It’s Masters week so get ready for incessant yapping about green blazers. While iconic, the Masters jacket is not exactly hip and rarely looks that good on the winners (save Adam Scott who looks good in anything… just saying). Even if you ignore the color itself, the Masters Jacket still looks like what your grandfather would wear. Still, there is not a golf fan on the planet who would not give up a right appendage to own an authentic Masters Jacket. Heck, even Masters winners can only wear the jacket for a single year while not on the Augusta National Grounds. Yup, when it comes to snooty, better than you, don’t even think about using that cell phone attitude, Billy Payne and crew are hard to match.
Zooop it what? For those of you who are not up on the latest fashion craze, the idea of a onesie for adults probably makes about as much sense as the FedEx Cup point system, but for those in the know, celebrities like Ryan Gosling and One Direction are making it the hottest new fashion trend. Ahh but not all onesies are created equal, and when it comes to single item comfort Zooop It Up is the cream of the crop.
When I was asked by Zooop It Up to do a review I was prepared to respectively decline. That is until I told my 15 year old daughter about the company, who, after a quick look at their website, was literally freaking out about the possibility of getting one of these ultra premium onesies.
Ultra premium? What the heck can be premium about the pajama style we all wore from age 1 to 8? Sure, we all loved our Star Trek or Scooby Doo pajamas with footsies but we are grown people now. Do you really think anyone who tips more than 25 pounds should even consider such a move?
First off, the Zooop It Up onesie is no ordinary jumpsuit. It is what I would call super premium. How so? Well, let’s start with the fleece material which is insanely warm and soft. Made from 80% cotton and 20% polyester, the Zooop It Up has found a perfect blend of soft. Next, zippers and pockets. The zippers are basically industrial strength. Huge teeth make zipping up and down a snap (actually a zip). Plus, for us manfolk, there are two zippers making it easy to get you our essential equipment. Even the ends of the zippers are large and easy to use. Not like the ones we had that would get stuck down inside the lining and required pair of pliers to find the tab.
Speaking of zippers, you will note the Zooop It Up has a hood which can be zipped all the way up. Perhaps not super functionable, but just in case you feel the desire, you can literally Zooop It Up all the way up.
For this review, I took the opportunity to use my trip to Mount Rainier as testing ground for Zooop It Up performance and style. NOTE: my trip to Mt. Rainier was not a simple plane trip. No, I spent two full days on a train traveling from Chicago to Seattle which would give me ample time to live the life of leisure aboard 1865 transportation.
Honesty time: I could not bring myself to wear the Zooop It Up on the train. I totally wimped out. However, my daughter literally wore her Zooop It Up for about 40 of the 48 hours we were crossing the northern boarder of the United States. From the cabin to the dining car to the observation deck and even outside in the bitter N. Dakota train station to take in some sights, the Zooop It Up was the outfit of choice. Why, you ask? Let’s talk performance.
Back to me. Safe in the comfort of our rental house, could I possibly pull off a golf ball printed onesie? Probably not but I had a job to do and I was dead set on getting some feedback from by friends. Without warning I marched into the kitchen head to toe in pure comfort. Casually making a cocktail, I inquired what was the dinner plan. Unexpectedy, the response was not “what in the heck are you wearing”. Instead it was “we are having pasta and by the way, nice outfit”. The fact is I got zero ribbing from my fellow vacationers. Thinking I would just make a quick appearance then get back in a pair of jeans, I ended up donning the Zooop It Up the entire evening. The way I saw it, heck I was on vacation and nothing says “I am off the clock” like Zooop It Up.
So yea, Zooop It Up is not your mainstream outfit but neither was LoudMouth Golf Apparel and guess what, they make about a bazillion dollars in sales. Zooop It Up is similar in that fashion. Founded by a man who went through a tough period in life in which he wore varying quirkily-styled underwear, Zooop It Up is trying to turn the world of comfort wear on it’s ear.
Zooop It Ups come in a ton of styles. They offer both long and short version so you can have one for warmer temps. They also have a Terry Cloth model which is lighter than the fleece.
Zooop It Up onesies can be purchased on the Zooop It Up website.
Each year I probably review about 30 golf polos. What I have found is that aside from the style of the shirt, it is the tailoring that becomes the deciding factor on how much I like the shirt. This of course is a bit unfair as body shapes come in all sizes . . . ideally, you could choose both the pattern and the exact sizing specifications, but alas this business model rare in the golf attire world.
