Bluffworks Ascender Chinos

Note: These pants were provided by Bluffworks for review.

The Bluffworks Ascender Chinos were recently released along with a new travel polo and t-shirt. These chinos were designed as an update from their Classic Chino (our review) with a new fabric and security features. Being Bluffworks, they have 10 pockets (6 special travel pockets), which you either willlove or hate.

Fabric

The fabric is 100% polyester and weighs in at 180 gsm. It has a soft hand feel and nice matte texture in most lighting (but does have a sheen in direct sun).

While these won’t pass for cotton chinos up close, they also don’t immediately give themselves away as technical. However, I do get a technical swoosh while walking in these. It seemed to quiet down a little with washing, so I wonder if it will go away over time. As advertised, they came out of the wash wrinkle free.

Fit & Comfort

Even though the fabric has no stretch content, the pants feel like they have a lot of stretch. In the hand, the stretch feels similar to many of my other chino style pants, but while wearing them, they feel like they have significantly more stretch. In fact, I had to size down one inch from my Gramercy sizing for the waist to fit.

With the right waist size in the Tailored Fit (they also come in Regular Fit), I still felt like there was some room in the thighs and hips. They don’t look sloppy, but they also don’t look as polished as my Outlier Futureworks (our review). If you typically find nice performance chinos to be too slim, you certainly should be able to find a good fit here.

The stretchiness of these pants also makes them very comfortable and forgiving for travel. I would go as far to say that I feel like I could hike in these if I had to. While the fabric here is actually lighter than that of the Futureworks (180 vs. 200 gsm), it feels thicker to me. This translates to them running a little warmer as well. They are breathable and don’t get clammy, but I wouldn’t pick them for the hottest weather. Conversely, I imagine they would perform better in cold weather.

Travel Pockets

With 10 pockets on these pants, you can protect almost anything you’d carry.

Inside both front pockets, there is a zippered pocket.

The right front pocket also includes a phone patch pocket and a small utility pocket (to hold a small knife or multi-tool). The left front pocket has a pocket on the inside of the pants with a velcro closure (for money or a passport).

While it may seem that all these extra zippers and pockets might get in the way, I haven’t yet felt like they have gotten in my way like they can on the Gramercy Pants (our review).

Moving around to the back of the pants, the waistband above the right pocket has a phone pocket.

I’ve yet to find this type of pocket useful, but it doesn’t detract from the look or comfort of the pant. Finally, the left back pocket has a zipper right at the opening. I find that the zipper pull stays tucked away most of the time, but can occasionally pop out if you don’t get it stowed away.

Overall

Overall, the Ascender Chinos are a solid performance/travel pant. If you are looking for a chino style pant with travel security features, these are certainly the best I’ve seen. Even without all the extra pockets, these represent a great value at $125. With a little work on the sheen and sound of the fabric, these could come close to my Futureworks; I’ll also be interested to see how they compare in cold weather.

Bluffworks Ascender Chinos

Western Rise Liberated Hemp Band-Collar

Note: this shirt was provided for review.

When it comes to shirts for warmer weather, the prevailing advice is linen but as all of us reading this know: there is more to it than that. There’s Ramie for hot and humid, there are various synthetic options, and so much more. Western Rise has their Liberated Hemp Band-Collar Shirt they feel warrants a go.

I tested this shirt in the hot and humid weather of Houston, TX in 90°F weather with humidity around 70% and a dew point sailing north of 70°F. In other words: I tested this in insanely hot and sticky weather when my body was hardly acclimated to the climate.

Material

This is a hemp blend shirt coming in at 170 gsm, which is heavier than you might think you want for a warm weather shirt. The blend is 53% hemp / 43% Repreve (Recycled Polyester) / 3% elastane — though it feels like a heavy cotton shirt to the touch. Look closer and you notice little pills on the shirt, like many fabrics made for hot weather — but a tighter weave than most hot weather shirts.

At first the shirt was scratchy feeling, but after one wash that went away to a soft but thick material. As for stretch, it is not very noticeable — I didn’t even realize it was there until I looked up the precise blend of the fabric this review.

This blend is stated to resist odors and wrinkles and to absorb 20% moisture while remaining dry to touch. It lives up to this.

