Ben’s Packing List: February 1st 2017

Trip Details: 3 days, 2 nights, traveling across the country for business. This trip required the packing of a suit and flights with a tight connection on each way of the trip.

Packing List

I tried to pack lighter than normal for this trip as I wanted to fit it all in a GR1, and it turns out packing a suit in a GR1 takes up most of the space in the GR1.

I wore:

Notes & Considerations

This loadout, while relatively few in items, took up the entire bag and then some. I wanted to travel with nothing larger because of how tight the connections were (and since one leg was a regional carrier, I knew space would be limited). Ultimately it worked, but I took too many extraneous things.

My normal toiletries kit is in a GR1 Field Pocket, so using the Echo reduced the size by about 50%. What’s interesting is that I still had things in the bag which I didn’t need. This clearly means I need to rethink my entire toiletries setup, and it’s likely I will use the Echo Field Pocket going forward.

I simply had way too many items in the Context Organizer and will have to completely re-think that kit. For the first time I was stopped by TSA for the brass flashlight I had — they simply wanted to see what it was and let me be on my way. Still, I might rethink that as it is heavy and if it will get me stopped, it’s not worth it. I should note that I’ve taken it on seven other trips without issue.

Lastly, packing a suit is a real pain. I used the Brooks Brothers method for folding it and used the large packing cube to better protect it. When I got there the jacket was nearly perfect and after a day of hanging had no issues. The pants needed some light touch up with an iron in the hotel, as they had some odd rumpled bits.

My final note, traveling with the Ascedant Hoodie was amazing. I knew I needed it for the colder weather I was headed to, and it performed well there. But I also wore it while in the plane and stayed incredibly comfortable while keeping the air blowing on me. I might consider bringing it on more trips — however it didn’t pack down very small when I wanted it in the bag. Perhaps a light weight, compressible down jacket is in order next.

Overall, I nailed the amount of clothes needed, but packed much too heavy on the electronics gear.

Ben’s Packing List: February 1st 2017

Aerogel Insulation

We’ve recently noticed a new type of insulation showing up in outerwear. Many sites promote it as “NASA-inspired”, and they are not wrong. What we’re talking about here is aerogel, a very high tech and unique insulating material that found its original applications from NASA.

How does insulation work?

Outwear keeps you warm in three ways: conduction, radiation, and convection. Conduction occurs when objects are in contact (heat always moves from warm to cool), radiation is the transfer of heat as electromagnetic radiation (the body radiates mainly in the infrared region), and convection is the transfer of heat through fluid motion (air is a fluid, so wind causes convective heat loss).
Insulation helps slow conduction by trapping air, which has a low thermal conductivity.

Two common measurements of insulation value in outerwear include the insulation weight (in grams) and fill power. Weight is just what you’d expect — the weight of one square meter of insulation. Typically, warmer insulation is heavier. Fill power is the volume one ounce of insulation fills (higher fill is warmer because it traps more air).

What is aerogel?

Imagine a gel (gels are mostly liquid with a 3D solid network to hold them together) where the liquid is replaced with air — that’s aerogel (>98% air). Due to the size of the pores that contain the air, the thermal conductivity of an aerogel is far lower than insulation filled with air. Due to this extremely low thermal conductivity, aerogel insulation can retain its insulation ability even when compressed. This is due to the fact that while you can compress the air out of fibers embedded with aerogel (or in the case of an aerogel sheet, there isn’t much air to compress out), the aerogel itself is not compressed and still provides significant insulation.

The biggest issue with aerogel when it was first developed was that it is rigid and easily breaks into a powder. Since then various advances have given it some flexibility.

OROS

While it appears that other companies have made jackets from aerogel, OROS Apparel seems to have the oldest jacket still on the market. They developed what they call SolarCore, which is an aerogel in a polymer sheet. SolarCore is breathable and water-resistant, retains its insulation under compression (something many insulations can’t do), and is very thin and light. Their warmest jacket, the Orion Parka, claims to have been tested in stormy and below zero conditions — I’d say that’s a warm jacket!

