Warm Weather Shirts – Barista Approved

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | May 15, 2009      
Backcountry skiing shirts

Cool Shirts

When you walk into a Starbucks and the barista babe says “that shirt’s got it goin’ on,” should you take such a comment seriously? In this case, I took the wardrobe eval as gospel because I’d received confirmation from Lisa just the day before that yes, the polo shirt draped over my manly torso is indeed fine. Now my questions are, will I ever take the shirt off, will anyone catch me checking my look in the mirror every fifteen minutes, and will my bride let me return to that particular Starbucks?

A few blogs ago I wrote about trying to pick a warm weather sun shirt that looked better than the old blousy button-down I’ve been wearing for years during backcountry skiing days. That ratty thing was offending baristas from here to Italy. Upgrading — now.

I like something with a collar that flips up for sun protection, and a neck that opens for venting. It’s most often got to be longed sleeved and ostensibly impossible for a mosquito or fly to bite through, with a relaxed fit that provides cooling as you move and is not too clingy. A few finds:

NRS sent over their guide shirt.
Definitely one of my favorites and best pick for an average to cooler day of spring backcountry skiing. Claimed sun protection of UPF 45 is awesome, but requires a slightly thicker and heavier fabric than my other choices, making this shirt a bit warm for the truly scorching days. Definitely bug proof, good collar, long front zip for venting.

For the sake of true gear head-ism I wish the following had not happened. Now I have to admit I was in Target the other day looking for a bathrobe. While involved in this quest for the ultimate, I happened to glance at the men’s athletic wear. Their Champion brand mesh paneled zip-t running shirt was on sale for $4.98, no lie! I’d like to say this thing is junk at that price and province, but it is actually pretty good. I bought two. Not sure how bug proof the shirt’s mesh areas are, and I’m certain it’s not as sun protective as the NRS nor as flattering as a polo. But hey, if you’re on a budget check it out. (They didn’t have any robes, by the way.) It appears the Target Champion stuff is a semi-rebranded version of these guys. Whatever, it works.

While none of the base-layer style zip T’s I’ve seen really fit the bill for hot weather hiking with sun and bugs, as well as restaurant sitting afterward, a few come close. The main thing is that they’re thin, so you don’t feel like a hotdog that’s been on the 7-11 cooking rollers for six hours. One interesting option in this genre is the Smartwool Microweight zip, which provides the comfortable moisture management of wool along with a pleasant feel and good odor control. Honorable mention to the OR Sequence zip T, which, while a bit heavy for our category, will work as a summer shirt in cooler climes, such as hanging out in the Colorado alpine during a backpack trip.

Lastly, you can always go to the thrift store and purchase an old button-down cotton dress shirt. I did that for years and will probably do it again. In that event, please keep your cameras stowed. Better, go modern — you might get a kiss from your wife and a free espresso at Starbucks.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


11 Responses to “Warm Weather Shirts – Barista Approved”

  1. Francisco May 15th, 2009 8:05 pm

    by Jane Kenyon

    The shirt touches his neck
    and smooths over his back.
    It slides down his sides.
    It even goes down below his belt—
    down into his pants.
    Lucky shirt.

  2. Njord May 16th, 2009 8:17 am

    I’m having a hard time visualizing you ordering a “Skinny 180 no whip Triple Latte Vente” at Starbucks…

  3. Lou May 16th, 2009 9:36 am

    More like a “double espresso, where is the sugar?”

  4. Mike May 16th, 2009 12:55 pm

    What the hell are ya doin’ in a Starbucks in the first place?

  5. ScottP May 16th, 2009 4:06 pm

    Funny you should mention the Target stuff. I’ve had good luck with the Target Champion athletic shirts as base layers (the tight, stretchy Underarmor style shirts). They wick moisture, are cheap, and I don’t feel so bad if I ruin one on a tree or rock because I can get another for cheap.

  6. Sean May 16th, 2009 11:11 pm

    heh heh heh

    Lou, are you going to start a fashion blog?

    I swear, the reference to poppable collars on a polo shirt, it makes me want to ask you how your polo pony’s been these days since taking that pelota in the lower leg last chukker..

  7. Tam May 17th, 2009 6:07 pm

    >What the hell are ya doin’ in a Starbucks in the first place?

    Yeah, exactly. Starbucks is evil. Don’t go there.

  8. Mark May 18th, 2009 11:04 am

    Starbucks arguably ushered in an entire industry, and that means economic development, jobs, products and services people want to purchase. How could these things be bad?

  9. Mike May 19th, 2009 8:59 am

    Just having a little fun with Lou -take it easy tiger. Or maybe you were a little edgy from your watered down, tasteless cup o’ joe from that local coffee shop killing corporation!

  10. Lou May 19th, 2009 9:23 am

    All I know is they have wireless and are the only coffee shop near where I swim laps, and their pastries are in a glass case that keeps the flies and sneezes off…I’m not of the ilk where I demonize corporations, and I’ll get a hot drink anywhere it’s available. All that said, yeah, just trying for some humor here.

  11. Bruce May 20th, 2009 7:04 pm

    I use to work with this guy who would climb anything in Eldo decked out head to toe in thrift store rayon. Smelled bad, but worked.

    So why does the world hate Starbucks? Roll back to the pre-Starbuck era, and remember there was no coffee house culture in most US towns. We met up at places like Village Inn. Bottomless cup of nasty. Seems to me they paved the way for all the non-corporate coffee houses.

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