Fit and Style

This is a boxier and looser fit with a polarizing band collar. I found it works best paired with a more casual outfit like linen pants, boxier chinos or a pair of clean shorts with rolled up sleeves. Since the weather here is very warm, I wore it with shorts and rolled up sleeves. I like the style of this shirt, and I think the band collar offers a nice departure from what most people wear — but if you don’t like it in the photos you will not like it in person.

Performance

The hemp blend performs in line with most linen shirts. The material has a tighter weave so it is not as breezy, but breathes well enough and dries fast. It’s not hot wearing — despite feeling heavier than a comparable linen shirt.

The most impressive attribute is the wrinkle resistance. Most shirts made of linen live to wrinkle, but this shirt stays flat and tidy most of the day. It doesn’t have much of the linen look — so if that has always kept you from linen, this is a fabric you should look into.

As for odor resistance I only get 1-2 days of wear out of it. To be fair, I have been sweating a lot in the shirt, but it still starts to stink after a longer wear. You can rinse most of the smells out, so that is nice to know if you plan to travel with it. And, importantly, it dries fast — faster than linen.

My unscientific analysis is that this shirt wears 25% warmer than Outlier’s Breezy Linen and about 5-10% warmer than my linen shirts from Banana Republic. It is warmer than linen, but it keeps it’s composure much better than linen such that I think it is a better choice overall unless you are comparing it to something like the breezy linen from Outlier.

Pit sweat is another interesting part. I was sweating a lot in this shirt and should have been pitted-out, but instead I never felt that wetness under my arms. And I never noticed pit stains. This likely has to do with the amount of water it can absorb, coupled with how fast it dries. I bought a car in this shirt, going in and out of the dealership with a lot of stuff going on — I was sweating, but the shirt never showed it.

A-plus.

Overall

I’m a fan. And if you want linen like performance but you can’t stand that linen wrinkles the moment you look at it, you should consider this shirt. I hope they use this fabric in more styles as I would love to see a short sleeve variant with this same fabric.

Find it here.

Western Rise Liberated Hemp Band-Collar

Wool&Prince Polo

When it comes to wool shirting, Wool&Prince is our go to. Ben gave their 100% Merino Polo (our review) a test last summer and loved it except for the weight, it was too heavy for warm climates. As part of preparing for a roundup of polos (coming soon), I gave the merino blend Polo a try.

Fabric

This polo is made of a 160 gsm blend of 78% 17.5 micron merino and 22% nylon. I’ll let Wool&Prince explain the yarn, as it doesn’t sound like a traditional core spun fiber:

“Traditionally, blended yarns are constructed by mixing fibers from two different sources and then spinning the mixed fibers. We took a different approach and spun a 17.5 micron wool core with two small nylon filaments.”

As advertised, the drape and hand feel of the fabric are great. It drapes heavy, so it looks a little more dressy than your standard cotton, t-shirt-like polo. The fabric feels soft and doesn’t have any of the itch some feel from the Wool&Prince button-downs, most likely due to the finer micron wool used here.

Fit

The fit on the polo is slim but not athletic. It has a classic straight shape, but doesn’t look boxy. I wear a L Regular in Wool&Prince shirting, and an XL fit me well here. With the traditional split drop tail, the length was a little long for me to wear it untucked in all but casual situations.

Overall, the style makes this polo fit in any situation where a polo is appropriate.

Comfort and Performance

The softness of the fabric makes this polo soft and comfortable like your favorite merino t-shirt. I found the weight of 160 gsm to make it substantial enough to not be see-thru, while remaining cool even in warm weather. However, since merino does hold more moisture than 100% synthetic fabrics, you tend to feel sweat a bit. This is somewhat counteracted that the fabric dries fairly quickly.

The collar is always a dealbreaker on a polo. In order to look sharp and blend in with a performance polo, the collar has to look right. In this case, they did a nice job stiffening this collar up a little bit with some interfacing between two layers of fabric. If you make sure the collar dries in the shape you want, it will remain sharp through multiple wears (and even packing).

Speaking of packing, I did find the shirt to pick up wrinkles fairly easily when packed. A quick steam and they are gone, but something to keep in mind if you want a polo that can be pulled out of your bag and be ready to go.

