J.Crew’s Monster Sale

Some items worth your attention during this 50% off sale (code: FRIDAY):

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

J.Crew’s Monster Sale

What We’re Wearing — Quarantine Summer into Fall

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

Ben

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

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

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

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

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

Steve

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What We’re Wearing — Quarantine Summer into Fall

Fisher + Baker Everyday Cashmere Short Sleeve Crew

Note: this item was sent free of charge for review.

I’ll admit, I was skeptical of this shirt when Fisher + Baker reached out to see if we would be interested in looking at their clothing. All of it looks very nice, but cashmere + polyester — can that be better than some of the merino wool we normally test and wear? Why not though, learn something new every day. The pitch for this shirt is simple: “You deserve to wear cashmere, Everyday.”

Sounded fancy, so I’m in.

Materials

This shirt actually has a really interesting blend: 88% drirelease® Polyester and 12% Cashmere Wool. I have experience with both fabrics on their own, but never together. The combination of both makes the entire unit machine washable as well.

The entire shirt is luxuriously soft.

And I don’t mean that in a ‘soft for wool’ way. I mean it is soft. The hand feel is soft. Against your skin, soft. Against your face, soft. It feels like a soft cashmere blended with your most washed and loved cotton t-shirt — and yeah it feels great. It’s a heavy material, I would peg it around 170+gsm but not more than 200gsm. It’s thick so there is a nice drape and a substantial feel to it.

Performance

Ok, Fisher + Baker claims:

  • Fast Drying: I would say it is faster than cotton by a large margin, but not quite as fast as thinner fully synthetic or merino wool shirts. I have no complaints, it will dry overnight without issue.
  • Breathable: I thought this would fail on this front, but it doesn’t. It’s not the most breathable shirt I own, but it’s on par with most of my merino wool t-shirts and did decently in heat where the “feels like” was spiking to 105°F. Again, on par with merino wool — which is to say: well done.
  • Odor Control: better than cotton, but not as good as pure merino wool. You can get a couple days out of it, but it’s not the most odor resistant. This does bring up one other small odor related thing: this shirt smells funky when you pull it from the washer. Very wet-wool smell. This goes away quickly as the shirt dries, but do note this.
  • Easy to Care For: So, they say machine washable. They sent it to me to test, and as part of the packaging it came with some wool detergent. Seems like they would prefer you use wool detergent. But I wouldn’t know because I don’t read instructions well and Steve didn’t tell me not to do harmful things to the shirt, so I just washed it with all my other stuff in normal detergent. I hang dry all my shirts already, and I did the same here. The shirt survived it all, and it should, as drirelease has been very durable with my other shirts made from it. I didn’t detect any shrink or outright damage. I’ve washed it nearly 8 times now, and all I can see is minor fuzziness on the fabric. So, check.

To sum up the performance of this shirt, I would peg it at: above average. If you wash your clothing daily to begin with, you’ll find the performance great, but if you want the most wears out of your t-shirts then you could find more odor resistant options. Generally it performed far better than I expected and in line with the claims.

Fit and Style

I normally write this before the performance section, but thought it was best after. Because there are two aspect to this shirt: first it looks stellar. Second it is cut really well, and also cut in a way where it moves well too.

I tend to find most t-shirts either a little boxy, or a little to form fitting. Fisher + Baker really nailed this cut. There’s not annoying rub from any seams, they aren’t in the way of even shoulder straps, and the entire shirt just fits me very well.

As for style, it’s a t-shirt. A nice t-shirt, but still a t-shirt.

Overall

When I wrote up the review about Outlier’s Ultrafine Merino T, I ended it by saying “these are the most luxurious feeling shirts I’ve ever owned.” That statement is now obsolete. Those are the best merino shirts I have ever seen.

But the Fisher + Baker Everyday Cashmere Short Sleeve Crew is easily the most luxurious feeling shirts I’ve ever owned, while still performing well. At $98, yeah, these should be top of your list.

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

Fisher + Baker Everyday Cashmere Short Sleeve Crew

New Colors for Bluffworks Meridian 2.0 Dress Shirt

Bluffworks has just launched three new colors of their Meridian 2.0 Dress Shirt (our review). The 30% off sale is still going (with code BLUFF30), so they are a great deal at $68.