PrimaLoft Cross Core and L.L.Bean

Just recently, L.L.Bean announced an outerwear exclusive with PrimaLoft for their new Cross Core technology. PrimaLoft has developed a way to fuse aerogel particles into their PrimaLoft Gold insulation fibers (here’s the patent if you’re curious) — this is called “PrimaLoft Gold Insulation with Cross Core”. Right now you can find this insulation in the L.L.Bean Packaway Jackets and the new line of Ultralight Sleeping Bags (35 °F semi-rectangular, 20 °F rectangular, 20 °F mummy, 0 °F mummy). The ability to retain insulation when compressed is a big plus for a sleeping bag, and not even the current standard, down, can claim this. Also, they seem to be at least half the weight of a comparable down bag (but they compress to a similar size).

Outdoor Research

Outdoor Research has also announced gloves utilizing a PrimaLoft aerogel technology (called “PrimaLoft Gold Aerogel”) for Fall 2018. We haven’t been able to find much information on these gloves, but they will most likely be unique in their thickness to warmth ratio. Also, from what we can find, it looks like this is a different technology in which the aerogel is encapsulated in a sheet that is not very breathable.

The Future?

We are excited to see how PrimaLoft builds on this technology as well as how our favorite outdoor brands utilize these two different types of aerogel insulation for the apparel industry.

Aerogel Insulation

Outlier Pants: Overview

When I talk about Outlier pants with people who are not familiar with the brand, I do so by taking great pains to call them “technical versions of normal pants”, instead of trying to call them cycling pants, or travel pants — because for many people they’ll be more stylish than the pants they currently wear and those terms don’t do them justice. Outlier pants will also be more comfortable, durable, and versatile than almost any other pants.

So when it comes to Outlier, I’ve not found anyone making better pants. With that in mind, here are my thoughts on the pants they sell, where they fit in, and my advice on each of them.

Slim Dungarees

This isn’t Outlier’s first/original pant, but it is what they consider their ‘core’ pant (I own two pairs). What’s hard to get over with these pants is just how poorly named they are, and that name really frustrates a lot of people. Initially, I didn’t buy them, because I’m not a skin tight pants type of guy, and thus I was worried these would be far too slim. However, these pants are a fairly standard tailored cut.

At the same time, I’ve seen a few people talk about how unhappy they are that these pants are not slimmer. So the name is working against Outlier on both sides. (Then there’s Steve, who will point out that they were far too slim in the thighs for him.)

Overall, these are my favorite Outlier pants, as they are incredibly versatile and comfortable. They don’t have a magical amount of stretch, but they have enough stretch and are designed well enough that I never find discomfort. They are the very core of the Outlier pants, because they are the best to start with and by far the best all around option.

I wouldn’t hesitate to do anything in these pants, and yet they look like a nice pair of jeans. I started this guide with these pants for a reason, because everything else on this list is somehow less versatile than the Slim Dungarees. However, as comfortable as these pants are, they have nothing on some of the other options. I wear these about 80% of the time.

Find them here.

Futureworks

For the Futureworks, Outlier made a pair of chinos with F.Cloth — a very stretchy and lightweight material. These pants are going to feel thin when you put them on, and yet they drape well enough that I’ve never had anyone point them out as being out of place in an office setting. They look like chinos, but can be comfortably warn in very warm climates. I’ve worn them in 90 °F+ humid weather in Houston and been fine.

They are very comfortable and almost like a cheat code. For over six months they were my go to, daily wear pants. However, they look like chinos and this might make them too dressy for many people. They also don’t handle colder weather well without a layer under them. I’d say you want to stay about 50 °F to not be chilled wearing them. That said, if you need a pair of pants from Outlier to wear in a more traditional office setting which are still insanely technical and awesome: these are the pants you get. (And they are more roomy in the thighs, but still slim enough for them to fit and look tailored for Steve.)

Find them here.

Strongworks

Strongworks are not a variant of Futureworks, as the cut is different yet they look similar. They are made from Outlier’s Strongtwill, which is heavy and very durable. If you wanted a pair of pants that don’t look like jeans for the cooler months, these are them.

I wore a pair for an entire winter and while I liked them, I eventually came to dislike the cut of the pant. It’s an acquired taste and thus you should pay close attention to Outlier’s dimensions and press images on this pair of pants.

Not currently for sale.