Finally, odor resistance. As expected, the nylon content in the fabric reduces the resistance some, but not enough that this isn’t my most odor-resistant polo. Surprisingly, what has made me wash this polo so far has been smells picked up from the environment (food odors).

Overall

This is a great polo, and if you are looking for merino performance, this is the one to get. The softness of the fabric makes it just as comfortable as a t-shirt while keeping you looking sharp with a dependable collar. Even more compelling, at a price of $78, you aren’t paying a huge premium for that merino performance.

Wool&Prince Polo

Bluffworks Threshold T-Shirt

Note: This shirt was provided by Bluffworks for review.

As we mentioned in our review of the Piton Polo (our review), Bluffworks also recently released a new t-shirt, the Threshold T-Shirt. The market is quite saturated with great t-shirts right now, so we hold them to a high standard. Bluffworks managed to take a technical shirt and impart almost merino level odor resistant technology, all while keeping the technical look (mostly) at bay.

Fabric

The fabric here is a wrinkle-free 66% polyester, 29% Lyocell, 5% elastane blend with embedded gold and silver nanoparticles.

To start off, the fabric itself is soft and lightweight, while being substantial enough to drape well. It has a nice stretch to it (although doesn’t feel like it has 5% elastane content). I think the elastane in this knit is more to help the shirt keep it’s shape, and Bluffworks claims that the blend of elastane and Lyocell lends to the soft hand feel. Additionally, the knit is tight enough to be UPF 50+ rated but still breathable.

The only (slight) downfall to the fabric is in bright light, you can see a slight technical sheen. Not a dealbreaker, but something to keep in mind.

If they stopped here, I’d say Bluffworks made a worthy contender in the performance synthetic t-shirt market. That not being enough, they added a metal nanoparticle treatment to impart excellent odor resistance to the shirt.

Fit

As always, Bluffworks offers a great range of cut (Classic & Slim) and length (Regular & Tall) options for the t-shirt. I found the fit to be similar to the polo, with a Slim XL fitting me the best (the Classic L was similar, but the Slim sat better across my shoulders and neck). I would say neither cut is athletic nor baggy and both can look great as an all around t-shirt.

One observation on sizing — I found the length to be a little shorter than many of my other t-shirts. I think it gives the shirt more of a classic silhouette and is something to keep in mind when choosing a size.

Comfort & Performance

The t-shirt wicks sweat away well and dries quickly. This is one area where merino isn’t king. On a hot, sweaty day or workout, merino tends to get heavy while synthetics are better at wicking to the surface of the fabric to help evaporation.

The claim of the t-shirt being wrinkle-free is also something that I noticed while wearing the shirt. It tended to have less wrinkling from being folded up in my drawer or packing cube and it doesn’t get those light wrinkles that show up in a light merino T after a days wear.

Finally, the most surprising performance attribute — odor resistance. The treatment on this shirt gives it almost, if not merino-like, odor resistant properties. It is certainly the most odor resistant synthetic t-shirt I’ve ever tried.

Overall

Bluffworks has a top competitor with their Threshold T-Shirt. It looks and feels great with top notch odor resistance. It is going to get a lot of wear from me this summer and I’m looking forward to seeing how the odor resistance holds up over time and how the shirt resists pilling (a downfall I found in my previous favorite synthetic T).

If you are looking for a performance T that isn’t wool, you’ve found the one. Even against merino shirts, this one holds its own.


Ben’s Thoughts

I tested the peak white color and I found my new white t-shirt. I love it, and in fact in picking what I could bring on my person for my upcoming move (versus what the movers bring) this t-shirt was the first one I grabbed. The handfeel is soft, and slightly slick, but it is very comfortable. In fact, I’ll likely pick up a couple more. Two thumbs up.

Bluffworks Threshold T-Shirt

Bluffworks Piton Polo

This polo was provided by Bluffworks for review purposes.

Bluffworks recently released a few new pieces, a t-shirt, new chinos, and a polo. Being one of our favorite companies for everyday performance/travel apparel, we jumped at the chance to give them a try. This review focuses on the new Piton Polo. We had high expectations, as their Meridian Dress Shirt (our review) is among our most worn dress shirts. Bluffworks managed to succeed in meeting and exceeding those expectations.

