January 5, 2011  ·  style

The knit dress shirt alternative

The white woven dress shirt is just about as basic a staple as you can get, so we had this idea that a knit approximation would be a pretty swell winter variation on the theme for days when a suit isn't required (often) and nobody feels like ironing (days ending in "y"). So a long-sleeved polo is in order. We checked out two, both with a collar sufficiently structured to make it a legitimate stand-in for a dress shirt. Both have long plackets and a single pocket and both are machine-wash and tumble dry. American Apparel (left) is famous for how unremarkable their clothes are, but in our book that works for staples. The shirt we tested was only $27, nicely fitted, and made in the US of A. Material is a jersey cotton and just barely acceptible. And then there's Michael Kors' polo (right), made in China and sold at roughly triple the price. Materials are way better, with metal buttons and a satiny pima cotton. Unfortunately the fit is pretty loose and calls for a trip to the tailor. Also, it was made by one of the biggest douchebags in the clothing industry. Who wins? Well, fit can be tailored and the tag removed, but there's not much you can do about cheap fabric, so we're going with the constipated jackass and his sweatshop full of Chinese kids. But we aren't proud of it. The search continues.

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