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

Outlier Freecotton Button Up

Here at Everyday Wear we are huge fans of Outlier and the clothing they produce — they focus on exactly what we do: better daily clothing. I recently bought a Freecotton Button Up from Outlier (in white). My hope was to have a better white dress shirt from a company I trust.

The shirt is a cotton blend with a DWR treatment and stretch — specifically it is 68% Cotton, 21% Micro-nylon, 11% Elastane.

Comfort

While wearing the shirt it felt significantly more moveable than your standard dress shirt, as the stretch is more than any other shirt I’ve tried. Beyond that, it also doesn’t feel like a synthetic stretch shirt.

While the shirt resists looking dirty (which is a great attribute in a white shirt), it doesn’t breathe nearly as well as a merino button up, nor Bluffworks’ Meridian Dress Shirt (our review. While I moved fine in the shirt, it didn’t feel like a game changer over a standard cotton shirt with regards to breathability. It felt to me like a heavily starched dress shirt, without the itch.

Stink Performance

With this much cotton, there’s almost no winning. I get no longevity out of this shirt over a standard cotton shirt. I’ve only every managed two days of wear out of the shirt before the arm pits started to stink, and I was wearing an undershirt each time.

While my undershirts tend to have a slight smell at the end of the day, that goes away by the next day. With the Freecotton, any smell builds with each wear.

Issues

Here’s the biggest issue this shirt faces: it’s is mostly cotton but doesn’t quite look like it has cotton in it. There’s a distinct rigidity to the shirt, and a complete lack of a smooth pressed look. It’s not a casual looking shirt, so the inability for it to look pressed or even well ironed was a major issue for me.

Close up picture of the shirt after being washed and ironed. Doesn’t quite ever look smooth, and you can tell.

Resulting In…

I returned this shirt after having it for only a short period of time. It’s no doubt better than a standard cotton shirt to wear, but it doesn’t look quite right and that drove me nuts. Add to all of that the price of $165, and I have a hard time justifying, let alone recommending this shirt for anyone.

Outlier Freecotton Button Up

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

Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoodie

We don’t typically talk a lot about hiking specific clothing, but we are nerds when it comes to new fabric technologies. So with that in mind, when I recently picked up the Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoodie, I decided I should review it here. It’s one of the few items with a new type of insulation, Polartec Alpha Direct. Unlike the old Alpha insulation, there’s no inner layer between the insulation and your body — in other words, the inside of this jacket is soft and fuzzy.

This material has one purpose: to keep you warm, while allowing for a lot of breathability so don’t overheat while active. Originally, of course, it was designed for military use but is finding its way to more consumer products. Typically this is called “active” insulation, and there are many different flavors (from your typical fleece jackets to newer products like The North Face’s Ventrix lineup).

The Jacket

I bought this jacket on sale, as I wanted to try the Alpha Direct insulation, and in the couple months I’ve had the jacket, it has become one of my most worn jackets. It has an athletic cut and the hood stays mostly out of the way (they have a model without the hood). The pockets are nice, but don’t secure so they are good mostly for hand warming.

It’s been my favorite layer to grab when I need to head out and know that I might be spending time indoors — which I’ll get to next. In general, I really like the jacket itself, however I find the colors offered by Outdoor Research to be not great. They are all contrast, and thus project a very outdoorsy look — which I get away with in the Pacific Northwest, but might be problematic in other areas. I’d love for them to offer a solid charcoal version of this jacket, I’d switch to that instantly.

Warmth / Alpha Direct Insulation

In one word, the insulation in this jacket is phenomenal. I’ve worn this jacket working out with my heavy backpack on and building quite a sweat up during the work out and yet, I didn’t have to take the jacket off to stay comfortable. It breathes really well, and when you really start building up body heat, you don’t overheat. That’s not to say you aren’t uncomfortable, but in a situation where you’d rather not fuss with taking off the jacket, it excels.

I can see exactly why this is used in military applications.