The Meridian is the softest, and most wrinkle resistant dress shirt we have tested. If I were going to have just two shirts to travel indefinitely with, they would be a Meridian and a Wool&Prince Button-down (our review).

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

New Colors for Bluffworks Meridian 2.0 Dress Shirt

Lululemon Airing Easy Short Sleeve Shirt Ventlight Mesh

What a name, essentially this is a short sleeved button down shirt. The claims to fame for it are the stretch and breathability — which seems to be granted via Ventlight Mesh. Essentially this is a series of micro mesh holes throughout the fabric and is common for both Lululemon and even Under Armour to employ in a bid to increase breathability. The specific patter I bought is out of stock, but there are others here.

I’ve actually been testing this shirt for some time, and while nice, it is hard to justify over other options on the market which all have better performance.

Material

First, you need to know that this is a thicker shirt, which is counter intuitive given how it is framed. But the material is hard to describe as anything other than thick — so if you are tired of shirts being thin so they wear cool, hey you are in luck on this one. The composition is 96% Polyester, 4% Xtra life lycra® elastane. I have no cares about what Xtra life Lycra is — let’s just assume it is somehow a better variant of Lycra.

That’s not all there is to the material, and Lululemon makes really no mention of this. But there is a series of holes throughout the fabric in a grid pattern. Ostensibly to improve breathability. But you can and do see these holes in the fabric — even on Lululemon product page. They are very apparent on solid colors or lighter colored fabric. The pattern I have hides them somewhat well, but they exist.

The hand feel is a soft, with a slightly but spongey feeling. It is weird. It’s not ideal. It feels very technical.

Fit & Style

A classic short sleeve button up, with removable collar stays, a funky pattern and a funky material — this is a casual weekend shirt that you could do some yard work in. I’ve been wearing it while working from home, as well as barbecuing in the Houston heat and hanging by the pool.

The fit is great, but the style is meh at best. A firmly casual shirt with a collar that perhaps sits a little too perky to blend seamlessly in with a good casual look. Almost a touch preppy with the collar.

Overall I would classify the fit as good, and the style as ambivalent casual.

Performance

So this shirt boasts quick a few performance claims, I’ll just go through each of those first:

  • Stretch: yes, this is a very stretchy garment. But the value of this is somewhat limited in a short sleeved shirt not made to be tucked in. That said, this shirt will never restrict your movement.
  • Quick Drying: it is decently fast to try. The material is a little thicker so that detracts a bit, but when tossing it back on after taking a swim, the shirt dried quick enough to never be a problem. Quick enough drying for me.
  • Wrinkle Resistance: it’s not that it has no wrinkles after washing, it’s that the wrinkles it does have are so hard to see it doesn’t matter. I’d say yes, holds up to the claim on this.
  • Breathability: I don’t think so. For as crazy as this shirt is with all the mesh like holes, it doesn’t breath all that well. There are a lot better options out there. Does it breath? Yes. Does it breath well compared to other shirts in this category? Lower end.

I’ll also note that this shirt is very durable feeling and I think you could probably spend a lot of time wearing this shirt with little annoyance. For my needs it is slightly below average on performance.

Conclusion

The shirt retails for $98, and I wouldn’t advise paying that for the shirt. If you find it on sale, or get a discount somewhere around the sub-$70 range then I think it is a solid buy. It will not wow you, but it is easy to wear and comfortable enough that it is hard to really complain about.

That said, the Western Rise AirLight (our review) is a vastly better shirt any way you slice it.

Not a bad shirt, wait for a really good sale.

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

Lululemon Airing Easy Short Sleeve Shirt Ventlight Mesh

Western Rise Session Tee

Note: this item was sent by Western Rise at no cost.

Along with the Movement Shorts (our review), I have been testing Western Rise’s new Session Tee which is made for active/workouts and is first and foremost made to be light and breathable. It is all those things and then some, let’s dive in.

Material

At first it seemed like this fabric might be at least 10% Magic, but Western Rise lists it as: 100% Deltapeak™ Polyester coming in as an 88 gsm mesh double-knit fabric. 88gsm. That’s insanely light, and in practice that’s what makes it feel like magic because it isn’t see-through or paper thin, it is amazingly light.