Fabric

The fabric on this shirt is a 100% polyester pique knit, which gives the Spun Grey color I have a great texture and nice visual interest. Even without any stretch content, the knit of the fabric allows for a little stretch.

Bluffworks also did a great job keeping the fabric to a very matte finish (no technical shine here). The fabric drapes well and somehow remains lightweight while not getting that static cling look that can ruin the look of many lightweight polyester shirts.

As far as wrinkle resistance, the shirt can pick up light creases when tightly folded for long periods of time (not so much that they are noticeable while wearing though). I saw this out of the package and can still see light creases in my shirt after washing. Bluffworks does offer a suggestion to “refresh” the fabric “wash in warm water, 104° F (40° C), warm dry, and remove promptly to hang after drying”, which I have yet to try as I always wash cold and want to see if these creases will take care of themselves. I haven’t set in any of my own wrinkles yet, so I don’t think this will pose an issue.

Fit

Bluffworks offers Classic and Slim fits in both Regular and Tall lengths, which is something I really appreciate. It is nice to be able to really dial-in the fit.

I dialed in my fit with the Threshold Performance T-Shirt — I tried both a L Classic and an XL Slim (Regular length) and found the XL Slim to fit the best (it fit closer in the body while allowing more room at the neck and shoulders). I ordered the polo in the same size and it feels like the fit is consistent.

For me, the Regular length feels perfect for the polo, as it stays tucked in but also isn’t too long to wear untucked.

Comfort & Performance

The Piton Polo is my most comfortable synthetic polo. It is breathable enough that I can see it working well throughout the hottest parts of the summer while still having enough weight that it looks good. The shirt dries extremely fast — when it comes out of my washer it is almost dry.

When it comes to odor resistance, Bluffworks claims that the fabric is antimicrobial but doesn’t note any special treatments. For me, it performed similarly to my Meridian shirt. It won’t smell too bad after one day, but requires a quick rinse if you want to wear it again. This is much better than any of my other synthetic polos that can stink after one day.

Finally, another key for polo performance is the collar. While not stiff and structured like the Ministry of Supply Apollo 3 Polo (our review), it lays flat all day without any curling or weird folding. There is always a tradeoff here — polos with a structured collar are guaranteed to always look sharp, but the collar can give away the technical nature. In the case of this collar, it stays sharp in most cases while allowing the shirt to blend in.

Overall

In the synthetic polo arena, the Piton Polo is going to be hard to beat. It performs well and will only get better as the weather continues to warm up.

If you are looking for a polo to take you through the summer that can be dressed up or down, this one is worthy of your consideration. Even better, at $68 it represents an excellent value and is priced lower than many of its competitors.

Bluffworks Piton Polo

Wool&Prince Slim Chino

These pants were provided by Wool&Prince for review purposes.

It’s no secret that Wool&Prince is a brand of choice in the performance clothing market. They started out with their button-down and dress shirts and have since expanded their line. The most recent addition is their Slim Chino, made from a wool blend fabric, these pants are designed to be able to be dressed up or down. After hearing whispers of these coming for a long while, I was excited to get a pair and put them to the test.

Fabric

Wool&Price developed a 60% merino wool/40% nylon twill blend fabric for these pants. You may notice that these are missing the typical stretch and DWR coating of most pants we review here, but the merino wool content makes them something interesting and different.

If you’re thinking wool pants, those must look drapey and formal like traditional wool slacks, you are wrong. The combination of the structure imparted by the nylon and the heavier weight of the fabric makes these wear just like a traditional pair of heavier cotton chinos. The subtle twill texture also helps with the traditional chino look and ability to be easily dressed up or down.

Fit

While Wool&Prince calls these pants the Slim Chino, I did not find the cut to be slim at all. I would describe it more as a standard/straight cut. For me, the pants fit fairly closely in the seat with plenty of room in the thighs and legs. If you are looking for a true slim cut (or even a tailored cut like Outlier), the cut of these pants is not for you.