Further, this insulation does a great job when you need something to grab and wear on your next trip to the store or mall. A constant struggle is what to do with your heavy jacket as you are moving in and out of warm stores — typically you undress and redress, or grin and bear being too warm or cold the entire time. With Alpha Direct, I’ve never overheated during those temperature changes, and you get the best of both worlds, mostly.

In wind, or really cold temps, you get cold if you are not moving. Layers can mitigate this, but this won’t be the one jacket you need, and likely this will change greatly with the surface material being used in conjunction with the insulation.

If you are climbing a mountain or hiking in cold weather, then this is the insulation layer you wear. In the past that was Polartec Fleece. I prefer Alpha Direct over fleece any day of the week, it does everything better (i.e. it breathes better, and insulates better, dries faster, and weighs less).

Overall

While I don’t love the looks of this jacket, I’m willing to overlook that and wear it a lot. It’s comfortable, very light weight, and packs away well. While down jackets stow well, but are warm and bulky, and fleece is comfortable but doesn’t stow well — this Ascendant jacket excels in both areas. It’s like a hybrid of fleece breathability and warmth, with the light weight and compression abilities of down.

Again, if the colors were less in your face, I’d say this is a crucial jacket to have in your closet.

Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoodie

Merino Wool Abrasion & GORUCK Bags

One of the big criticisms of merino shirts for general wearing is whether or not they can hold up to abrasion. Typically the concern is less about wearing a hole in the shirt and more about the shirt pilling when doing normal things (like wearing a backpack s of particular worry to those who like to travel in merino wool shirts — as most bags are heavy when traveling and abrasion can be really high. I am ling at this throughe lens of wearing this type of clothing while commuting and traveling — not while hiking and doing more outdoors oriented stuff.

The Test

In order to test what’s real and what is paranoia, I wore the same Smartwool 100% merino t-shirt while I rucked (working out by walking with a really heavy backpack on) for for weeks straight. A total of bout 60 miles of wear with a 30 lb GORUCK bag on my back. GORUCK’s bags are among the most abrasive bags on the market, and the added weight with the sweat from the workout makes it among the most adverse tests you can put these shirts through. During the course of the testing I only washed the shirt once per week and hung it to dry.

This should simulate the amount of travel the average person does in a year, or a partial commute with backpacks. Most people won’t travel with a backpack this heavy, but this should accelerate any issues with pilling.

The Result

In the first week I noticed pilling where the bottom of the bagand straps sat on the shirt. By the end of the test there was only minimal pilling on the back but it seemed to disappear on the shoulders. No holes or any otherwise noticeable problems with the shirt. After each wash, most of the pilling seemed to disappear as well.

Thoughts

Cotton shirts also pill in these areas as well, so a large part of the talk around this pilling seems to be paranoia as it will tend to happen to most shirts. However, it does give me pause when wearing a GORUCK bag and something like Outlier’s Ultrafine Merino T-shirt. Having said that, I don’t think there’s a ton to worry about, and I still don’t hesitate to travel with my GORUCK and merino clothing.

Yes, with a lot of use with an extremely abrasive bag, you’ll see some pilling, but certainly not enough to otherwise ruin a shirt. This isn’t the nature of 100% merino wool.

For instance, compare this photo of my Outdoor Research Sequence shirt which is a merino wool blend:

The pilling is far worse on this shirt, not just in the areas where my backpack wears during rucking, but in any spot where there’s friction. It’s a shirt prone to pilling. I have no doubt that some shirts pill more than others, but I have seen no evidence that 100% merino wool shirts are more prone to pilling, or less durable, than any other natural fiber shirts.

Merino Wool Abrasion & GORUCK Bags

Outlier NYCO Oxfords

My standard everyday attire is to wear a button down shirt, so I’ve been trying to find something more durable and perhaps — hopefully — something which still looks traditional. I picked up both the oxford blue and ligh gray versions of Outlier’s NYCO Oxford to test out. They are heavy, and certainly only for weather 70-75 °F and below.

