Here is a dose of daily trivia for you, courtesy of Wikipedia: The polo style shirt that we all know and love was invented in 1929 by , the French 7-time Grand Slam tennis champion, as an alternative to the era’s “cumbersome and uncomfortable” tennis court attire. In the 1930s, polo players discovered the comfort of wearing the “Chemise Lacoste” versus their own overly formal field attire, and so the “tennis shirt” became known as the “polo shirt”, even among tennis players. Furthering the Polo connection, Ralph Lipschitz Lauren started his Polo line in 1967, which prominently featured his version of the classic polo shirt.
I think that it would be safe to bet that everyone reading this review has at least one polo shirt hanging in their closet, and whether its left breast carries an embroidered crocodile, polo player, tiger, owl, eagle, penguin, some other emblem – or no logo at all, polo shirts are generally seen as the perfect solution when something dressier than a t-shirt but less formal than a button front shirt is required.
I am also sure we can agree that the classic cotton pique polo is one of the few articles of clothing that looks good on both men and women; it is truly a unisex design. Soft, comfortable, easy to care for, and technically acceptable in just about every social setting; wearing a polo shirt gives the impression that you are making an effort to look nice, even if comfort is really the main objective. Doug Goldring and I were both sent review samples of the SCOTTEVEST Performance Polo, one of SeV’s latest Technology Enabled Clothing (TEC) designs. The Performance Polo attempts to bring a much-loved classic into the 21st century. Is it ever a smart idea to mess with a tried and true favorite? Perhaps…as long as the new version retains the classic’s flavor while offering a compelling reason to perform the update.
My comments will be in black, while Doug’s will be in italicized blue.
Available in sizes ranging from small to XX-large, and in the colors smoke (gray), olive, and black, the Performance Polo is composed of 100% polyester “Cool Comfort” fabric, so that its “special wicking action draws moisture away from your body during hot conditions or activities, keeping you drier and more comfortable than cotton or traditional synthetics.” I like that the polo is available in multiple colors; and since olive is a favorite, I was happy to see it as an option.
I have to admit that I was maybe a little disappointed by the color selection. I received a black shirt, but really I prefer bright vibrant colors to Earth tones. I would have liked more selection, particularly a navy blue or lighter green shirt.
Perhaps if the reception to these shirts is as favorable as I suspect it will be, Scott will consider adding even more colors.
photo courtesy of SeV
What makes this particular polo shirt different than the classic, is the addition of a “strategically located chest pocket [that] is big enough to hold your cell phone, a Blackberry, or a 60 GB iPod.” Through the use of SeV’s exclusive Weight Management System, weight is distributed evenly “limiting stretching and sagging around the neckline.” Like other SeV garments, the polo has their patented Personal Area Network (PAN) which provides “built-in wire management and quick, tangle-free access to your earpieces.”
Let’s take a look at the shirt…
I was sent the olive polo in small; Doug received a black XL polo. My first impression of the shirt was mild disappointment that it wasn’t composed of the classic pique cotton. I know that the whole point of this updated version is modern utility using an improved performance modern fabric, but this was one area where I wished for the familiar. However! I do want to say that after wearing the shirt outdoors today, I gained a huge appreciation for the fabric. Yes, even girls perspire, yet I never felt clammy or sticky while running errands. I bet that guys on the golf course will greatly enjoy the performance fabric and its wicking abilities, as well as anyone else that spends a lot of time outdoors. Of course, many of us geeks spend a lot of time inside…so a cotton version would be a welcome addition.
I had exactly the same first impression. I wear piqued cotton polo (or Polo if you are a Ralph Lauren fan) almost every day during the summer. I love the way they fit and feel. I did not think the performance modern fabric was nearly as comfortable for every day use. While I understand that this material is ideal for exercising, few people exercise in a Polo shirt. Most likely, this shirt will be used for every day use in air conditioned malls. I agree with Judie, when I wore this shirt, I longed for the familiar and comfortable piqued cotton.