In addition to weighing nothing, the material itself has a very soft hand feel, and makes no noise at all. I am a huge fan of this fabric.

Fit & Style?

This is an active shirt, so style is dead on with active, I guess. The shirt has an athletic fit, and my standard size large fit me nicely.

The bottom of the shirt has rounded corners, and gives it a bit of a unique look, instead of just a straight across hem common in many active shirts. Overall, a good solid athletic style for an athletic shirt.

Performance

So, let me be clear about how I have been testing this: I’ve been wearing this while rucking with my super abrasive GORUCK Rucker, and doing that in the August heat of Houston, which has consistently been about 90°F, and add about another 10°F to that for the “feels like” with the humidity. In other words: I have been testing in this in hot and humid weather, and been sweating in it a lot, while also grinding the material against 1000D Cordura.

Most of the shirts I test like this, fail quickly.

That has not been the case here. So let me bullet this out:

  • Breathability: I own no other shirt as breathable and as comfortable as this shirt is to wear when I work out. Every other shirt I have causes me to build up sweat faster than this shirt under nearly identical situations. This shirt excels for this.
  • Moisture Control: it does get wet, yes, but it dries insanely fast. I have not yet had to toss this in the drier, because you pull it out of the washer and it is nearly ready to wear, hang it, and it’s dry faster than the next time I come to check on it. Even with sweat, it is almost like the shirt hates being wet, and starts drying as soon as you give it a chance to.
  • Odor Resistance: look, given the amount of sweat I have put in this shirt, I have yet to smell any odor, but I have also not been trying to wear it multiple times. There’s little to no need — it dries too fast after washing to not wash it. But I do think it resists odors well, as many of my other active shirts will have smells even after one hard workout in them — this shirt never smelled.
  • Durability: as I mentioned, GORUCK bags on workout shirts can be a death sentence of pilling for shirts. Not so with this one. It shows zero signs of wear. I am shocked.

As I implied at the start of this review, this shirt performs very well.

Overall

I love this shirt, and while $68 might seem steep for an active wear t-shirt, I can assure you it is worth every penny. I’d like to own more, and hope that they expand the color range. I have the Ash color and love it, I’d love more colors — but truthfully you only need one of these, even if you work out daily. Ok, two would make life a touch easier.

So I guess I am saying you should buy two of these.

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

Western Rise Session Tee

Western Rise Movement Short

Note: these were provided free for review.

Living in Houston can quickly make you appreciate a good pair of workout shorts, and also quickly exposes the shorts that are more hype than performant. When Western Rise let us know they had new active wear coming out, I personally could not wait. I’ve been testing their Movement Short during my workouts in 100°+ F weather, and they have been great.

Material

These are 100% polyester and come in at a feather weight of 94gsm. Western Rise has also applied a DWR coating to them, which gives a nice bit of water repellence to the setup. While these shorts have no spandex built in, Western Rise does note that they have mechanical stretch. In my experience when companies say this, you can expect very little stretch, but on the movement shorts I was surprised to learn there was no spandex in the material — because they do have stretch. Albeit very firm stretch, they do stretch.

The overall hand feel on this is fantastic. The shorts feel smooth but a little soft to the touch and I really like the material.

Fit & Style

These are workout/athletic shorts, so we can skip over the style portion this go round. Instead, the fit on these is fantastic.

I got my standard large size and they fit really well. Snug enough that I don’t need to use the drawstring, even with a phone in my pocket, while also not feeling too tight at any point. My thighs have ample room to freely move and breathe, while the leg openings are not so large that you risk any ‘exposure’. Which is not important in the likeliness of it happening so much as the mental security it gives for people used to wearing a short with a longer inseam. At 7” this is a shorter inseam which helps to keep you cool, and give you full range of motion.

This is also shorter than many guys are comfortable wearing. Personally I think these are cut really nicely and fit well.

Performance

I tested these during my normal Ruck style workouts, in 95°F+ temperatures with the humidity soaring. In other words: I wore these working hard in the hottest climate I can safely handle. They performed extremely well, better than any shorts I have ever tested before.