Fabric

Outlier makes this shirt out of a 162 gsm 74% cotton, 24% nylon blend, thick, and feels like a indestructible version of a cotton oxford. The material is entirely treated with DWR, and that actually works quite well in a light rain. However, I’ve been less than impressed with stain resistance as I’ve noticed some light spatters of sauce when I cook with the shirts on — though a quick dab with a wet cloth typically pulls the stains right out.

The shirt is far more rigid feeling than a standard oxford, while maintaining a soft feel and look to the fabric.

Wrinkle & Smell Resistance

The biggest thing with this this shirt is the nearly 75% cotton make up of the fabric. Typically this means wrinkles and smell absorption. On the issue of wrinkles, this shirt does surprisingly well at resisting them. The shirt will tend to show some rumples, not wrinkles, in the inner-elbow and other areas where the shirt sees a lot of movement. And while it won’t resist all wrinkles — I’ve yet to need to iron or steam these shirts, even after washing. I’m impressed.

However, on the issue of smell resistance, it’s a normal shirt. If you can get away with a few wears in your normal cotton shirts, this will perform the same. On this issue, it’s very disappointing, but predictable for something with this high of a cotton count.

Fit

I love the fit of this shirt, it’s heavy and comfortable. It fits a bit smaller than other Outlier shirts, with shorter sleeves and tails. It’s not easy to tuck in for me, as the body is right on the edge of what will stay tucked into a pair of pants. However, the pivot sleeve construction is excellent, giving great freedom of movement for a shirt with no built-in stretch

Overall

What’s compelling about this shirt is that it is a baby step in the direction of much better clothing. It’s $98 and for that you get a better designed shirt, which is far more durable (DWR and NYCO) than most oxfords you find — all the while it looks nearly identical to standard oxford. It doesn’t have the s powers of merino wool, but it also doesn’t have the drawbacks: differing hand feel, special washing, and a general more delicate nature. You could wear this shirt doing anything — and I have — and it’ll hold up great.

I really like this shirt.

Outlier NYCO Oxfords

Bluffworks Chinos

These pants were provided by Bluffworks for review.

The Bluffworks Chinos are billed as a better travel pant. Bluffworks sent me a pair of Navy Blue Tailored Fit 36×32 pants The Chinos themselves, upon first touching them evoke two responses: oddly softand incredibly lighteight. These pants weigh less (in actual weight) than any other pair of pants I own.

Fabric

The fabric is simply listed as 100% polyester, which always causes me hesitation as you never know what you are going to get. These are a completely different fabric from the Gramercy Blazer, or the Meridian Dress Shirt, I’ve reviewed here — hey feel the most synthetic of the lot. While at the same time, it’s hard not to point outhat they weigh nothingwhile not being cold to wear.

The face of the fabric is soft to the touch, but not smooth — it has a bit f texture. I’ve found that the pants don’t quite pass for cotton when you are only a few eet away,but at the same time I’ve had chinos with a similar sheen to them. It’s hard to place your finger on it, but you’ll notice they aren’t “normal” pants.

Stretch

The fabric has built in stretch, and Bluffworks bills it as comfortable stretch which I think is accurate. It is not enough stretch where you will feel free to climb a mountain, but it is enough stretch that you will be comfortable in the pants.

Comfort

All of the above leads to the biggest question I always ask: how are they to wear all day. found them to be comfortable, but not the most comfortable. I would get the regular fit over the tailored fit if I did it again as I felt the pant legs were too narrow for me through the calf area.

Not accounting for the fit of this cut of the pants, I found them to be plenty comfortable throughout the day, but not enough that I wanted to lounge with them in the evening.

Extra Pockets

These chinos have travel pockets, with each front pocket having an inner zippered pocket, as well as the there being extra pockets on the seat of the pants. I used none of them, and while they might be handy for some when traveling, I think they would make for better peace of mind that stuff won’t fall out when on a plane. I didn’t find these pocket earth shattering, but they weren’t a detracting factor of the pants.

The biggest note on these pockets are the zippers: I wish they were wer profile you didn’t feel them as much when your hands were in the pockets.

