Well-known technical clothing maker, Taylor Stitch, recently released CIVIC, a new brand of clothing targeted toward urban commuters. Constructed from high-quality materials, like merino wool and Sorona, CIVIC offers a variety of benefits for travelers. When I heard about the new merino clothing options, I reached out to CIVIC to test their gear. They sent me three items to try out: the Antoni Tee, the Jack Oxford, and the Frank Chino. I thoroughly battle-tested these items on a visit to Seattle, a hike in Olympic National Park, and a camping trip at Havasu Falls. Read on for the CIVIC clothing system review.CIVIC Clothing System
You may be wondering why I’ve been referring to this new collection as a “clothing system.” The intent is for the items to be used together, as they enhance each other’s benefits. The merino tee serves as a great standalone tee shirt, but it also works very well as an undershirt to the oxford. Wearing a non-merino button down over a merino tee essentially eliminates the temperature-regulating benefits of the wool. The chinos provide a great complement to the look. CIVIC also offers a jacket to coordinate with the other items on the coldest days. Each item in the clothing system can stand alone on its own merit, but they all work together very well.
The Antoni Tee
I have absolutely beat the crap out of my Antoni Tee, and it handled everything I could throw at it! Built with a blend of 95% mercerized merino wool and 5% lycra, this tee shirt has a wonderful hand feel and significant stretch. Mercerized wool has a smooth texture and a slight sheen, which fades a bit over time. I actually prefer the fading, because it makes the shirt look less technical. The cut is quite comfortable, without being too slim or too boxy. I also personally like the heather look of the shirt, as it tends to hide small spills/marks/stains.
The Antoni Tee served as my only tee shirt for our four-day visit to Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula. I wore it every day, including walking 13 miles around the city and hiking 5 miles along Hurricane Ridge. At no point did I detect any odor! Even more remarkably, I wore the shirt for a 3-day, 30-mile hike to Havasu Falls. Despite my heavy sweating, and a huge backpack rubbing against it, the shirt never smelled or showed any signs of deterioration! Usually, wool shirts will show significant pilling under this sort of abuse, but the mercerized merino held up remarkably well.
As the first layer of the clothing system, the Antoni Tee is a great undershirt. I wore it under my oxford while walking around Seattle. It allowed air to flow through to keep me cool, while also providing insulation on a windy day. It also kept my sweat away from the oxford, so I didn’t get the dreaded pit stains. This shirt works well by itself, and it’s also a quality undershirt.
The Jack Oxford
The Jack Oxford is a long-anticipated new member of the exclusive merino wool button-down club. Very few clothing brands offer high-quality merino button-downs, so I was pumped to add another to my line up. The Jack Oxford features Merino 4S, a blend of 70% merino wool and 30% Sorona, a plant-based fiber which adds strength and softness to the fabric. If you find 100% merino to be “too itchy,” this shirt may be the one for you.
The fit is tailored, which I would describe as slightly more generous than a true slim fit. The tail of the shirt is slightly elongated, which helps it stay tucked when you bend over. However, the tail is not so long to make it look awkward when worn untucked. My one small complaint with the shirt is the sleeve length, which is just a bit short for my arms. Compared to my Wool&Prince shirts, the Jack Oxford’s sleeves are nearly half an inch shorter.
I wore the Jack Oxford to walk around Seattle, including a visit to the swanky bar atop Smith Tower. Worn untucked, the shirt offers a casual look. It easily converts to dressy when worn under a Bluffworks blazer. I also wear this shirt to the office regularly, and it always comes along with me for work trips. My favorite feature for work travel is the wrinkle resistance. Simply pull the shirt from your bag, fluff it a couple times, and hang it up. If it’s really been squished in the bag, steam it for a few minutes in the shower.
The Frank Chino
No clothing system would be complete without the pants. I was initially nervous to pack pants made of merino wool, because I worried about their durability. Fortunately, I was proven wrong! Not only are the Frank Chinos very comfortable, they also appear to be quite tough. Made from the same Merino 4S as the Jack Oxford, these chinos have a slight stretch and a tailored fit. They come in a standard inseam length of 35-inches, so you’ll need to tailor them to your specific size. I received my pair shortly before my trip, so I used the “cuff method.”
The first thing you will notice with the Frank Chino is the weight. These are relatively heavy pants, which limits their use to cooler weather. While they do breathe fairly well, I would not likely feel comfortable if the temperature was over 70 degrees. During our visit to Seattle, the weather was low 50’s and windy. These pants kept my legs very comfortable all day long.
Travelers will find a few of the features in the pants useful. Zippered pockets offer security against pickpockets. There is even a hidden, zippered pocket along the outseam. Slight stretch will allow you to sit more comfortably during long flights and walk easily through airports. If you cuff your pants, you will notice a reflective strip sewn along the inside for added visibility at night.
I’m very impressed by the CIVIC Clothing System from Taylor Stitch. Each item is nice on its own, but they all work very well together. A tee shirt, an oxford, and a nice pair of pants are essential items for any good packing list. If you’re looking to fill these holes in your travel gear, take a look at CIVIC. You won’t be disappointed!