Proper Cloth Oxford Cloth Button Downs – Made to Measure

Perhaps one of the largest changes I’ve made over the past year is moving back to cotton-based Oxford cloth button down shirts. The tried and true classic, and the end result of this has been a vastly simpler and less maintenance heavy wardrobe. In order to get a shirt I liked, I turned to Proper Cloth. They’ve previously sent me a free made-to-measure shirt, but this time around I spent my own money on their shirts.

I love these shirts…

Materials

One of the key benefits of Proper Cloth from the materials perspective is that there is a lot of choice for what type of material you want your shirts to be made from. I was looking for a tried and true cotton Oxford cloth, and I narrowed it down to their ‘Natural White Oxford Cloth’ and ‘American Pima’ line of fabrics.

Both are standard weight cotton oxford, but they are not equals. The ‘Natural White Oxford Cloth’ is not a great fabric. It creases hard after being washed, and wears with a rigid stiffness. It’s decidedly not something I can recommend.

Luckily the ‘American Pima’ line of Oxford cloth has proven to be fantastic as I now have five shirts from them with this fabric. It has a great hand feel, a nice soft drape, and doesn’t hold creases out of the washer. All and all, it’s the easy to care for fabric I was hoping for. Even with more than six months of wear on these shirts, they look new as ever.

Big fan.

Fit & Style

The style here is classic American, Oxford shirt. Being here in the USA, it essentially works for anything. It’s oddly versatile.

The fit is also perfect, and it has to be since this is a custom cut shirt. It had been over 3 years since I ordered my last custom shirt from Proper Cloth, so rather than roll the dice (they do offer free returns/alterations), I had my wife use a fabric tape measure to take all my measurements again. From there I adjusted a few things I knew I liked a little non-standard: I am sensitive to my sleeve length so I added a little more; and I like my watch cuff to be looser, an option they provide when making the shirt.

Once that I was set I was off to the races. I was lucky that I nailed the measurements the first time, and thus didn’t have to redo any shirts. Proper Cloth takes into account the fabric you chose, and will adjust the measurements per shirt to account for how the fabric will shrink when washed. Most of the time this is single-digit percent increases in areas. Thus, if the shirt is a little big when you put it on, that might be why, a wash or two will bring it in line with what you wanted.

This system has essentially ruined off the rack shirting for me. They fit so nice, and I don’t get any discomfort from that one area I feel fits me poorly.

Performance

This is a mid-weight to heavy-weight cotton button down shirt. The performance is really on par with any other shirt like this. Instead I want to comment on a few areas (mostly as someone coming from fully merino button downs):

  • On average, I feel more comfortable wearing these cotton shirts than I did the merino.
  • When you notice a big difference, it’s at the extremes. The shirt got wet, and is slow to dry. It’s insanely hot, and it’s not breathing quite as well. It’s slow to dry when hanging out of the wash.
  • The wrinkle resistance really is on par with most of the merino button downs, with the main difference being that a merino button down will drop wrinkles as you wear the shirt over time, and cotton is less prone to do that.
  • Without an undershirt, I average about 1.5 wears before I need to wash these. With an undershirt I can get 3-4 wears.
  • I am perfectly happy to wear one of these all day long — and by happy I mean comfortable. I can kick back on the couch in this shirt without issue. With merino, I always felt like I wanted to change when I got home.
  • You cannot get this cotton look, the heavy matte texture of an Oxford, from merino. You simply can’t, merino will always look a little more ‘poplin’.

I was certain I would be unhappy making this change. I was wrong.

Overall

The American Pima shirts I’ve gotten from Proper Cloth are by far my favorite button downs I’ve owned. They look good, fit great, and are very comfortable to wear.

I highly recommend the ‘Frost’, and ‘Light Blue University Stripe’ from the American Pima line — they are excellent and versatile shirting options to have on hand.

Find them here.

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

Proper Cloth Oxford Cloth Button Downs – Made to Measure

Billy Reid Cotton Linen 5 Pocket Pant

I happened upon these pants in a Billy Reid store on a rather balmy South Carolina day — they felt incredible in hand so I tried them on. The fit felt great, so I walked out with them. Linen pants can be tough to style generally, as they tend to rumple at the knees and hips, and wrinkle every where else. They tend to be worn a bit more ’flowy’, which only complicates styling.

These though are effectively jeans, but in cotton-linen, and are thus pretty easy to style and wear all summer. I’ve had them just shy of a year, and I wear them all the time.

Materials

Billy Reid notes that these are “made in a breathable cotton-linen blend with just a hint of stretch for ease of movement and garment-dyed for a lived-in look and feel”. The actual stated composition is 78% Cotton and 22% Linen.