Strong Dungarees

This is Outlier’s take of a heavier pair of 5-pocket jeans. They are similar, but not the same cut, as Slim Dungarees — they are generally a little bigger. (Steve finds they fit him in the thighs well, unlike the Slim Dungarees. If anything, they fit even larger in the thighs than the Futureworks.) They utilize the same Strongtwill as the Strongworks, and are thus just as durable.

They are also very comfortable to wear, and as long as the temp is below 50 °F, they are among the better pants to wear from Outlier. They also look closer to a non-synthetic material than even the Slim Dungarees (they look the least technical of all the Outlier pants). What they lack in stretch, they make up for with signature Outlier treatments like a gusseted crotch and more.

Find them here.

OG Climbers

These are made from Outlier’s OG Cloth, and this is the stretchiest, most insane fabric you can get. They are styled very casually, fit and wear casually, and I describe them like wearing loose fitting yoga pants — you won’t want to take them off. OK, I’ve never worn yoga pants, but this is what I imagine wearing yoga pants is like.

If you want something for outdoors wear, you could do a lot worse than these — as they were made for actually climbing in. I personally find my pair much to casual to wear out of the house unless I am hiking in them, but I do wear them everyday when I am lounging around. They are the most comfortable pair of pants I’ve ever owned — including warm ups and sweat pants. If you live a casual life, start here.

Find them here.

OG Classics

I’ve not owned these pants, but they are the same material as the Climbers, with a more formal and dressy look. They are also Outlier’s first pant. I’ve long wanted a pair, but my experience with the OG cloth leads me to believe that they wouldn’t find much use, as the OG material does not look or drape correctly enough to get away with wearing these in more formal settings. Perhaps there’s a difference here, but I am skeptical. (Steve ordered these and found the fabric too shiny and the drape off so he sent them right back.)

If you have an office that is borderline business causal, you could wear these all day and look sharp. Any more formal than that, and I think you would be pushing it. However, if you work in a restaurant, these might be the game changer for you if Reddit posts are to be believed (then again, the price will really hurt).

Find them here.

60/30 Chinos

The 60/30 Chinos (a cotton/nylon/spandex blend) are a great pair of pants if you don’t think you can pull off technical pants (even if they don’t look technical). They move, they are durable, and are treated with DWR for a little extra water resistance, but they are still mostly cotton. And while these NYCO blends can be quite good, they won’t perform nearly as well as most of the other pants on this list. They will, however, blend right in with every other pair of chinos. For the price, I’d rather have any other pair of pants on this list.

Find them here.

New Way Shorts (Long and Regular)

While these aren’t pants, they do deserve an honorable mention for quite possibly being the most versatile shorts money can buy. Made from Outlier’s F.Cloth (same as Futureworks) they are breathable, durable, look sharp, and dry quick enough that you can swim in them. Yes, they’ll dry slower than purpose built swim trunks, but the mesh drains in the bottom of the pockets will allow you to swim without issue.

These are my go to shorts, the only ones I own, and I’d highly recommend them. They come in a long variant as well, for those who prefer more length in their shorts. (Steve also recommends these shorts.)

Find them here.

Others

Outlier makes a ton of other pants, from joggers to merino wool “backed” pants made for colder climates. While there are far too many options to dive into, I will point out that they tend to use a core set of fabrics, so it pays to look at what the above pants use for fabric to help guide you on some of their infrequent offerings.

For instance if you want Futureworks, but a trimmer style, look out for Futuretapers. Outlier seems to come out with a couple new runs of pants every month, so keep an eye out.

Outlier Pants: Overview

Workout Shirt Odor Resistance Comparison

If you’ve been around the performance clothing world, you should be well versed in the odor resistant properties of merino wool. While many tout the “magical” properties, we have not seen many head-to-head tests of merino vs. other fabrics for odor resistance.

The Test

I picked out three of my workout tees for this test — standard 100% polyester (Nike Dri-FIT), Olivers Convoy Tee (100% merino, our review), and Pistol Lake Minimalist Performance Tee (Lightweight Eudae, our review). I wore each shirt for my standard workouts (kettlebell or rowing), hanging to dry overnight, until each started to smell. The tests were repeated two times each.