They dry really fast, and they never seem to collect moisture. The few drops water streaming from my face when taking a drink never stayed on the shorts, and in fact no matter the sweat coming off my body, the shorts themselves never looked sweaty and gross.

They also come out of the washer almost wrinkle free and ready to go (what you see in the pics is the shorts after they spent the night wadded up in a ball in the corner of my backpack). The front pockets work well and don’t reduce the breathability of the shorts at all. The added zippered pocket on the left side is a nice add, especially for those not working out with a backpack to store their stuff.

Lastly, as you might expect given the material, these shorts weigh nothing. They are surprisingly light weight, and really I think my boxer shorts weigh more than these. It’s impressive.

Overall

I love these shorts. Not only are they going to be my go to shorts for active use, but I see no reason not to always pack them in my bag when (if) I travel again. They perform great, and get by in a pinch as a swimsuit, and take up no room while adding essentially no weight.

Highly recommended.

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

Western Rise Movement Short

Alex Mill Paper Cotton Popover

Popovers are all the rage for looking sharp and casual at once. Alex Mill offers a take on the garment using ‘paper cotton’, something I haven’t tried before. Here’s what it all adds up to.

Material

This is 100% cotton, so the difference in this is how the cotton is put together, not the material itself. The best way I can describe this is that if most shirts feel like construction paper (not super smooth, not rough, and maybe a little porous feeling) then ‘paper cotton’ feels like white copier paper. Dense and incredibly smooth, while still being very thin.

That’s paper cotton. It’s smooth (almost unrealistically so) and very thin.

Fit and Style

As I mentioned above, these shirts are very on-trend right now. They are somewhat like a mullet: business up top, party in the back? If you are only looking collar bone and up most will think you have a button-down on. But show the whole picture and — is this some weird polo shirt?

Either way, the fit is great, cut a little loose while still looking sharp. The style is what I am going to dub ‘laid-back but put-together casual’. Or maybe it’s more like ‘poolside cocktail formal’?

Performance

Nope. Sorry I thought it would perform much better. It’s wrinkly as hell, and thin, but somehow not that breathable. That’s not the entire story, but when I compare it to most of the other stuff I review for this site, it’s near the bottom for performance.

Here’s the deal: it’s made to be completely no-fuss. Toss in the washer, hang it dry, wear it. And in that sense the wrinkles and rumples become a part of the style. It’s what keeps it from looking weird. If you iron/steam this then the looks is really like a mullet. If you leave it be, the look is relaxed. So in that vein, there is a nice style-performance with the care of this.

The last point is that it is weirdly not the breathable. However the thinness also means it doesn’t insulate at all, thus it actually wears well in warm-to-cold environments. Think those that take you from a hot outside, to a chilly AC interior. You won’t be overly hot outside, and the shirt does dry fast if you sweat in it. And inside the AC doesn’t seem to be penetrating your soul through the shirt. Very hard to describe. It’s light without being breezy.

Overall

I still really like this shirt, and would wear it all the time for work from home. But it’s not performance. So while I recommend it, I don’t in the vein of performance, as a standard athletic poly shirt performs better. But, of all the shirt-sleeved items I have reviewed on this site, none look as good as what Alex Mill made here.

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

Alex Mill Paper Cotton Popover

Alex Mill Blazer

Alex Mill is a small clothing house which makes items tailored towards a more modern casual to smart casual wardrobe. One thing which caught my eye about the brand is how they take a style first approach towards making functional clothing. It’s almost like classic items with modern cuts and subdued performance highlights. Their Mill Blazer seemed to fit a hole I had perfectly, so I snapped it up to throw on for work, or a night out.

Material

This is the cotton-twill variant which is 98% cotton, and 2% spandex. The jacket is unstructured with no lining or any other details. The hand feel is fantastic, thick and durable feeling but still soft to the touch.

Interestingly, the 2% spandex is actually noticeable when you wear the jacket. It’s not going to make you feel like you have full and free movement, but it is enough to allow give where and when needed. More than that, this allows the material to look and drape properly.

Fit and Style

Aces on both here. The style is great, it will dress up a casual outfit, and tone down a more dressed up look. The Vintage Kahki color is also great, and pairs well with most pants that I wear.