I don’t notice any stretch to them, so I am not sure where that is coming from. It is a very breathable and light fabric, with some stellar texture. Over the course of nearly a year, they’ve held up well, and have not faded as much as I worried they would. The linen content here is rather low, so we’ll talk about the performance benefits of these pants separately.

Fit & Style

The style on these lends to something I might dub ‘considered casual’. They are not 1:1 replacements for blue jeans, nor are they what I would consider to be something you could dress up to work in a true smart casual style. They are simply a nice pant, made in a 5-pocket style.

The fit is slim, but not skinny, and the rise is a mid-rise which I prefer. They fit me great out of the box using my standard waist size. They are cut longer on the inseam, so I did have to have them hemmed to the correct length. The material lends itself to holding a folded cuff, which is nice if you want to walk in sand with them.

Performance

Once you wear these a bit, you’ll likely be surprised the linen content isn’t higher than stated. They wear closer to a linen pant for temperature regulation than they do cotton — which is to say they are very comfortable even well into the humid-90s range. They breath well, as the fabric is thin and the weave lends itself to airflow.

The blue slate color I have is completely opaque, so no worries on that front. And they do move quite well, even without any sort of stretch I notice — I have not been bound up in them when articulating my legs at the extremes, this might simply be the cut, or the direction they ran the fabric weave when they sewed the pants.

Where you’ll notice the low linen content is in the drying times. They do not dry fast out of the wash, and while I’ve not noticed any sweat soaking them, I would have no reason to think that would dry much faster. It’s going to depend on how much airflow you are getting, as to how fast these dry.

The one notable downside here is the shallow front pockets. I found both to be on the edge of almost too shallow for my iPhone 14 Pro Max to fit hidden in the pocket. It does fit, but that’s basically the max depth of the pocket.

I expected these to be far more faded by now, but the dye has held up through travel, wear, and washing. The knees do tend to get baggy looking over time, with washing bringing them right back in place. I would say I get 10-15 all-day wears before I start to notice that happening.

I mentioned above how standard linen pants will rumple and wrinkle. These still rumple, but don’t wrinkle so much. And what does appear, tends to fade rather quickly. It’s most noticeable behind your knees where the fabric will be quite textured after you’ve been sitting for a good bit of time.

Overall

I bought these as summer pants when I didn’t want to wear shorts, but wanted to still stay cool. They’ve quickly become one of my favorite summer pants, and one of my most worn as well.

Buy here, $198

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

Billy Reid Cotton Linen 5 Pocket Pant

Undershirts, 2023 Edition

The moment I switched back to primarily cotton button down shirts, I needed to sort out a way to try and get more than a single wear from each shirt — mostly for my sanity of easy laundering. The best path for this: undershirts.

I also live, and walk, in Houston — which is far from a ‘cool’ climate. So finding a good undershirt was paramount — I’ve been down this road before, but was surprised to see how poor the offerings still are in general.

What to Look For

Perhaps it’s best to start with what I was looking for with my undershirt:

  • A deep enough v-neck, such that it cannot be seen on my neckline when I am wearing my button down over the shirt.
  • A long enough torso that the shirt stays tucked in.
  • Moisture wicking, dries fast.
  • Doesn’t feel like it’s a layer which adds warmth.
  • Machine wash and dry.
  • Doesn’t start to stink by the end of the day.

Any shirt that hits those criteria, is something I can use day to day.

What I Tried & Tested

It was surprisingly hard to find something that seemed to match the above criteria, as most ‘good’ undershirts seem to be fully cotton or modal — both of which I know won’t hit the benchmarks I am looking for. I ended up trying five options:

