Gear review

For someone who, by all appearances, doesn't care much about fashion, I'm surprisingly persnickety when it comes to seemingly trivial aspects of my clothes. For example, with button-down shirts, if the cuffs don't roll up right or the second button is in the wrong place (Seinfeld reference!), I'm unlikely to wear it regardless of how good it looks. Of course, I probably wouldn't know a good-looking shirt in the first place, so maybe that's a moot point.

But for me, fit and feel are much more important than looks when it comes to clothes and this is where many shirts – button-down or otherwise – fall short. I find this especially true when it comes to active-wear shirts that are supposed to double as base layers. I have many that I almost never wear because there are little things about them that bug the heck out of me.  

My biggest pet peeve when it comes to this kind of top, as a man with a decent-sized middle, is that so many wonder fabrics cling too snugly to my curves and even ride up my belly sometimes when I'm exercising. Seriously. I have an XXL base layer top with sleeves a foot too long, and I still feel like 10 pounds of sausage in a 2-pound casing when I wear it. XXL! I'm not that fat, for Pete's sake.

I also tend to run hot, so when things get warm, fleece isn't always the best choice for me. That's partly why I was so intrigued by my new Fisher + Baker Long Sleeve Crew shirt from the moment I touched it. Made with Fisher + Baker's Everyday Cashmere blend of 88 percent polyester and 12 percent cashmere, the shirt felt silky and cool to the touch – the kind of shirt you just can't wait to slip into. Yet despite its coolness, it proved its insulating bona fides on a ski day that went from warm to cold in a matter of minutes. It had no problem fending off the chill.

Fit-wise, it's exactly what I'm looking for in a shirt of this ilk. It's got some stretch to it, but there's no cling, and it stays pleasantly unsnug around the body parts I don't want to accentuate. I got an XL specifically because of my cling concerns, but I needn't have worried; a large would have fit just fine. That being said, the XL doesn't appear baggy or voluminous; it just gives my midsection a little more respect.

It's a great base layer, to be sure, but what's nice about the shirt is that it looks great on its own, an understated combo of elegant simplicity and classic style. No patterns or logos to worry about; just four solid, manly colors to choose from: gray, black, red or blue. 

At least, I think it's a great-looking shirt. As we've established, I'm not an authority. But it suits my style, or lack thereof, which is nice because I plan to wear the hell out of it. And while I'm at it, I also plan to get the short-sleeved version to see just how cool it'll keep me this summer.





Special Sections Editor