I’m currently attending the massive Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City. The 100 degree weather has me pondering some summer shirt options.
The outdoor industry may not be known for being particularly fashion-forward, but brands like North Face, Timberland and Helly Hansen are generally reliable for a solid mix of function and form. Yet, it seems that every retailer here is offering – and wearing – the same utilitarian, boxy, short-sleeved dress shirts in unfashionable patterns. (Making things worse, many pair the top with capri-length shorts and sports sandals or goofy hiking boots.) Unfortunately, this is what the outdoor clothing industry is promoting as fashionable this season.
But a functional shirt – one that makes sense in the summer – doesn’t have to be unfashionable. The key is to keep things simple.
Stick with natural fabric shirts with a maximum two percent Lycra content. There is no way any of the techy, Under Armour-style shirts – offering “wick-away technology” – can compare to a simple, light Pima cotton for look and feel. I have also tried some bamboo-cotton blends lately, and they’re fantastic. And if all else fails, at least make sure your short-sleeved dress shirt don’t make you look like a boy stealing clothes from his father’s closet.
Keep it natural, keep it cool and keep it classic – despite what the outdoor industry is pushing.
Image courtesy of Dharmesh84.