100% Polyester

This shirt smelled after just one workout. The smell was bad enough that even if I were in the woods, I wouldn’t have wanted to give it a second wear. When dry, especially in winter, polyester gets terrible static cling. When wet or sweaty, polyester clings to your body in the worst way possible.

Eudae

Eudae is a 76% polyester, 19% Tencel, and 5% spandex blend. I was able to get a respectable four workouts out of this shirt. If I were hiking I could have probably pushed it another day or two. Eudae is my favorite lightweight material — it is amazingly soft and comfortable, with just the right amount of stretch to get out of your way at the gym. It looks and drapes just like cotton, and does a great job wicking sweat without getting that damp clingy feeling.

Merino

100% merino turned out to be the champ. I was able to get eight-plus workouts out of this shirt. And really, when I decided to wash, it was because it was getting a little dirty looking. Merino is on par with Eudae on sweat wicking, however is not as good looking or comfortable. In the looks department, merino tends to have a slight shine and doesn’t quite drape like cotton (it almost has a “heavy” look). As for comfort, 100% merino has a decent amount of stretch for exercise, but it can sometimes be slightly scratchy when compared to other materials (this depends on the grade of merino).

Conclusion

If you want the best odor resistance, nothing beats 100% merino. If durability is important, you can find merino/nylon blends, but expect the odor resistance to decrease with increasing nylon content. For comfort and looks with respectable odor resistance, go with the Eudae. And the polyester — just forget it.

These performance tees can also become part of your regular wardrobe. With the extended wear you can get from them, it becomes easy to justify the higher prices (all while slimming down your wardrobe).

Workout Shirt Odor Resistance Comparison

Fabric Care

Part of owning great clothes is learning how to take care of them. Of course, we always recommend following the manufacture washing directions, but here are a few tips we’ve learned along the way.

General Tips

Hand washing is always more gentle than a machine. When machine washing delicate fabric (such as merino), a laundry bag is always a good idea. Front loaders are more gentle than top loaders, and a gentle/delicate cycle with cold water is also a good idea for delicate fabric. We love Kookaburra Wash or Eucalan for washing, especially merino wool. If hand washing, these detergents have the added benefit of not needing a rinse.

Since much of the clothing we talk about is made from performance fibers (synthetics and merino), the dryer is usually not necessary (and just adds unnecessary wear). If your clothing gets wrinkly (and the care instructions allow), a steamer is more gentle than an iron.

Merino Tips

Always wash with cold water and a detergent containing lanolin (oil that is naturally in wool) and never machine dry. Usually hanging or laying flat to dry takes care of any wrinkles. If you are hand washing, roll in a towel before hanging rather than wringing to avoid stressing the fabric.

Synthetic Tips

Follow the washing directions (but it never hurts to wash cold and skip the dryer) and be careful of hot surfaces (such as irons and camp fires), as synthetic materials will melt.

Fabric Care

What is Merino?

Merino wool comes from the Merino sheep which produce a wool which is durable and soft. Typically these sheep are from New Zealand, however there are more and more of these farms springing up around the globe. Typically, these sheep graze in the low lying valleys of mountains, as well as climb the mountains, and thus the wool they grow must be able to help them survive those vastly different climates.

To many, merino wool is a bit of a super fabric.

The Benefits

The benefits of merino wool are huge, and hard to believe when you first read about them. The first is thermal regulation, which is a fancy way of saying that it will keep you warm when it’s cold, and cool when it is warm. The second is anti-odor: it naturally resists odor. The last is water repellence: it has natural ability to repel water (due to the natural oils in the fibers), as a lightly coated DWR garment might, and thus helps with stain resistance.

Thermal Regulation

Thermal regulation is a massive factor of comfort throughout the day — it’s why people often buy specific clothing for the gym, because that clothing is better at thermal regulation than their cotton t-shirts.

Merino is awesome at keeping your body comfortable in two ways. Moisture wicking — as you sweat, the merino will absorb that sweat, pulling it away from your body and towards the fabric’s surface where it will dry quickly. Insulation — merino can help your body regulate temperature because the natural shape of the fiber allows it to trap a lot of air. This makes it act as an insulating layer, just like the fiberglass insulation in your house. This insulating effect helps keep you warm in the cold and cool in the heat.