  • Wool&Prince 100% Merino Undershirt, $78: I found the neck to be very deep and the color to be great to hide for my complexion. However, the shirt adds warmth when worn, and generally looks and feels a bit sloppy under a shirt. While the material is soft, the fit and shape retention isn’t there. After only a half dozen wash/dry cycles, the neck and sleeves were slightly misshapen. I’ve heard from others they had similar issues, and for a $78 shirt, that’s not good.
  • Bluffworks Threshold V-Neck, $52: I am a big fan of the Threshold crew neck, so I went for the v-neck. The v-neck isn’t quite deep enough to always be hidden under my shirts, and thus needs to be properly placed. I found the body a touch short as well, which means you need to take more time keeping it tucked in. However, the wash/dry is quick and easy, it holds it’s shape as well. It doesn’t add warmth, and doesn’t build odor in just 12hrs of wear. Overall, aside from the neck, this is a pretty nice undershirt for what I am trying to do. You can also hand wash these and have them hang dry overnight — a big plus for travel.
  • Uniqlo AIRism Anti Odor Mesh V Neck, $15: I also wanted to see if I could find something good, which is much more affordable. This AIRism is a completely different fabric and is seamless as well. It’s wild feeling and looks completely silly to wear. But it wash/dries well, hides completely under a shirt, stays tucked in, and doesn’t add any warmth. However, it builds odor ridiculously fast, often within 8hrs of wear, and seems to transfer some of that to your shirt you are trying to protect, mostly defeating the purpose of the undershirt.
  • Uniqlo AIRism V-Neck Short-Sleeve, $15: The more classic offering isn’t much better. It does look slightly less ridiculous without a shirt over it, but only slightly. It feels more substantial, but adds no warmth. It does a slightly better job wicking moisture, and a much worse job managing odor — though this shirt doesn’t seem to transfer odor on to the shirt you wear over it, which is nice. All in all, it’s likely not worth wearing if this were your only option.
  • Mack Weldon AIRKNITx V-Neck Undershirt, $38: I was very skeptical of this shirt, so I wasn’t sure what to make of it. But it performs well: drying from sweat quickly, not building odors, not transferring odors, and wearing about as cool as you would without the undershirt on at all. The v is rather deep, keeping the shirt hidden and it stays tucked well. After many wash cycles, it has yet to look worse for wear. While it protects the shirt from odor, it does transfer moisture out to the shirt when your armpits are sweating a lot — this makes sense, but some people are looking for a barrier, and this is not that. Oh, and it doesn’t look that great when wearing without a shirt fully covering it — if that’s a concern for you.

After testing those, I couldn’t find anything else I felt was worth testing, write in if there’s something I missed.

My Pick

I really wanted the Bluffworks Threshold V-Necks to work out for me, as they work well as a general t-shirt too, thus offering some potential wardrobe consolidation. But they are only above average. My favorite is the Mack Weldon AIRKNITx line, it’s very comfortable to wear and offers a clear benefit with low-downside when wearing under my work shirts.

They aren’t inexpensive, nor are they space saving when you pack. But they do allow me to get 3-4 wears out of all my cotton button down shirts, which was my primary goal. They are comfortable, even when walking in humid 90°F weather, and dry very quickly. I’ve laundered them with reckless abandon, and have had no issues.

Recommended.

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

Undershirts, 2023 Edition

RRL (Double RL) Officer Chinos

I had been told that these pants were hard to explain, but decidedly the best chinos you could buy on the market. Not that they are stand out feature by feature better — but that they are nearly perfect and there’s some intangible attribute to them which is hard to describe. At $245 a pair, for full cotton pants with no stretch — they better be the best. They are, after all, just cotton chinos.

I bought my first pair in khaki, then another in olive, then a sale caused another purchase for a second olive pair, and then I snagged a pair in navy. Because, quite honestly, these are the best pants I own.

So yeah, I’ll try to explain why…

Materials

Simply listed as “heavy cotton twill” these are 100% cotton pants which will fade in color over time. The idea is that these are quite literally the type of pants an officer in WWII would have been issued to wear. This, keep in mind, is essentially where the chino pant started and was popularized — so it’s both classic Americana and military inspired. Double RL is leaning into that here.

The pockets are almost like a canvas, and they are properly sized. There’s simply not a lot to say about the material itself. Instead, I’ll comment that the material feels soft to the touch from day one. It feels like your favorite pair of chinos, which you worked hard to break in for years — comfortable.

Fit & Style

This is the part where these chinos separate themselves from all other chinos. The fit is spot on with a medium rise, a straight but tailored leg silhouette — these pants get every single detail correct. That means that they are flattering to wear.

That also means that they fit in most places you want chinos to work. Toss a t-shirt on with them, and head out for a casual look. Tuck a button down in, and head out for a smarter look. The only thing they don’t strictly do is look dressy. That’s not to say they can’t dress up, but rather the worn/washed in nature pulls them back to a more casual look.

The part which people struggle with on these pants, which is hard to explain, is the intangible quality of them simply looking very nice to the eye. That’s hard to explain because it is not attributable to any single aspect of the pants, but is rather the culmination of all the decisions taken in the design of these pants.

The slight wear and fading on the belt loops. The stitching detail and slight angle at the pocket opening. The button flaps on the back pockets. The visually soft and worn nature of the cotton twill. The straight, but not baggy, cut of the legs and seat. Add that all up and you get a pair of pants which simply look premium — which look well considered. Quite truthfully, the only time you tend to get a combination like that, is when you spend more money — it’s what a lot of the ‘technical’ chinos we’ve talked about here are missing in spades.

