pant setup.


For a button-down, we typically think of two scenarios — travel and normal wear.

For travel, nothing beats a merino button-down for odor resistance and ability to get multiple wears. For that, we’ve typically gone for a Wool&Prince Button Down (our review) but have recently come across the Unbound Merino Classic Button-Down (our review), which has become Ben’s favorite travel shirt.

If you’re willing to give up the odor resistance of merino, whether for travel or everyday, we love the Bluffworks Meridian Dress Shirt 2.0 (our review). Or, for something with a more classic look, the Ministry of Supply Aero Dress Shirt (our review) is also great.


Western Rise hit it out of the park with their AirLoft Quilted Jacket (our review). If you’re looking for a versatile technical jacket that has the style to look great in the office, look no further than this jacket.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Everyday Wear 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Choosing Cotton vs. Synthetic

Recently, I’ve been trying out a few button-ups (and a polo) that are either all, or majority cotton. This has shifted my thinking some when choosing a shirt to wear.

Previously, all of my button-ups were either merino or 100% synthetic. Of course, I am able to get multiple wears out of the merino shirts, but the synthetic shirts either need a rinse or wash after each wear.

The synthetic shirts come out of my bag ready to wear, the merino sometimes need a steam in the bathroom. And when it comes time for a wash, the synthetic shirts are ready to go after hanging dry, while the merino shirts need a steam.

Now that I have some mostly cotton shirts in my wardrobe, I see some areas where they fit in. I’m specifically talking about a few from Taylor Stitch (The Short Sleeve Bandit in Heather Grey, our review and The California in Olive Hemp Poplin) and the Mack Weldon 37.5 Oxford. On the polo side, I’m talking about the Mack Weldon SILVERKNIT Polo (our review).

Being someone who often wears an undershirt under my button-ups, I’m able to get two wears out of each of these shirts. In the case of the Hemp Poplin fabric from
Taylor Stitch I’ve gotten two days of wear out of it even without an undershirt.

I find myself favoring these mostly cotton shirts in a few situations:

  1. When I need a casual shirt, these, specifically the Taylor Stitch shirts are perfect. They look normal, have great drape, and the small amount of linen or hemp blended in give them a little edge on performance.
  2. On my travel days, I tend to go for something a little more durable than a merino shirt. Synthetic was previously my go-to, but I found they could start to smell by the end of a long day of travel.
  3. When I want a shirt that just looks absolutely normal and simple, the heavy cotton of the Mack Weldon shirt gives that classic Oxford look and drape and the polo looks just like your standard pique polo.

While the Mack Weldon shirts do have some extra tech to up their performance to some extent, the Taylor Stitch shirts just rely on a small portion of other natural fibers to make them something special.

Wearing these shirts for a few months has made me more likely to give mostly cotton shirts a chance. There are many cases where cotton will suffice, or even be a better choice. If you’re looking for a shirt to wear once or twice before washing, and don’t mind ironing or steaming, merino might not be worth the extra expense and synthetic might not be the best for keeping fresh all day. For me, cotton blends come out on the top in these cases and if I’m going to spend a lot of time out in the heat, a blend with hemp or linen is my choice.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Choosing Cotton vs. Synthetic

Travel Clothing is a Ridiculous Trap

One of the reasons this site came to be, is because both Steve and I found ourselves traveling a lot for both work and leisure. And when you start traveling a lot, you start to look at how you can pack fewer items — this seems almost universal, as humans are generally uncomfortable out of their normal habitats and thus you really want to know you have the right clothing. Which means you inevitably google something like “best travel clothes for X”. And you get back a big mix of some really weird clothing.

The truth is, most travel clothing is some Frankenstein mix of stereotypical retiree clothing and hiking clothing. This type of clothing is marked by:

  • Zip-off anything
  • A lot of pockets, with some very dedicated pockets
  • Zippers, like a lot of zippers
  • Polyester or nylon

Some, but not all, of the above describes even some of the clothing we talk about here on this site, but if you look closely the clothing we really like is that which most people can’t even tell is anything out of the ordinary. But what’s really odd is that anyone who has spent time traveling knows exactly the clothing I am talking about.

There’s always a bunch of people wearing zip-off pants, button down shirts treated with bug repellant and with mesh venting. Pockets galore and more. People really seem to buy into these travel clothing traps, and I cannot understand why.

These clothes look terrible. And they also generally perform terribly too. In most cases you would be better off with blue jeans and a pair of swim trunks than you would with any zip off pants. There’s a few reasons why:

  1. You have to wash most of those travel pants more than blue jeans.
  2. You can’t swim in zip-off pants.
  3. You’ll never use all the pockets.
  4. Cotton will hold bug spray just as well as that bug treatment on your clothes.
  5. You look like a target because you are specifically wearing travel clothing when you are traveling. So it’s not hard to target you.

But more than anything else, if these clothes are so good and so versatile: then why don’t people wear them everyday? Why only relegate them to travel?

It’s because you don’t want people you know to see you wearing this stuff unless you have a specific reason to wear them. Because they look terrible.

That’s why you read both Steve and I praising Outlier’s Futureworks (our review). These are nylon pants with a gusset crotch, stretch, and are highly breathable while also resisting some light rain. And yet you can’t tell it’s a technical pant. They drape well, make no noise and only have a zipper on the fly. They are stealth and superior to all other business casual/chino like pants I have tried to date.

They also aren’t marketed for travel, and that makes them hard for a lot of people to find.

My goal when I started down the rabbit hole of finding better clothing was to merge the two aspects of my life. What I wear everyday should be what I wear when I travel. It should perform to really high standards, because that’s just convenient for me and comfortable as well.

I don’t wear this clothing because I travel a lot any more. I don’t wear it because I write here at this site. I wear it because it’s more comfortable than any other option, while looking just as good.

So don’t fall into the travel clothing trap, and avoid anything with zip-off extremities.

NOTE: where possible all product links on this site may earn the site money when you buy using those links.

Travel Clothing is a Ridiculous Trap