Anti-Odor

Lastly, merino wool is anti-odor, and we specifically use anti-odor instead of the more common ”anti-bacterial” or “anti-microbial” because those are both technically questionable. The gist of it is this: merino wool tends to not trap odors for a variety of reasons, the most accepted that the absorptive power of the fiber traps moisture, giving no place for odor causing bacteria to grow. That means: body odor, and external odors. Because of this, people often are able to wear their merino clothing many times before it needs to be washed.

The Wool Misconception

You already know what wool is, so when people tell you to wear merino wool underwear or t-shirts, you think they are crazy because wool is itchy. And you are right, wool is itchy. But merino wool is not itchy. It’s best to not think of merino as wool, and instead just as merino.

There are some people who do find merino to be itchy, while many will say it’s an allergy, in many cases it’s just sensitive skin. Additionally, not all merino is equal, as the larger diameter fibers, and thus cheaper, merino is much more scratchy feeling on your skin. But in general ultra fine and fine merino wool is as soft as cotton to most people.

The Downsides

Aside from those who are sensitive, there are a few downsides to merino wool.
The first downside is durability. Merino wool is not inherently fragile in clothing, but it also can be prone to pilling (those little balls of fabric you get on sweaters) in areas of abrasion as well as snags. So while it generally holds up as well as soft cotton, there is some risk with it. In some items, the merino is blended with synthetic fibers (such as nylon) to provide some extra strength and durability to the fabric (however, this can interfere with some of the odor resistance).

The next downside is care. The best way to care for merino is to not hang it, and to wash it in a delicate washer (or hand wash), with special soap, and air drying. This can be a deal breaker for some, but also is quickly something you get used to.

The biggest downside of merino is the price. There’s not a lot of merino wool out there, and thus it’s an expensive material to work with. Rarely will you see a merino t-shirt dip below the $60 per item mark. Even though it will last (and you will need far fewer garments), it’s a high barrier to entry.

Our Thoughts

While many people debate about the odor resistance, we’ve found that allowing the merino to air out between wears typically will wipe away any smells in just a few hours.

Merino is well worth the high cost of entry, and will likely cause you to drastically pare down your wardrobe as merino clothing can be worn many times in one week without looking or smelling dirty.

Where we like it

The absolute best starting point for merino is socks. They are simple, less expensive than other garments, and very effective tools for showing just how amazing merino is. Our feet sweat throughout the day, but with merino wool they will stay comfortable. Often you can wear the same pair of socks all week, and never detect a smell from them — even after hard workouts. So if you are new to merino and need to test the water, get a pair of socks.

Beyond that, the only garments made of merino we have yet to find in a piece we love is in pants. Otherwise underwear, dress shirts, t-shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, and everything else is pretty great in merino.

What is Merino?

What are Synthetics?

You will find that most athletic and outdoors clothing is made with synthetic materials for their improved properties over traditional natural fibers such as cotton.

There are may types of synthetic and artificial fibers including rayon, spandex, lyocell, modal, nylon, and polyester. Most of what you will find in the clothing we talk about is nylon and polyester (and some of the more unusual, naturally derived artificial fibers). Nylon and polyester are made from petrochemicals, while the artificial fibers come from cellulose derived from plants. These fibers are formed by extruding liquid polymers into air or water.

A lot of the properties of synthetic fabrics not only come from the fiber itself, but also the weave/knit of the fabric (think fleece vs. a wicking workout shirt, both are made from polyester). In many cases, synthetics can also be blended with natural fibers (like nylon core merino wool).

Nylon vs. Polyester

Nylon is a stronger fiber than polyester, making it a great candidate for bags and blending with other fibers for strength.

Polyester has the upper hand in moisture control. While both fibers are hydrophobic (they repel water), nylon absorbs more water than polyester, resulting in a fabric that can be heavier when wet and take longer to dry.

Artificial Fibers

The naturally derived artificial fibers, such as lyocell and modal, (remember these are plant cellulose, but are still manmade) have many of the same properties as natural cellulose fibers (cotton), but have some advantages such as softness or wrinkle resistance.