My standard size large produced a great fit, and you’ll find it is a more tailored fit than not. I think their size charts accurately reflect the fit of the items. The style itself is a casual blazer, which means it will dress up a pair of jeans, and dress down nicer chinos. Dead on smart casual for style here.

Performance

Unfortunately, the performance of this jacket isn’t there. It wrinkles when you wear it, the weight is mid-weight and will work well in cooler, but not cold weather. It soaks up water, no repellency here.

The only performance aspect is the minor stretch — which I think is quite nice, but certainly not enough to stand up to the Kinetic blazer. When compared to other performance blazers, this one fails. When compared to stuffier blazers I have owned in the past, this is a refreshing change.

Overall

Here’s the thing, it is super comfortable to wear this jacket all day long. I love the fit and style and that alone means that the touch of stretch is welcomed. However, it is hard to compare it to the other blazers I have reviewed for this site. Every other blazer listed on this site, is a better performing garment — flat out.

That said, every other blazer reviewed here to date, cannot hold a candle to the Mill Blazer when it comes to style. The Mill Blazer is cut better, wears better, and looks correct. There’s an odd balance there. When paired with a high performing shirt, the blazer works well and as long as you wear it in normal temps for normal tasks you are fine.

You’ll need to decide which is more important: style, or performance. I have yet to find a blazer that does both well.

For me, this will not make it in my suitcase when I travel for work, but will likely be my go to when I travel for personal trips. It will also likely become my go to blazer for the office as well.

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

Alex Mill Blazer

Bonobos Short Sleeve Linen Henley

I’ve been looking for more warm weather shirts to wear and test out, and came across the Bonobos Linen Henley. I grabbed one to test out, and while nice, it is an imperfect shirt.

I’ve been testing it in the heat for some time now, so let us dive in.

Materials

This is a 100% linen shirt with a very open knit to it. The linen itself is still a little rough feeling, but as typical with linen it should soften over time. More than the fabric, it is the open knit of the shirt which really stands out here.

It can almost feel see through at times, and yet the fabric itself feels substantial. From that perspective, it is really neat.

Fit and Style

This is a great looking Henley, with a sweater like look, but still light and airy. There is a slight cuff around the waist and the arms to enhance the sweater like feel to the style. Overall the style of the shirt is fantastic.

The fit is where things get tricky with this shirt, I ordered my normal Large, but should have tried to get a large-tall in this shirt as I find the body to be short feeling. But in appearance it doesn’t look short at all — I can’t reconcile that for you. I think the cuff around the waist makes the shirt feel like it is constantly riding up your waist all day.

One thing to note is that the shirt does tend to shrink up vertically after being washed and hung to dry. You can pull it once dry to get the length back and it stays until washed again, which is nice. However be warned that any pull on this shirt, if not done carefully and evenly, will result in warping and stupid looking spots on the shirt. Very odd. The fabric, even when hung dry, tightens back up and requires a bit of tugging to get it back to the shape it came in, but that’s rife with problems as the fabric shows any little mishap in your tugging on it.

Performance

The idea with this shirt is that it is a sharp looking Henley which wears cool. Both the linen fabric, and the open knit lend itself to being exactly that. But, the shirt falls down a bit when you really put it to the test. Because in the hot and humid outdoor weather here in Houston, this shirt fails.

The shirt soaks up moisture and seems to hold on to it. While the shirt is breathable, that goes away once wet with sweat. This is one of the warmer shirts I own to wear outdoors, and yet it wears cool inside where the AC is in full effect.

My bet is that in a drier climate this would be great even outdoors, but otherwise it doesn’t work well in the humidity. It gets wet enough that I had trouble taking the shirt off, so yeah. Those of you in Arizona might love this.

I’ll stop short of saying it doesn’t perform, because it does wear very nicely indoors and on less humid days. But I will say to avoid this if you live somewhere humid. There are better options, even other linens perform better in humidity.

Overall

Not great for hot and humid, but still pretty solid and a really good looking shirt. If you can find it on sale, go for it. Otherwise you might look towards different options.

At $88, I would pass on it.

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

Bonobos Short Sleeve Linen Henley