A while back I posted a thread entitled "The Great Polo Shirt Conundrum" (Available here for the curious: http://www.styleforum.net/t/337379/the-great-polo-shirt-conundrum). In it I lamented the weaknesses of the ubiquitous polo shirt, the boxy appearance, the untamable collar, etc. To that I would add the ugly elongated tail that most polos have to allow ease of tucking, see as I do prefer to wear square tailed shirts untucked.
Anyway, the first response I received in that thread was from Jonathan, founder of Vastrm, which specializes in polo shirts. Jonathan contacted via PM and asked if I would be interested in sampling one of his custom polo shirts at no charge.
Let me stop here for a second. Before I go one I would like to say that I am not affiliated with Vastrm in any way, nor was this review solicited. Jonathan clearly believed in his product and wanted to change my mind about polos.
Being a thrifter and a dedicated eBay shopper, I am always on the lookout for a bargain. Needless to say when it comes to some free, I'll take it in a heartbeat. After several emails with Jonathan I decided on the Country Club Blue polo with English spread collar and a no tuck hem (In other words, no elongated tail). Jonathan then said that he had just received some real MOP buttons which would go perfectly with this shirt.
Two weeks later the item shipped and I was provided with a tracking number. It arrived not long after with a personal note from Jonathan thanking me and hoping that I would enjoy the item. This is what I received...
This is a detail of the afor mentioned English spread collar option. I was kind of intrigued by a spread collar on a polo (and not a little concerned), the floppy collar being one of my major peeves with polos. RL Polo generally has decent collars in my experience but the English spread collar from Vastrm answered all of my concerns. For me, it is a great solution to the problem of lumpy collars.
Here is a detail of the fabric itself. I can tell you this, it is incredibly soft and breathable. It may still be winter for much of the northern hemisphere, but Dubai is always varying degrees of hot, so this light weave is perfect for weather 75 degrees and above.
The MOP buttons are nice and thin. Often you get those thick, clunky, buttons on polos, but these are subtle and elegant to my eye. I may never wear a polo with plastic buttons again.
The stitching seems typical and on par with most polos I have seen.
As mentioned previously, the hem is even at the bottom, eliminating that awkwardly long tail for people like me who don't tuck polos.
Being around 6 feet 1 inch, and fairly slim, the medium slim fit option was recommended and fits just as I like it, slim without being tight. The one criticism I would give the shirt is that the sleeves are a tad shorter than I would have preferred. Perhaps an inch longer and it would have been perfect, although with many polo sleeves reaching to my elbows in a size medium, I'd rather they be a bit short than too long.
And a fit shot.
For the curious, I paired this with Topman's "skinny chino" and a pair of sneakers from SLS.
Many thanks to Jonathan for allowing me the opportunity to try out this polo. The final verdict for me is that it is a very nice piece which solves many of the issues I have had with polo shirts. Sleeves are a touch short, but the other features make up for it. Although I still don't think I can fathom wearing this polo with a blazer, as Jonathan suggested ;o), it is a very nice garment and I will, in all likelihood, be a customer of Vastrm in the future.