The Benefits

There are many benefits synthetic fibers can impart on clothing including durability, stretch, wrinkle resistance, moisture wicking, water resistance, wind resistance, and stain resistance. These properties make the fabric popular for harder use garments (like outdoors clothing and activewear). Over time, these fabrics have started to make it into dress and casual clothing for the same reasons. They can even make your blazer more comfortable, durable, and have the ability to go in the wash.

The Downsides

Synthetic fabrics tend to smell more quickly and retain smells longer than some natural fibers (in fact, it has been shown that some bacteria that produce odors love to live on polyester).

Synthetics also can be more staticky than natural fibers, and they also melt when exposed to heat/flame (or an iron).

Our Thoughts

Synthetics certainly can mimic some of the performance characteristics of our favorite natural fiber, merino, but also can impart some downsides. Mainly, synthetics are used when durability or cost are top considerations.

Where We Like It

We like synthetic fabrics for their stretch and durability, especially in garments like pants, shorts, and outerwear. They can also be great blended with fibers such as merino, with the resulting fabric having unique properties such as stretch or more durability. One great example is NYCO, a nylon/cotton blend. Some others include merino with a nylon core and merino blended with lyocell. These fabrics all retain some of the good properties of their natural fiber component while improving performance with the synthetic fiber.

What are Synthetics?

What is NYCO?

A increasingly popular choice for clothing fabrics among outdoor/tactical focused brands like Prometheus Design Werx and Triple Aught Design is a fabric called NYCO — which is a nylon/cotton blend. Outlier also uses this fabric in select items. The exact blend varies between companies with some in a 40% nylon, to others closer to an even 50-50 split.

This is quite a interesting fabric for items which straddle the line between performance and traditionally garments.

The Benefit

The key benefit to adding nylon to cotton, is strength. Where cotton can be a relatively weak and wear prone garment, nylon tends not to be. On the flip side, a 100% nylon garment is often not comfortable, and not desirable looking. A NYCO blend gives you the best of both worlds: look and feel of cotton, durability and strength of nylon.

One thing to also note, most garments of this nature are coated with a “DWR” coating, which is a durable water repellant. This simply makes water bead and roll of the garment, but does not waterproof it. It will wear off over time, but while it’s there the largest benefit is that it will help repel stains nicely.

The Downside

The downside here is that you are not gaining many of the typical “performance” elements we come to expect for better engineered clothing. There’s no stretch, or temperature regulation gained. It drys slowly as well, and absorbs orders like any other cotton good.

Our Thoughts

There can be some really good applications of NYCO. Especially for people working, or living, in situations where they tend to have weaker cotton or wool goods wear out quickly for them, NYCO can be a great alternative. Some of the harder wear applications being done are perfect uses for NYCO, and it is especially good to boost something which you want to look traditional.

While we wish there were more performance gains to be hard, it is a very good option for select goods.

Where We Like It

There’s two really nice applications of this: Outlier’s NYCO Oxford, and Triple Aught Design’s Rogue RS jacket. The oxford looks like a typical oxford button down, but with the addition of nylon, it should last for a very long time and be incredibly durable when compared to all cotton alternatives.

The Rogue, is another great application where you get a traditional looking light jacket, with a lot more performance. You can beat on a jacket like this without worry it is going fray and get worn holes in it quickly. Exactly the type of application NYCO excels in.

Where it is harder to make the case for this fabric is in pants. While the brands listed above have experimented with them in pants, you need to look for added stretch to get a better pant out of NYCO. Some brands, including Outlier, do just this, but you are still getting a pant that will not perform as well as some other fabric choices.

What is NYCO?

Wardrobe Simplification

I’ve managed to pare my wardrobe down quite a bit by using two questions: do I want to keep this; will I actually ever enjoy wearing this? Amazingly, I got rid of the vast majority of clothes I own just by asking myself those two questions. My initial pass through my clothes was simply asking myself: do I own a better version of this / would I like to own a better version of this? If I owned something better, I gave away the other, and if I wanted something better, I put that back on the shelf as a possible reward to myself for getting my clothing under control.

With fewer items, I’ve found that I have settled into a pretty consistent routine with what I wear. But more than that, there’s a lot less stress around my clothing. I am always wearing stuff I like, and stuff I want to wear. Here’s the routine I’ve fallen into.

Standard Work Clothing

I didn’t think I had a set wardrobe I put on for the average day, but then I realized that I most certainly do.