Sound

The biggest issue with these pants is that they make a bit of a sound when you walk. In a perfectly quiet house, I found them to be too loud. However, when out and about I never once noticed them — thus I think so long as you leave your home, this is likely a non-issue. I will also note that after washing them, they quieted down a bit, and I wonder how much more they might quiet down over time. This was enough to bother me at first, but not enough to keep bothering me.

Overall

These chinos (at the time of publishing) are on sale for $99, and at that price they are hard to beat for a good entry level pair of travel pants. You’ll pay much more to remove just minor annoyances. Not accounting for price, they aren’t my favorite pair of pants ever, but when taking in the whole picture it’s hard not to be happy with them.

Lastly, the overall look of them is very nice. I found them to be cut well nd pair nicely with a button up. You could easily got to a business meeting in these — stepping right of the plane and not look worse for wear. They truly don’t wrinkle up and they’ll be comfortable. Not bad at all.

Bluffworks Chinos

Bluffworks Meridian Dress Shirt

This shirt was provided to me by Bluffworks for the purpose of review.

When I first got the Meridian dress shirt from Bluffworks, I was shocked by two things: it looks like a “normal” dress shirt and the material doesn’t suck. It’s quite hard to find a synthetic dress shirt which both looks normal and doesn’t feel like plastic. Bluffworks has succeeded on both accounts, so let’s dive into this shirt more.

Material

As I mentioned above, I love the material of this shirt. It looks natural and is nice and thin as a dress shirt should be. It drapes nicely, breathes well, stays clean, and wrinkle free. But more than any of that, it doesn’t make any noise, a common issue with synthetic dress shirts.

The Meridian is not a loud shirt. It’s smooth, it’s synthetic, but it doesn’t sound or feel like most synthetics. It’s the best of both worlds: looks good, yet it doesn’t have the trade off of feeling bad or sounding loud.

Comfort

This shirt is somewhere between a standard dress shirt and something with insane 4-way stretch. It’s far more comfortable than your standard shirt — more comfortable than most merino wool dress shirts — but not as comfortable as some of the dress shirts advertising full 4-way stretch.

The shirt moves fine, better than a standard cotton shirt. It breathes well and dries fast. All of this makes it very comfortable, but it won’t feel like a loose fitting spandex shirt — which in this case is good.

Looks

You could get away with this shirt in almost any office setting, and it could be paired with a suit as well. It’s a smart shirt with a sharp collar. Most won’t think twice about it, which is exactly what you want from a performance dress shirt. It’s there to make you look good, not to stand out on its own.

Wrinkles, Smell, And Dirt

This shirt stays pretty wrinkle free. When you pull it out from your bag, it’ll be fine. You might notice some creases form where it was tucked in, but that’s par for the course and hardly worth worrying about. Overall, it’s great at resisting wrinkles.

This biggest downside of synthetics is odor resistance, and the Meridian isn’t a magic solution there. It resists odors better than most non-wool shirts, but it will still smell after a while. The advantage is that you could wash it, hang it, and have it dry the next morning to wear. I would say you could get a couple wears out of this without issue.

When it comes to resisting dirt, I’ve been impressed. I loaded a car full of gear for a weekend away, then unloaded it. I’ve flown on planes where I eat messy snacks. I’ve held babies. None of that has phased this shirt. It’s a great performer for staying clean looking.

Overall

Moving into 2018, I’ve been thinking a lot about my button down and dress shirts — about how I might revamp that lineup, and the Meridian is absolutely going to be at the top of the list. They fit great, feel great, and perform well. But more than any of that, they look great. If you are a business traveler, do yourself a favor and get a couple of these.

Bluffworks Meridian Dress Shirt

Outlier Doublefine Merino Pullover

There’s no shortage of merino wool sweaters, and while I have a few, I didn’t have one I loved. So when I picked up the Outlier Doublefine Merino Pullover, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought it may be more like a sweatshirt, but it is a sweater. Dressier than any sweatshirt, and just as comfortable as a sweatshirt.