For a first go at a pair of pants, I think Wool&Prince made a good call on the cut as it will work for more people than a true slim cut. I also think that this type of cut lends itself to the fabric, since it is lacking stretch.

This more traditional cut, along with the slash front pockets and button back pockets, also helps them blend-in in a business situation. When dressing them down, it also makes them pair with a t-shirt more like a pair of selvedge jeans than a pair of slim, tapered technical pants.

Comfort & Performance

While a pair of pants without stretch is never going to compete with a stretchy pair, I find these very comfortable. The more roomy cut certainly plays a big part. In wearing them in both casual and business casual situations, the lack of stretch was noticeable but not annoying. However, I don’t think I’d take them hiking, nor do I prefer them for a long flight.

Performance wise, these pants are like your favorite pair of heavy cotton chinos with a wool upgrade. I didn’t notice any benefit of the wool for time between washes, but I certainly noticed it from a temperature point of view. In a typical cotton chino fabric, this weight would certainly be reserved for the cooler months. The merino content in these pants helps extend the temperature window. I don’t think I’ll be wearing these in the hot summer months if I’ll be outside walking a lot, but think they could work otherwise.

I’m also looking forward to seeing how they perform in the winter, as my other heavier pants that can be dressed up tend to have a lot of issues with static when it is dry out.

Overall

Overall these pants are worth consideration, especially if you are looking for something with a versatile style, heavier weight, and a truly standard appearance — you can be sure you’ll blend-in in any situation.

While I haven’t had these for long enough to test them in temperature extremes, I think they will become my go-to pants for the cooler months and those weird days in the shoulder seasons.

Wool&Prince Slim Chino

Proof Nomad Pants

Proof is owned by Huckberry, and they have been making the Nomad pant for quite sometime. For most of that time, it was a fabric very similar to Olivers Passage Pant, or Outlier’s OG Fabric. That is to say, it was very technical, stretchy, and had a hard time passing for business casual. And then, quietly, Proof updated the pants and it caught my eye as something I should get right away to test.

So, here we are…the new Nomad Pant.

Material

Proof now makes the Nomad Pant out of Toray Polyester Stretch Twill which is 100% polyester — when first released Proof simply noted these were a Japanese Twill, so I am glad to see the refined explanation for what they are. Now, you likely think 100% polyester, no thanks, but you should look past that because the fabric content tells a lie about the material performance.

These pants are the stretchiest pants I own, and par with Outlier’s beloved OG Fabric. They are also very smooth both in looks and hand feel with a subtle twill texture to them. The only part that belies the polyester nature is the slight sheen the pants have. Fortunately there are no sounds associated with wearing them.

Fit and Style

The style of these pants is very chino in nature, and the slant pockets make for a dressed up look that is easily worn in business casual environments. The fit, even for the straight variant I ordered is slim, so if you are looking for a very slim pant the slim version of these is likely to be your cup of tea.

From a style and fit perspective I love these. They would be near perfect if they had a matte finish, but it is hard to find fault with them. The drape is also aided by the thickness of the pants, and gives a very nice look.

Performance

Performance wise, these are among the most comfortable pants I own. Even the waistband has a lot of stretch, and they never feel restricting. Which is why they are now my go to pant to wear on a plane, as they are easily the most comfortable pant I have worn for travel.

Beyond the stretch, the fabric is rather thick, though they breathe decently you won’t be finding me wearing these much about 80 degrees F. They repel and shed water and other spills admirably, and stay looking clean basically at all times. The caveat to that, is that they are prone to picking up lint at times — especially from tissues.

One great thing about the fabric weight is that they hide what is in your pockets better than many other slim fitting pants. There is also a hidden pocket in the right pocket which is very well done and luckily not at all visible.

I do have two gripes about this pair of pants:

  1. The zipper tab for the hidden pocket gets in my way more than I would like. I think if they reversed the direction of the zipper this would be much better (pull up to unzip instead of down), which should also make it even more hidden.
  2. The back pockets are secured shut with a snap button in the center. I hate this. It means you cannot put your phone in your back pocket as that pocket has metal in it, which is beyond annoying.

One last thing to mention: these dry faster than any pants I own. Which is quite impressive.