If all I have on the schedule for the day is working (I work at home) my dress is typically:

I’ve found this to be an exceedingly comfortable set of clothes. And without even realizing it, it’s what I pick more often than not. It also works well if I want to dash out of the house to grab some food or get the kids from the bus. Overall, this is the core of what I wear everyday.

Standard Day Clothing (Out of House)

As with the last, this seemed to work itself out without much conscious thought.

  • Outlier Futureworks (sandstorm, which is basically khaki), or Slim Dungarees
  • Outlier Ultrafine Tee or Wool & Prince button down shirt (temperature dependent)
  • Outlier Socks
  • Allbirds Runners
  • I might add layers on this if the weather is cooler, from sweaters or jackets

I wear the Futureworks when it’s warmer than 70° and switch over to Slim Dungarees as the weather cools, but otherwise I’ve been pretty happy with this setup. It’s comfortable, presentable, and did I mention comfortable? With really cool weather, I’ll wear my Strong Dungarees. Though my tops stay the same, I add layers to stay warm.

Standard Evening Clothing (Out of House)

Typically, I want my evening clothing to be a little nicer, because if I am out in the evenings it means I am kid free for a change. So here’s what I’ve standardized on:

  • Outlier Slim Dungarees (either Dark Indigo, or Charcoal)
  • Wool & Prince Button Down or like dress shirt
  • Darn Tough Socks
  • Clarks Desert Boots
  • Blazer/Sportcoat (Currently either the Bluffworks Grammercy or the Taylor Stitch Telegraph)

This should last me well into the cool season, with the addition of a jacket. I like how the Slim Dungarees dress up pretty easily, yet remain comfortable at all times. I’ll likely trade the blazers for warmer layers in colder weather.

Lounging

Since picking up the OG Climbers from Outlier, they are my go to pant anytime I can wear them. They look extremely casual, but have replaced all my warm-up or sweat pants. I wear them every evening and every morning before I get dressed for the day. In a pinch, they work just fine out of the house, but they look the most technical of all my pants. Typically I pair this with a cotton t-shirt I still have loads of.

Still Looking For

There’s only two things I still feel I need to round out my wardrobe:

  1. Dressier Pants: In the warmer months my Futureworks filled this need fine, but now a khaki pair of pants isn’t great. While I have a suit, I’d like to get something in between and suit pant and my Slim Dungarees. I’m not sure where I will end up on this one.
  2. White dress shirt: There are not many good options. I have looked at everything out there for a replacement for my standard white dress shirt, for wearing with a suit, and I’ve yet to find one I am willing to pull the trigger on.

Insights

In addition to all of the above, I’ve switched all my socks to merino and all my underwear out to the ExOfficio Give-n-Go boxers. I only wear cotton t-shirts at night, and I’ve donated half the cotton t-shirts I had. So when doing laundry, the only clothes which ever need to be folded out of the family pile are my boxers and a few t-shirts. Which is rather comical to me. I mean, my clothes never look or smell dirty, and yet I hardly wash them in comparison to all the other clothing in this house.

I was mostly worried about lack of variety in my clothing over a long period of time, but thus far, it has not been an issue at all. In fact, I feel like I don’t rotate through the few clothing options I have enough as it is.

I didn’t list my Ministry of Supply Apollo polo shirts above, because my Lavender shirt came out of the wash a few weeks back with odd discoloration, so I donated it. This leaves me with just a medium gray, which I don’t wear often. I hope to find different options for these next spring, but am waiting until then.

I have cut down on all my duplicates, but kept both the Dark Indigo and Charcoal Slim Dungarees. They are both so very close in color, in that they are both the same level of darkness. I bought the Dark Indigo first as people said it was closest to “denim” however I find that not to be true and still might part with them (my wife likes them, and says I should keep them). I really do like the Charcoal color though, and it’s a winner for me.

I am now in the hard part of this experiment. I truly have almost all I need, and anything I buy now is not because I need it in any way, but rather because I want it. So can I resist? I don’t know, but I want to try. Additionally, I still have a standard pair of jeans, and have yet to bring my self to get rid of them, but truthfully I cannot remember the last time I wore them.

Wardrobe Simplification