Fortunately, the dress shirt world has found a way to make custom dress shirts for basically the same price as off the rack shirts. How? No idea, but I am 100% on board with the concept. The added benefit is that once you get your measurements, you can order additional shirts with no extra work.
For this particular review, I worked with Lewis & Taylor Shirt Makers. Lewis & Taylor offer nearly 500 fabric options that range from $27 to $160. Along with fabric options, you can choose 5 different buttons, 10 collars, 8 cuffs, 3 plackets, 4 yokes, 2 tails and options to add pockets and monograms. I am no math major but I am pretty sure there are about one zillion possible combinations.
As a general rule, I like to review products on the higher end of any given brand’s price scale as I think it gives me the opportunity to really see what they have to offer. However, for this review, I wanted to see what the $37 shirts would look like as it seemed so economical and such a no brainer if in fact they turned out to be a legit shirt.
For those of you who have to put on a button down for work, spending $120 per shirt is a bit much, but $37 is really pretty reasonable, especially if it is custom tailored.
The process for ordering your shirt is pretty easy, although it will take about 30 minutes to complete depending on how quickly you can choose a fabric. As I mentioned, Lewis & Taylor offer nearly 500 fabrics so narrowing it down can be a little taxing. Luckily, you can sort by price which will help to narrow the choices. However, the fabric swatches are a touch small so you will have to use your imagination (or bring in your lady friend to get her advice). Once you choose the fabric, it is just a matter of landing on the other options, i.e. placket style, button color, cuffs and monograming.
Again, these choices can be tough, especially if you have really never considered what kind of cuff you like (or even have). For me, I like to choose options that are a bit unique seeing that this shirt is going to be literally one of a kind.
When it come to measuring, this is where you want to take your time. Unlike most men’s stores, you will be asked to provide more that just neck and arm sizes. The Lewis & Taylor measurement guide will include 10 separate metrics. This process insures guys with huge biceps will have plenty of room and even allows for extra cuff room if you wear a big honking watch on your left wrist. So, as my old boss used to say when I worked construction, “measure twice, cut once”. I’m pretty sure it took me making way too many 6 ft. high walls before I actually took his advice, but heck, I am a slow learner.
Being a bit of a business model geek, I was genuinely curious as to how a company can provide such customization at such a reasonable cost. My hunch is that the fact that they are based in Hong Kong, Lewis and Taylor essentially sits in the fabric manufacturing center of the world and is able to eliminate any middle men from the equation.
Now for the million dollar question: how do the Lewis and Taylor shirts stack up against comparably priced off the rack shirts? As I mentioned, I did not go for the expensive fabrics but what was delivered was absolutely fine. Not being a big dress shirt aficionado, I am not sure if I could tell a $40 shirt from a $140 shirt in the first place, but I am wise enough to know when a shirt is made of cheapo material. In the case of the Lewis and Taylor custom shirts, I was perfectly satisfied with the fabric and construction. My only nit was the monogramming which did not “pop” like I wanted it to, but I put most of that blame on the fact that it was stitched over a busy pattern.
In the end, I am extremely satisfied with the process, pricing and fitting of the shirt. I now own 4 custom dress shirts and they have become my favorites mostly because they just are the best fitting ones in my closet. I can only imagine if I had a body shape that did not fill the center of the bell curve. So fellas, do yourself a favor and get a shirt that fits your body to your exact specifications. Plus, the chicks dig it.
You can create and purchase your own custom shirt on the Lewis and Taylor website.
Blank Label Custom Shirt Review: After 12 months of reviewing all things golf, I have found more and more companies whose attire is just as appropriate off the golf course as on. Coincidently, at the same time I was discovering this phenomenon I stumbled upon a company called Blank Label who makes custom dress shirts. I guess it is fair to ask what a dress shirt review is doing in a golf blog . . . it’s simple really, I figure if you read any of our apparel reviews, you are also probably just as particular about the clothes you wear off of the course. Hence, Blank Label falls into what we call “Golf Lifestyle”.
Just like your favorite golf shirt, a well-tailored dress shirt is indespensible. The very name “dress shirt” implies that you are dressing up so obviously it should look good. Sure you could go into your local Marshall’s and get a shirt for $40 and look like any other schmoe. Or you could go to a fancy store and choose from what they have on the rack and drop $250 and two hours of your life. Or, you can have your own custom tailored shirt made with your personal choice of colors and styles (and still have time to get in 18 holes).