It’s Nice

My first impressions of the pullover immediately focused on how smooth and soft it feels while also being substantial. It is something you could wear to dress up any outfit, but still not be out of place in more casual settings.

Like all merino goods, it’s very comfortable to wear throughout the day, and I found it to err more on the side of not being warm enough than being too warm. Paired with a warmer t-shirt, or even a button down, you’ll be able to withstand weather nicely.

The cut is well tuned to wearing as a layer for your wardrobe. The sleeves and body have enough room to fit another shirt under it, though there will be a few dress shirts which may not work if the sleeves are not narrow enough at the armpit. Also, the collars of most my button downs don’t work well that’s the only hang up I have with it — it’s hard to wear a button down under this as a layer.

It Shrinks

One note about the pullover is that it will shrink the first time you wash it (even if you hang dry, even if you wash it in cold water), the pullover will shrink in the length of the body. Mine fit perfectly new, but after washing it, I find it to be barely long enough for me. Hopefully it won’t shrink any further, because I do like it.

This is something to keep in mind, if like me you have a longer torso — you might not be able to make this work. It’s on the cusp for me.

The Sizing is Weird

Speaking of the length, the sizing on this garment is odd. The sleeves and body length are shorter than you would expect from other Outlier goods. Your Ultrafine Tee will stick out well past the bottom. I’m sure there’s good reason for this, but I wish it was about an inch longer, as I find it harder to figure out what to wear under it.

Verdict

At nearly $200, this is not an inexpensive merino pullover. It is though, the nicest I’ve come across — which is about what I expect from Outlier’s Doublefine lineup. This will get substantial rotation this fall and winter. It’s very nice, but you pay the price for that — and luckily the return policy is solid enough to mitigate the odd sizing.

Outlier Doublefine Merino Pullover

Taylor Stitch Telegraph Jacket

I asked around on Reddit for opinions on a good lightweight sport coat to travel with. While there were a lot of the standard answers, there were far more people advocating wool over the other “travel” oriented options. Torn on this, I picked up the Taylor Stitch Telegraph Jacket in charcoal.

The Telegraph hits a nice price point, with wool, linen, and stretch built into the jacket. While they make several colors of this jacket, confusingly each color is often a different fabric, so these thoughts only apply to the charcoal jacket.

Fit

I would characterize the overall fit of the jacket as slim — had I chosen this jacket before I lost some weight, I don’t think I would have liked it. But given that I did lose that weight, the overall fit is quite nice. Use their sizing guide, as I find it to be spot on. I do wish they offered odd sizes, but that’s a minor nitpick, especially at this price point.

Fabric and Style

This feels and looks like a more casual jacket. It’s not a suit jacket, it’s a sport coat. The pocketing is very casual and there’s no lining or shoulder pads. The fabric looks normal. Yet, given the blend, the jacket breathes and moves exceedingly well.

I’ve worn the jacket around Houston (in the winter, still 90 degrees though) with my Wool & Prince shirts and while I was warm, I was not dying. It’s a fantastic layer for dressing up your look.

I don’t find the stretch mind blowing, but I do find the breathability to be awesome. Overall, I really like the fabric as it offers great hand feel and warm weather performance.

There are two things that make this jacket casual. The cut and the pocketing, also the complete lack of lining. At first I did not like that there was no lining, but I’ve since come to really appreciate this.

The Bluffworks Gramercy Blazer is a great jacket to use as a layer when the weather is cooler. The Telegraph, on the other hand, is perfect for warm weather.

Mine spent two flights rolled up and stuffed into different bags. It was generally abused and I can’t find any sign of wrinkles — certainly nothing which lasts. It’s comfortable to wear and packs down small.

Overall

Initially, I bought this jacket for date nights, to dress up my standard button down and Slim Dungarees. Generally though, I like the Gramercy much better for the cool weather in Washington. However, this Telegraph jacket is an instant winner for any warm weather — travel or not

Taylor Stitch Telegraph Jacket