Performance

Yeah, so these are 100% cotton, no gusset, no stretch. Just cotton. They wear like cotton. From a performance aspect — there’s essentially nothing here (at least along the lines of what we talk about). Let me note on some wearability things with these before touching on something which I think is stand out on these pants and should fall under performance.

  • Range of Movement: the first thing I noticed about these pants, is the restriction of movement at the extreme ends. Trying to put on my shoes, will lead to the pants being tight around my leg bending at the hip. Doing a large step up to get into my SUV, same. Generally I can still do these things, but I notice the pants when I do them. What I can’t do is those same things with my iPhone 14 Pro Max in my pocket, there’s just no where for the phone to go, and it completely will shorten the range of motion on that leg. It’s not ideal.
  • Breathability: the thing we often forget about cotton is that it does breath well. I’ve worn these from 40°F to 85°F so far, and they’ve been comfortable. I don’t think they will be the most comfortable at the ends of the spectrum, but I’ve not felt as though I regret the choice. They are certainly most comfortable in the 50 – 75°F range of temps.
  • Drying: I have to hang these to dry, and they take a full 24-32hrs to fully dry. That’s not good, and it’s mildly annoying, however;
  • Washing: the care instructions essentially say to wash these sparingly. What that means in practice is that you wash them when/if they look or smell dirty. Otherwise, try not to. I’ve washed three of the four pairs since getting them, and that’s it — they still look and smell clean.

So drying isn’t that large of an issue because you don’t wash them often. But there’s no DWR, or anything to protect the pants, thus these aren’t so much lacking in performance for your day to day wear, but do present potential pitfalls when/if you travel with them. One spill, and you might be waiting a couple days to get them dry to wear again — especially so in the pocket areas.

One hidden performance attribute here is the fly. This is a button fly, but the button holes have the covering flap stitched down at the top and bottom of the hole. Thus when you sit down, there’s no risk of the top flap flipping over and showing the buttons — instead the fly lays rather flat and smooth at all times. It seemed like such a small thing when I got the pants, but it’s yet another small detail which is well thought through.

Overall

These are my favorite pants to wear, not just to the office or out on date nights — but generally. I love wearing these. I took a pair on a beach vacation, and foolishly didn’t pack some sweats for lounging in the condo — but it wasn’t an issue because I lounged in these. That’s crazy, these are chinos. But that’s the magic here: the look sharp, are durable, and for very comfortable to relax in. And you can basically wear them for anything.

I’ve never liked a pair of pants this much, so while the price is steep — they are worth every penny.

Buy here.

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

RRL (Double RL) Officer Chinos

Nui Organics Colville Tee

This item was provided for review.

The t-shirt market is quite busy with various merino blends, while I hadn’t heard of Nui Organics before they reached out —I’m always game to try another tee with odor resistance claims. Nui sent me their Colville Tee, and I’ve been testing it at home and for travel.

Material

This is a lightweight tee, made from 56% Tencel, 38% Merino Wool, and 6% Elastane. Nui notes that the Tencel Lyocell is made by Lenzing from sustainably grown beech trees with a closed loop solvent system, but no details about the wool.

This all makes for a stretchy fabric, with a slight sheen or smooth look on the surface, which remains even after washing. The hand feel is also supremely soft, probably due to the high Tencel content.

It should be noted that the care tag specifies lay flat dry. I had no problems with shrinkage doing that, but there could be issues if it accidentally ends up in the dryer.

Fit & Style

The tee fits me on the slim/athletic side (and a bit more snug than I typically wear my tees, I got an XL and I usually wear an XL). This could be a great option if you often find your shirts too baggy.

Style wise, this is a bit of a dressier shirt for me, due to the smooth/shiny look to the fabric, but it’s not so shiny that it looks out of place in a casual environment. It also has a nice drape, but not like cotton — it’s more of a flowy drape.

Performance

Let’s hit their claims one by one.

  • Odor free: I was surprised by this one, even though it’s only 38% merino, this held off odors as long as my high merino content blend tees. The Tencel clearly also lends to the odor resistance.
  • Temperature regulating: This shirt remained cool in the heat. Could be attributed to the weight, but no complaints here.
  • Breathable: Again no complaints, performs well.
  • Moisture wicking: Never felt moist in this shirt, it keeps the sweat away from my skin.
  • Quick drying: Not sure on this, on a sweaty day, the armpits stayed moist, but the wicking kept it comfortable. It is almost dry when it comes out of the washer, though.