Here’s how it works. The Blank Label website is super easy to navigate and allows you to literally build your own shirt. Not only can you choose the material, but you can choose collar style, pocket, cuff, placket, shoulder and buttons. Plus there are 3 monograming options. In my case I had the cuff monogramed and my name in the collar. Yea, it’s kinda nuts, but also pretty darn fun to mess around with.
Speaking of collars and cuffs, you can also add contrasting material on the cuffs and collars (ala Cam in Modern Family). With all of these options, I defy you to not find a style you love. While it may be a bit overwhelming to make all of these choices, it is pretty hard to go wrong. However, if you are stumped, the website gives you a head start on a bunch of good looking styles categorized by collections. ie sporting, everyday, imported, etc.. Still, I might suggest you also employ the time-tested “ask the wife” approach when in doubt.
Finally, there is the sizing. Blank Label has three options: tell them your sizes, measure your best fitting shirt or send them a shirt. In my case I simply measured a shirt. Stupid simple and now they have my sizes and any new orders will be seamless. If on the chance the shirt does not fit, they will rebuild you a new one and donate the other to charity (kinda sweet). So what does this all cost? My shirt was $95 which is on the low end but most shirts run around $100-$125. Again, not going to the Men’s Warehouse…priceless.
So here is the lowdown: you get the exact shirt you want, with a ton of options, in about 4 weeks at a significantly reduced price from that of a high end tailor. Plus they seem to add new fabrics all of the time so you will never run out of options. Done and done.
You can check and build your own shirt on the Blank Label website.
Leisure Society represents our first foray into what I would call “golf lifestyle”. While nearly all of the clothing made by Leisure Society is golf appropriate, it is equally or more so . . . simply awesome clothing. A quick peek at their website and it is clear that Leisure Society is targeting those who aspire to the finer things in life. While not everyone is comfortable buying pants for $200 or even $300, those of you who have a little extra spending money will not be disappointed.
Leisure Society has a full line of apparel including shirts, pants, belts and even eyewear (to be reviewed in a separate post). To illustrate the functionality of Leisure Society, the first time I actually wore one of the shirts was not on the golf course but at a charity fund raiser. I kid you not, a lady friend of mine unexpectedly touched the sleeve of my shirt and said “oh my, that is about the softest shirt I have ever felt”. Seriously, I am not making this up and I have no idea what prompted her as I have “no game”.
This is the essence of Leisure Society, apparel that is a cut above without screaming “expensive”. For example, the shirts are simple cotton with many solid colors or eye pleasing patterns. It is the deceptive quality and tailoring that is so impressive and while it may be lost on others, it is blatantly obvious by those who wear Leisure Society.
The two pairs of shorts and pants we reviewed were the Heirloom and Heritage. The Heritage may look like your run of the mill Khaki, but rest assured there is nothing regular about them. These 96% cotton pants and shorts are insanely soft and well cut. Nevermind the pocket in the middle back for you iPhone, I dig these because they are just plain great looking. As for care, they say to dry clean the Heritage pants and shorts, but I just throw them in the wash and they come out great.
The Heirloom pants and shorts are more dressy as they are 96% wool (although they do not really feel like wool). Clearly this style is not just for the course. While they are listed on Leisure Societies “sportswear”, the Heirloom pants will likely be your overall best looking pants you own.
On the accessory side, LS has a great line of belts. The buckles come in two basic styles, each of which is just understated enough not to be obnoxious, but unique enough to stand out. Again, these belts are versatile and can be worn anywhere.
If you have read any of my posts, you know I am a huge fan of belt buckles. While many of my favorites are fairly big, the Leisure Society buckles impress me with the attention to detail and the contrasting textures. In the case of the monogrammed “LS” buckle, it may be a bit gaudy but because it is not a commonly recognized signature it plays off as an exotic brand.
So here is my lowdown on LS. When Travis Johnson (former founder of Travis Mathew) set out to create a high end apparel company, he did so in such a way that the “leisure” is the central vibe. It is an odd juxtaposition for most of us who shop on the bargain rack to purchase high end clothes that at first glance do not look expensive. However, with a disconcerting eye you can clearly see the quality of the material and tailoring of the clothes. It is both of these attributes that are almost instantaneously thrust upon you when you first see and wear Leisure Society.
You can see the whole line of Leisure Society on their website.
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