Overall

Here’s the last thing you need to know about these pants: they are $98 at the time of writing. So even with the small issues I have with the pockets, for that price these pants are very hard to beat. As long as you don’t need pants for really hot weather, I don’t see how you can go wrong with these. They dress up well, as can be dressed down equally well — just like chinos. I snagged the navy colorway, and am very happy with that.

They won’t replace Futureworks for me, but if I didn’t already have two pairs of Futureworks, I would have two pairs of these Nomads — they are very good and very inexpensive.

Proof Nomad Pants

Western Rise StrongCore Merino Tee

This shirt was provided by Western Rise for review purposes.

Western Rise is one of the many new-ish entries to the technical clothing market, introducing many of their products through Kickstarter. We have reviewed their The Evolution Pant (our review), and they recently sent us their StrongCore Merino Tee. It should be noted that this is the second version of this shirt (the first version had a pocket), made in their new LA factory.

We had inquired about the DryWeight Merino Tee, as we were looking for more tees for hot weather (to compare with the Outlier Dreamweight and Ramielust). However, they informed us that they were discontinuing that shirt.

Fabric

The fabric of this shirt is 89% 17.5 micron merino/11% nylon. The finer merino used here makes the fabric very soft and never scratchy, however, it is not the softest on the market (that title goes to the Outlier tees).

Coming in at 170 gsm, the weight of the fabric gives it a nice drape. The only indication that if isn’t brand new after numerous wears and a few washes is that light “fuzzing” most merino exhibits. This is a good sign for the long term durability of the shirt.

Fit

I was on the borderline between L and XL in the Western Rise size chart. I chose an XL and am glad I did. The shirt shrunk a little when I washed it the first time (cold, air dry) and it fits me well, but would probably have been a little tighter than I like after a wash if I had picked L.

Overall, the fit seems on-par with other merino tees I own, and I would probably compare it most closely to the Outlier XL cut.

Comfort and Performance

I’ve been wearing this shirt for a few weeks now and it performs as expected for a core spun merino blend shirt. It has all the odor resistance of a 100% merino shirt with the extra durability of nylon.

The weight of the fabric makes it a good all-around tee, but it is probably not the best pick for the warmest weather, as midweight merino tends to soak up sweat and get heavy (this is where ultralight merino or synthetics shine).

The v-cuts at the bottom on both sides of the hem are supposed add some performance by breaking the “fabric tube”, but I didn’t find any benefit other than adding a little different look to the shirt. Maybe if you wear your tees more snugly across the waist/hips, this would make a difference.

Overall

Overall, the Western Rise StrongCore Merino Tee is a worthy contender, but with the sheer number of good merino tees out there now, I don’t think it rises to the top.

At a lower price point, this tee might rank better, but for $96, it wouldn’t be my top pick. To me, the Outdoor Voices Merino T-Shirt (our review), which can be had for $55, and is a merino blend with a great balance of price and performance. I’d also throw the Wool & Prince Crew Neck ($68) and the Outlier Runweight ($88) in this price range as competition.

The merino t-shirt market certainly is putting out some tough competition right now. If the v-cuts on this tee make a difference for you, this is definitely a shirt to check out.

Western Rise StrongCore Merino Tee

Outlier Ramielust T-Shirt

Note: this item was sent by Outlier for review.

It is common knowledge, that when the weather gets hot, you should wear more linen because it will keep you cool. As many of you know there are some merino wool shirts which will also help, such as the Dreamweight I recently reviewed. But there is also something called ramie, and it destroys any other fabric for keeping you cool in hot and humid weather. Of course, Outlier brings us this unique fabric in their Ramielust T-Shirt.

Let’s dive in…

Material

This is a tough one, because it is ramie. But what is ramie? Outlier tells us: “It’s a nettle plant native to Southeastern Asia, the stalks of which can be processed into a fiber quite similar to linen.” So this is a 100% ramie shirt at 200 gsm — a shocking weight for a shirt made to be worn in hot and humid weather. Which is why I will also quote one other thing from Outlier’s description of this material: “For cold and humid this stuff is actually dangerous…” And Outlier is very serious about that statement because they also include a special card in the box to further warn you of this.

Exciting stuff, at least for clothing materials.