Overall

This is a solid tee, and if you are looking for something smooth while still having odor resistant properties, this is worth a look. It doesn’t feel scratchy at all like high merino content blends can, and it performs on par odor wise. Normally priced at $79, the Colville Tee is currently a great deal for 40% off.

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

Nui Organics Colville Tee

Foehn Harper Adventure Shorts

Note: this item was provided by Foehn at no cost.

Foehn has been making a name for itself with performance focused (primarily) outdoors clothing. The Harper Adventure Shorts ($90) are my first go with the brand, and they are a very solid offering with a slightly different take than a lot of other ‘training’ style shorts. Whether they work for you is mostly going to come down to how you normally dress, and whether they fit your body.

Materials

These are what you expect: nylon and spandex. They are specifically: 86% recycled nylon, 14% spandex fabric shell; 87% nylon, 13% spandex liner. They are not paper thin like many other offerings as they clock in at 219 grams listed as the ‘garment weight’ but they are certainly all around a thicker material (shell and lining) than most of the other training shorts I own.

Overall the material avoids any annoying sounds, wears well, and feels pretty substantial to the hand while retaining robust stretch.

Fit & Style

These are not designed to be pure athletic/workout/training shorts where you might only be wearing them in a gym or workout setting. They are stated to be: “…the only pair of shorts you’ll need the entire summer.” The style lends very outdoorsy/gym to me, but I will say that they look substantially better than any other workout shorts I have when worn. The heavier material gives a much better drape, so if you are wearing an untucked shirt over the elastic waistband, I could see you potentially getting away with these for other outings, but it’s not a shoe-in.

The inseam is 7” on these, and I think it sits just right for a workout short, they feel great at this length. So as far as workout shorts go I think they look sharp, but when compared to most shorts they look very casual/workout. You could get away with them as long as you can get away with a t-shirt and shorts.

From a fit perspective I found that the waistband was loose for me with a size Large, but I would worry the Medium would be too snug. The drawstring helps tremendously. The string itself is an elastic webbing cord, and so even when tightened the shorts move really well in the waist — you can sit comfortably without them feeling tight. If you are someone who wants a very secure feeling waist, you might look elsewhere.

Performance

Foehn lists these as moving well, breathable, and moisture wicking. I will tackle each:

  • Movement: they stretch like crazy. No complaints, they never bind or bunch — even when the drawstring is tied up. They excel here.
  • Breathability: They are breathable, but they don’t stack up as well as many others I have tried. The lining is simply too thick of a material to fair well against many of the other lined shorts I have tested. For the shell, they are shorts, so the shell isn’t getting in the way of the lining at all.
  • Moisture Wicking: This is perhaps my biggest complaint. They get wet and stay wet. The lining doesn’t wick moisture as well as I would expect. If you leave them on after a sweaty workout, you’ll be feeling wet for quite some time afterwards — easily twice as long as any of my other lined shorts. They really don’t fair well here for me.

On some of the other traits:

  • The pockets are solid, nothing amazing but they don’t drop stuff out of them readily.
  • The lining is comfortable, and I didn’t find that the fit was poor in anyway.
  • The drawstring has silicon logos on it, these aid in keeping them tied securely which is a really nice touch.
  • They can and do look wrinkly at times. This is a part of the reason why they don’t strictly look like gym shorts.

Overall I found the performance to be comfortable for less strenuous workouts, the sweatier the workout the less performant the shorts felt.

Overall

For $90, these don’t make the cut for me as a pure workout short. You can get more performant offerings for less money, but none of those offerings look like anything but workout shorts. These fall in a niche area for me: a pair of shorts which you mostly use for active things, but you want to be able to fill in a very casual role on a whim if needed.

I look at these as a good pair of workout shorts for when you are traveling and only want to pack one extra pair of shorts. For that purpose these would fill a few roles quite nicely with just one item.

For me, these don’t fill a need I have.

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

Foehn Harper Adventure Shorts

Filson x Birdwell Beach Britches® Surfstretch Tac Shorts

Note: Filson provided this item for review.

When I first saw these, I thought they looked interesting, but was about to move on when I noticed the fabric. Then as I started reading about it more, and looked into Birdwell, I knew I had to check these shorts out. Luckily I was able to get a review pair, and while not perfect, these are a pretty amazing pair of technical shorts.

Material

These are made form two primary materials “SurfStretch” and “SurfNyl” which are both Birdwell creations. The SurfStretch makes up the body of the shorts, while the SurfNyl is used to reinforce the seat of the shorts. Filson lists the composition of this as “90% spandex/10% nylon + nylon”, I didn’t typo that, I promise. It’s 90% spandex.

