View Full Version : Safari style shirt made of worsted wool?
06-22-2007, 10:51 AM
My first post was in regard to a vintage cycling event I took part in recently. On the ride I wore a cotton poplin shirt made by Bimini Bay. However, once the temperature rose and I began to sweat, the downside of cotton reared its ugly head. That is, if you are going to sweat, cotton is worthless, especially in an environment that is more humid rather than arid, such as the midwest.
This event got my motor running - does anybody make a dress shirt or safari shirt out of very light wool, preferably in a solid color? Pendleton makes a shirt labled the "Sir" Pendleton made of lightweight worsted wool, but these shirts are generally a plaid pattern and I would much prefer a solid color, preferably white, off white or khaki.
What I would like is my exact Bimini Bay shirt in wool; lightweight, button down collars, tabs to roll up the sleeves, two button front pockets, nothing else.
Obviously one could wear a modern, light nylon adventure travel shirt instead, but what fun is that?
In the mean time, I plan to start wearing a micro weight smartwool t-shirt underneath the poplin shirt, at least that gets the cotton away from my skin.
Any other ideas out there?
06-22-2007, 12:58 PM
Poplin is usually considered to be a very thin, tightly woven cotton fabric. It is naturally "sticky", as it is so tightly woven, it doesn't breathe well. When I work outside, I often wear a white cotton oxford cloth long sleeve dress shirt from Wal Mart. These breathe fine, and are relatively cool and comfortable on me, considering that it's usually 95 degrees and 60% humidity....
06-22-2007, 07:16 PM
if you are going to sweat, cotton is worthless, especially in an environment that is more humid rather than arid
Actually, this can be one of cotton's redeeming features. For those like me who work in the swamps and backcountry of south Florida, high humidity makes cooling off a real problem (evaporative cooling from perspiration doesn't happen). Cotton, by retaining moisture, helps one to keep cool.
This event got my motor running - does anybody make a dress shirt or safari shirt out of very light wool, preferably in a solid color?
wool; lightweight, button down collars, tabs to roll up the sleeves, two button front pockets, nothing else.
It might not be exactly what you're looking for, but the closest thing I can think of to a wool safari-style shirt would be the M1937 Army shirt from WWII (see photo below). You can pick up originals on eBay or you can find quality reproductions from online retailers like WWII Impressions, At The Front, or What Price Glory.
If a lightweight summer shirt is what you really need, just check around at Walmart, Target, J.C. Penney, etc. The safari style is the big fashion thing for this summer and there are plenty of good, light shirts to be found. I've personally seen good ones at each of the three aforementioned retailers.
06-23-2007, 06:52 AM
The Berbers of the Maghreb ( Morocco etc) wear wool clothes I believe.
06-23-2007, 09:02 AM
I'm a sweater myself. I find 2 ply cotton "Traveler" type dress shirts made by Jos.A.Bank (http://www.josbank.com/IWCatSectionView.process?IWAction=Load&Merchant_Id=1&Section_Id=1400) give very good service in the heat. They stay presentable longer, and dry out and dewrinkle quicker. This is in part due to the firmer hand of the fabric (still lightweight tho - they've brought out a lighter weight shirt yet, the "Stays Cool").
These are standard business cut shirts - single patch pocket, no flap, no sleeve keepers.
The WWIIImp officers' tropical wool shirts might be lighter in weight than the M37s, but they're made only in chocolate green and pinks drab. These are of course Army cut - dual flap pockets, epaulets but no sleeve keepers.
Avoid the otherwise high quality Eastman Rangoon officer shirt - it's a stout gabardine, too warm even for springtime.
Travelsmith, Tilley, Orvis or L.L. Bean might have the safari cut in a high performance cotton of some kind.
Finally, polycotton blend gives me okay results as long as the fabric isn't too thin and tissuey.
06-23-2007, 09:34 AM
Try a old style cotton undershirt (wife beater) under cotton poplin. Works for me.
06-25-2007, 07:48 AM
Thanks for the WWII uniform links, I've not seen those before. The biking event is a bit tricky to dress for; Saturday was unusually hot, Sunday was much colder. Mid May in Minnesota can have strange weather that way. Oddly enough the worsted wool trousers I made into breeks were rather comfortable to bike in, even in Saturday's heat.
A wool shirt would need to be quite thin and preferably a more open weave, what I have in mind may not exist. In the heat linen may be the answer. Or, simply pack two shirts for next year and dress accordingly.
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