Style & Fit

If you are familiar with Outlier’s Ultrafine T then you know how this will fit. Slightly boxy, with good length. These shirts actually run longer, but they shrink after you wash them the first time and roughly come back to the same length as the Ultrafine.

The material itself has a slight sheen to it, and a hand feel that is a little rough because the weave makes for a strong texture. I got the purple and it is a great color, a nice change from the typical gray/black/navy hues you find in most performance shirting. When you hold the shirt up to light, you can see through it, as the knit is very open, but not enough that I had any issues with it being see thru.

Looking through both layers of the fabric at the window behind.
Looking through both layers of the fabric at the window behind.

For me the fit is excellent, and the shirt doesn’t stand out as anything out of the ordinary when wearing it.

Performance

Ramie is all about performance. I tested this shirt through theme parks with a backpack on and I was impressed. It lives up to the hype Outlier surrounds it with. At Seaworld I got wet, sat in the hot sun, sweated and all in all the shirt performed better than any shirt I have ever worn. This is inclusive of all performance hiking and athletic shirts. It breathes insanely well, it sucks moisture away and dries rapidly.

For a 200 gsm shirt it felt very cool, at times I was running a little cold. In fact, I was able to get two wears out of the shirt as it had accumulated no smell. And when I put the shirt on, after it hung in a closet in my air conditioned room, I thought the shirt was actually damp somehow. Because the room was cold, and the shirt made it colder.

Outlier is not joking when they warn not to wear this in cold weather, its like wrapping your body with an air conditioning unit when you are in a colder environment.

Overall

I was not excepting this shirt to perform this well, because not everything lives up to the hype. I think this shirt exceeds the hype around it, and it immediately had me looking at all the other ramie offerings Outlier has. Definitely two thumbs up on this, so if you are looking for a good summer shirt as the weather heats up, get this — but only if you live in the hot and humid climates.

Outlier Ramielust T-Shirt

Proof Performance Oxford

The Proof brand makes a very interesting set of clothing options in the performance realm. With some items, like this Performance Oxford, the performance amounts to very small changes over the standard. The goal of this shirt is to make something which looks completely normal while resisting stains, wrinkles, and being more comfortable. To some degree, it achieves just that.

Material

This is a heavier shirt with a dense weave to the material. It’s a 70% cotton / 27% nylon / 3% LYCRA® blend which offers solid stretch with a very normal look and drape. It also has a DWR coating to help resist staining.

Fit and Style

The fit is pretty standard for an oxford, it’s not overly tailored, but not at all boxy — I would put it around a tailored fit you would get from Brooks Brothers. On the style front this shirt looks good, certainly better than shown in the marketing pictures — I’ve received more compliments on my ‘looks’ while wearing this shirt than any others. The shirt is long enough to tuck in for me, but not so long as to keep you from wearing it untucked.

The big style issues with this shirt are twofold:

  1. The collar isn’t quite right, and that includes the buttons used to hold the collar in place. (I would also prefer contrasting colored buttons).
  2. The available colors for this shirt are not great and far from ‘standard’ which will make incorporating it into your wardrobe a bit more of a chore.

The dark navy color I got onto pairs well with lighter color pants or solid black. Even denim doesn’t work well with it.

Comfort and Performance

This shirt is comfortable. Both because of the stretch and because of the familiar materials. It doesn’t dry fast or wick away sweat well, but it moves with you freely and wears warmer for cooler weather.

I have yet to be uncomfortable in this shirt, but I have not wanted to wear it in warm to hot weather. The wrinkle resistance is OK, but not impressive compared to other shirts in this category. It does wash and hang dry nicely, without a need for further ironing or steaming.

Overall

At $98 this shirt is a bargain for what you get. Many have been lamenting the demise of the Outlier’s NYCO Oxford, and I think this is a good replacement. What this shirt lacks in durability it makes up for with the added stretch and better cut. This shirt is best for people who only want to dip their toes into the performance shirting world, and not let anyone else know their shirt is anything but standard. The biggest drawback of this shirt is the high cotton content which keeps it from being quick drying. For an everyday shirt where you have access to more than one shirt this is a great shirt.

Proof Performance Oxford