But they are not tight fitting — this is what caught my attention. The material (as you might guess) is very stretchy, very smooth, and have a decently matte appearance to them. The hand feel is great, they feel like most heavier nylon shorts for the most part, with a somewhat heavy drape to the material. Not at all what I was expecting in a good way. It’s and unique material for sure, and well executed here.

Fit & Style

These are really a hybrid short, enough style that you can wear them casually, but enough performance you can be very active in them — including surfing. Having said that, I don’t think they really give off a strong “board short” vibe, and shorts are not overly dressy to begin with. From a style standpoint, even with the cargo pocket, they look solid and clean.

The fit is what I would call tailored, not at all baggy, but not tight. With an 8.25” inseam they will feel shorter for those who like a longer 9-10” inseam, but the short inseam gives them a less casual/hiking/boardshort vibe. Those who prefer a shorter-short are likely to find the single cargo pocket a non-starter to begin with.

I am not a cargo shorts fan, but these don’t give me that vibe at all, even though it looks very apparent in the product photos, in person it is not a billowing cargo pocket. It’s more there ‘just in case’ and for ‘style’ than anything else.

Let’s talk about the hand pockets though, I am rather particular about those. On these shorts they are a rather large spacer mesh, with a relatively short depth to them. I was very worried at the start that these would be the type of pockets to dump out everything you place in them the moment you sit down. That’s simply not the case. They are not my favorite, but they never lost a single thing I placed in them.

The only other attributes of this are the button fly, which either concerns you are doesn’t — it is not a normal choice but it works fine in practice here. On the side of the shorts are cinch straps, whereas most swimming shorts will offer a string cinch waistband, these have two nylon webbing straps on each side. They run through a ladder lock and you pull to tighten. When loose, which is all that I generally need the metal ladder locks tend to protrude a bit too much for my liking. Once snugged down that problem goes away.

Performance

Ok, let’s talk about the performance claims:

  • Quick-Dry: yes, as you might expect these dry pretty quick. I would not say fast, but quick is the right word for it. Some shorts dry much faster, but these do not take so long to dry that there is any issue with them.
  • Lightweight: I don’t see it here. The are decently heavy weight material. That’s not really a bad thing either, but if we are talking about overall weight, they are also not the lightest shorts I have.
  • Roomy for Beach/Hiking: yes, the cut is fantastic to give you the room you need.
  • Unparalleled Freedom of Motion: yes again, 90% spandex will do that for you. There’s very little restriction of movement, in fact I can’t think of a time I really felt as though there was.
  • Durable: so far, yes. The material seems to be holding up well to washing, and generally wearing about.

I started a day by putting on these shorts, and I went for a workout (rucking) in the 85°F humid weather — the shorts performed great for that activity. Then I went straight into the yard in the now 90°F humid weather and started working about in the bushes to prune them and pull weeds — again they worked great without issue. Then I jumped straight into our pool to cool off, with the shorts on, and swam around. I got out, wiped down some of the chairs by the pool and let the shorts dry — all good.

I have other shorts which say that can do that, but none that work this well. They breath decently well, but are roomy enough that other ventilation occurs. They shed water and keep it from building in the pockets really well when swimming. And the cinch straps work amazingly well when you want to go jump into water, as you can quickly pull them tight and they hold the shorts really well.

At the end of that, despite me getting them dirty, they looked ready to wear back out to the next task.

Overall

I’m a big fan of these shorts. They are a little quirky and might not fit every fashion need out there. But if a single short which can do most things you need from shorts, these are right up there with the best. At $140, they are not cheap, but they certainly offer a very unique value proposition.

Find them here, $140.

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

Filson x Birdwell Beach Britches® Surfstretch Tac Shorts

Vollebak Equator Shirt

Let me first start this review by telling you that this shirt is my near perfect shirt. On paper it doesn’t seem to even come close to the performance of all the other shirts I own or wear. The price is, well, it’s not cheap. And yet, if I could only wear one shirt, this would be it.

I have two of them, they are amazing. They are also expensive.

Vollebak’s Equator Shirt is essential.

Material

As I alluded to at the top, the material itself doesn’t seem extraordinary in any sense as it is: 72% cotton, 24% polyamide, 4% elastane. This doesn’t really tell the whole story, but first I will note that the mesh used is 75% polyester, 25% elastane (this is the armpit area mesh) and there are Corozo nut buttons which are sublime.

This shirt is cotton, but like no cotton I have ever felt before. Here’s what Vollebak says about the cotton they use:

One of the lightest, softest fabrics on the planet, Karnak Menoufi is a silk-like cotton that’s only found in the Nile Delta, and only grows in the years when the rain, soil and wind conditions are perfect.

