I should start by stating my biases: I love Woolrich. I love their aesthetic, I love their customer service, I just like them. That said, I tried to be objective in my appraisal of two items I got to road test over the past few weeks, the Tie-Dyed Stag Shirt and the Cotton Beach Towel.

By road test, I mean pool test, pond test, and beach test. It’s been warm (okay, unbearably hot) some of these days, so I was happy to have an excuse to wear a tissue-thin top and lay out the Woolrich towel next to cool bodies of water. First, I’ll talk Stag Shirt. This top is light and airy in a way to me that screams summer. It’s cotton, dries quickly, and lets the breeze in. I took it on a few weekend trips, and, yes, it wrinkles, but because of the tie-dye pattern, the wrinkles look almost intentional, and I always got compliments on the colors.

I’m not a tie-dye person. I like that it exists, but I’m not going to choose a tie-dye thing out of a stack of clothes. This, top, however, is stylish enough with its tertiary palette and horizontal lines that it looks more chic than summer camp holdover. The way the tie-dye has been designed brings it closer to a striped shirt (my favorite kind of shirt) as opposed to psychedelic vision.IMG_20160718_124324

The cut: the collar is small, almost Mandarin, and looks good buttoned all the way up, or not at all. It’s sleeves are rolled and cuffed to be cap sleeves that sometimes I like. On first wear, these looked great. After I washed (and didn’t iron), the cuffs were unrolled and messy-looking. They require some upkeep. If you’re not a tank-top person, this isn’t for you. Though it has some sleeve, it’s basically cut under the arms. Biceps will be shown. One of my favorite parts about this whole thing is its looseness. It isn’t fitted or darted (my peeve), but hangs straight down in a flattering way. It’s also cut a bit long, so I did not hesitate to wear it as a beach coverup (which is what all my clothes become in the summer). To dress it up, I wore it with some skinny jeans and chunky sandals like a stylish cowboy. I could go on writing about this shirt because I’ve come to really love it. It’s easy to care for, comfortable, and endlessly unique.

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Now for the towel! Break out the exclamation points! This towel is incredible. It’s thick, plush, and even managed to soften the concrete alongside the pool and the rocks scattered across the shore. It’s got a great pattern that reminds me alternately of Chitzen Itza and Tetris. It’s colors pop in photos and in real life. It’s easy to pick out of a crowd. It’s incredibly absorbent and warm, and perhaps best of all, it’s big. This is by far the biggest towel I’ve ever owned. It’s 40×70, which makes lounging on the beach feel extra luxurious. I took it on a picnic and it was comfortable for two. It gives you room to spread, and is able to envelope you after a cold water swim. IMG_20160716_133037252

This towel is an investment (it’s $49.50), but to me, it’s worth it. It’s been so useful these past precious weeks, and if it had been given to me as a gift, I would be eternally grateful to that person. If you’re looking for wedding presents, birthday presents, baby shower presents — whatever — it’s hard to imagine a person who would not use and love this towel.
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The only issue I had, and it’s a nitpicking one, is the flipside to its size. It’s thick cotton, so this thing is not rolling down to any compact size. Though it’s been great for day trips and unrolling in the yard, it doesn’t pack too well unless you’re bringing a big bag. If I throw it in a backpack for a bikeride, that means I’m not bringing much else. A magazine perhaps (ahem, ahem)? But, if you’re going for lightweight, take a camp towel! If you’re going for luxury and the best, comfiest, most beautiful towel on the beach, choose the Woolrich. Hands down.

[divider] Summer Stuff 2016 [/divider]

This review is part of our gear series featuring summer discoveries that have quickly become summer necessities.