The entire shirt weighs in at 200 grams. So when you talk about this being light and silk like — yeah that’s what they mean. The weave is incredible smooth and the shirt feels very soft. It feels impossibly thin, but not crinkly like Paper Cotton. This feels better than the best t-shirt, both to the touch and on your body.

The sum of this is a very soft, very thin, very fast drying material which still rates at UPF 50+. Pretty insane if you ask me.

Fit & Style

I don’t know what to make of the style on this shirt. Like all goods from Vollebak they are a mix of classic with an edge towards — I don’t know, being edgy? I can’t really say. The Equator Shirt at first glance can seem oddball, but reminiscent of classic designs. This is further helped by a very good cut, which runs trim, and looks great untucked, or tucked.

The fit for me is perfection. The style is tame enough that I never got a side eye, while not ever looking overly dressy, or underdressed. It’s an outdoors casual shirt, which can be tucked into your pants and made to look like some sort of stylish dress shirt where you are embarrassed to ask if that is the new trend or not. This is the best I can explain it.

Performance

This shirt has insanely good performance — it might be one the best performing shirts I have. And I know those who have been reading this site for a while might be in disbelief on this, believe me when I say that I keep expecting this shirt to not perform well and keep being wrong. This shirt performs better than most of my active wear performance t-shirts and certainly better than merino wool.

Let’s tackle the item most people assume is where this will fail: multiple wears and odor resistance. I get 2-3 wears out the shirts when I need it, with no smell at all. I’ve yet to have these shirts smell. I tested this by wearing them all day in the early summer heat of Disney World with a backpack on my back and the sun beating down. I soaked them thoroughly with sweat, hung them to dry, and smelled. Nothing. So I did it again, still nothing. I also don’t know how that is, but it is.

And, I suspect a part of this is how fast the shirts dry. Whether just out of the washer, after pouring rain, or letting sweat evaporate — these are my second fastest drying shirt. With the only one faster being a Western Rise shirt which is lighter than air here on a humid summer day in Houston.

But wait, there’s more. The shirt is really stretchy, so even though it has a nice tailored cut, it rarely restricts any arm motion. The UPF 50+ rating has to be real, I never burned through this shirt and I have worn it in a ton of situations where sunscreen was required on my face.

There are two things about this shirt which are even crazier than the rest: venting and the sleeves. First let’s talk about the venting on this shirt, because it’s hidden all over. Specifically there are 18 hidden vents. The armpits are mesh. The ‘seam’ across the top back of the shirt is a row of vents. Ditto the forward facing seam at the top of the shoulders. The chest pockets unzip to reveal laser cut holes which act as a chest vent. And none of these vents look odd, none get in the way, and they actually work. I opened the chest vents several times, only to close them when entering A/C areas. Stellar.

And then there’s the sleeve, Vollebak says it best:

If you’re moving hard and fast and want your sleeves to stay rolled, you’ll find a 20cm long reinforced strap on the inside of each sleeve that you can pull out, up and over the rolled sleeve and fasten to a small slip button on the outside of the upper arm. The fastening is secured on its own reinforced patch of military tape. And each 20cm fabric strap has two buttonhole settings so you can choose how high you want them. If you’re wearing the sleeves down, the cuffs fasten with two corozo buttons.

Yes, basically correct. This shirt looks and feels great sleeves up or down, and they stay put no matter which you choose. I love it, and this type of system doesn’t always work this well.

There’s but one single downside on the performance: wrinkles. Lots of wrinkles. This fabric comes out messy looking. It’s odd though, because if you are wearing it casually the wrinkles drop out enough that you don’t need to worry too much. A quick steam pass really releases them to where I like to wear it. But if you do press the shirt with an iron, it looks very sharp and passes in situations which trend a little less casual.

Overall

Man, what a shirt. I have the Sky Blue and the Temple of Doom Edition (this looks like a light-khaki, but to my eye it’s more mint-khaki) and I prefer the Sky Blue color slightly.

I don’t know if this shirt is worth $345. I got the first one as a gift from my wife, and I quickly bought the second one as a gift from me to me, because I liked it so much. I wish I could have this in a standard button down style for the office too, but as it is, I love this shirt. It’s worth it to me, but it is far from an easy price to swallow.

If you do make the purchase, you’ll have my favorite shirt as well.

$345

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

Vollebak Equator Shirt

Flint and Tinder 365 Shorts Review

This item was provided for review.

Flint and Tinder is Huckberry’s house brand that has continued to impress us. They have a similar vibe to Taylor Stitch, but I think they’ve been doing an outstanding job of keeping to high quality basics that provide a lot of versatility. When the Huckberry team reached out to see if I wanted to try the 365 Shorts, I was excited to get them in my hands.

Material

The fabric is an 8 oz, 98% cotton/2% spandex blend that is garment dyed and preshrunk. It has a soft hand feel, while still seeming durable. Weight wise, Flint and Tinder says it’s “the ideal weight for year-round wear”, and I’d agree. I wore these for a long drive and in the heat setting up a tent, and I was comfortable in both the AC and outside. They also claim it “stretches like a performance short”, while it does stretch some (and mostly in the horizontal direction), I wouldn’t say it’s super stretchy.

Fit & Style

The fit here is great — not overly slim or too baggy. And with options of both a 7” and 9” inseam, most should be able to get a length they prefer. For me, 9” is the perfect length for shorts, and often longer than 7” (without being super long) is tough to find these days.

Between these hitting just above the knee and the chino styling, these can go from casual to looking good with a button-up or polo with ease.

Performance

The performance is surprising for a stretch cotton fabric. I find them to be just as comfortable as my OUTLIER New Way Longs, with the New Ways maybe beating them out in really hot and humid weather, or if you plan to get them wet. In fact, I feel like the stretch is slightly more noticeable in the 365 Shorts. When setting up camp in the warm sun, I didn’t ever feel the shorts getting in the way and didn’t get too hot.

They also have a hit with the pockets, as they aren’t so deep that they are uncomfortable, but they aren’t shallow where you are worried about stuff sliding out. The YKK zipper and metal rivet button also add to the feel of durability.

Overall

The 365 Shorts were a surprise hit. At $64 (or 2 for $108), these represent a great value. For those who don’t need the ability to do everything in one pair of shorts, or spend a lot of time in a hot and humid climate. There aren’t many trade-offs from the much more expensive New Ways. To note, there is also a Cotton Linen version.

Highly recommended. Check out the whole 365 lineup.

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

Flint and Tinder 365 Shorts Review

Minus33 ALGONQUIN MEN’S S/S CREW

This item was provided for review.

A while back, I grabbed a Woolverino T-Shirt from Minus33 and I was impressed — so I was excited to give their Algonquin t-shirt in Olive drab a try as well when they offered it. I’ve been testing it for a while now, it’s another instant favorite of mine.

Materials

This is a 100% merino wool t-shirt, which is 17.5 micron with a 170gsm weight in jersey knit. Minus33 rates it at 25 UPF, which is pretty standard fare for merino unfortunately.

To the hand, this is a soft and ’normal’ t-shirt weight — so if you have found something like the Woolverino too thin, and the Outlier Ultrafine too thick, this is the weight you likely wanted. I really like the hand feel on the Minus33 wool across all their gear I have tried — it’s done very well and it feels softer than the micron rating might suggest. This is simply a merino t-shirt so not much to say beyond that.

Fit & Style

One thing Minus33 does very well is to note how to expect the shirt to fit, based on your ‘normal’ sizing. This is listed as: “Regular – Standard fit with a little bit of room to breathe, but not too baggy”. I can translate that further to: normal t-shirt fit.

In other words, this is designed to be worn like any other standard t-shirt, and to that end, the cut is perfect. The product photos make it look like it might have an odd cut, but in person it looks just like a t-shirt should, and like all Minus33 goods it runs a little more trim trough the body — which I like, but is worth noting.

It fits me great, and I am a big fan, enough said.

Performance

I noticed another blurb from Minus33 on this shirt which I’ll quote in full: “Temperature Recommendations: 30°F to 60°F and up while active, 60°F and up while inactive”. That’s spot on. It’s not super thin, so there will be no worries about it being transparent, but it’s also not super thick. If you think of this as a normal t-shirt, you’ll simply find that it works as designed.

For testing: I wore it all day, slept in it, and then repeated that a day later. I couldn’t get it to stink up after repeating that three times, so it’s on par with all 100% merino shirts for me.

The reason I slept in it: the only shirts more comfortable are my Outlier ones, which cost much more, and are heavier. For me, this is the ideal merino t-shirt weight. It performs like merino, which means it dries well enough, insulates from heat and cold, and does a really good job managing odors. Sleeping in a merino t-shirt feels like luxury to me, and there you go.

Overall

The big thing here is the price, at $69 it’s a bargain. Most merino shirts cost more to be this nice feeling with this good of a cut. It’s hard to find something better, let alone at this price.

You can find it here, for $69.

Minus33 is going to be my first stop from here on out for merino goods.

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

Minus33 ALGONQUIN MEN’S S/S CREW