Otherwise, the polo retains all of the familiar flavor of the classic: a stretchy collar which can be flipped up to protect the wearer’s neck from the sun (or just to look 1980′s cool), a three button placket with the reinforced “X-box” at its base, a longer tail to keep the shirt tucked in when active, and an emblem on the left breast. But in the case of this shirt, the emblem has been substituted with a 1/2″ zipper pull attached to a 4.75″ long pocket.
Inside the pocket, there is a 1″ long reinforced slit which will allow a set of earphones to pass from the device contained in the pocket to the shirt’s collar.
The design of the pocket is really what makes this shirt stand out from any other polo style shirt you could buy off the rack at JC Penney’s. The pocket is specifically engineered to be invisible from the outside. I have to say, I think SeV did a fantastic job here. Even with my RAZR phone secured in the pocket, there was virtually no bulge. Additionally, unlike the average pocket, the inside portion does not hang free to flap about when full. Go ahead, stick your hand in your pants (we won’t look). Do you feel that large flap of material hanging loose on the side of your leg? That is the pocket. When you stick heavy objects such as a Blackberry or iPod in there, the weight will cause the pocket to sway and slap against your leg. This can cause damage to your device, injure your leg, or worse…cause your device to slip from your pocket (though some people might prefer that last alternative). The pocket in the SeV Performance Polo is securely fastened to the shirt (see the picture below). This means that you can slip your device in here, secure in the knowledge that it will be safe from harm, damage, or loss.
On the olive shirt, the generously cut sleeves are attached with a slightly lighter color interlock stitch, which should hold up to years of abuse without chafing the wearer.
There is no attached interior tag on the shirt’s collar; instead, the SeV logo and the shirt’s size are silkscreened. This is a thoughtful feature which will prevent the wearer from suffering neck irritation from a wayward tag. I really appreciated this last item. It seems like a small thing to silkscreen a logo rather than stitching on a tag. In the warm weather, a tag can become a real irritant on a sunburned neck.
There are 0.75″ elastic loops placed at the top of each shoulder at the base of the collar. These loops are designed to hold the device carried in the breast pocket’s earbuds or headphone wires in place.
Instead of a logo or emblem on the left breast, the SeV Performance Polo stays true to SeV’s usual design and places their contrasting embroidered logo beneath the wearer’s neck.
A 1.25″ long TEC logo is silkscreened on the left sleeve…
…and a 1.5″ black fabric tag is sewn into the right hip, directly above the shirt’s uneven tail.
Here are live shots of both Doug and me wearing our respective shirts. For reference, I am 5’10″ and weigh 145. Unless you are a really petite woman, the polo will probably fit you quite comfortably – whether tucked in or not.
I am attaching two pictures of myself wearing this shirt. I know, you all are probably screaming at your computers right now: two pictures of Doug and only of of Judie…man did we get ripped off. And you will get no argument from me. The truth is, I am attaching two pictures because in one, the pocket is empty, in the other it is holding my RAZR phone. I will leave it to you to determine which is which.
I have to say I was extremely impressed with this shirt.� I am one of those people who is constantly smashing belt clips against everything in sight, sending my phone (or worse, my PDA) flying through the air in slow motion like a bad movie.� So, I really do not like using them.� As a result, I tend to rely heavily on pockets to store all of my gadgets.� Have you ever tried storing a RAZR phone in a pocket?� They either get lost in your pocket…or lost by slipping out of your pocket.� I absolutely loved the pocket in the SeV Performance Polo.� Not only would it secure my RAZR (or iPod, Blackberry, maybe even a Zune), but it is also easy to access if you need to answer the phone or just switch your iPod from Brittany Spears (so yesterday) to Gwen Stefani (notice I said your iPod, not mine).� Although the performance material did not leave an initially positive impression, I was impressed by how tough it turned out to be.� Nonetheless, I still prefer my polo shorts to be pique cotton, and I hope SeV will consider this alternative in the future.
The SeV Performance Polo is available directly from the manufacturer.
MSRP: $45 ($22.50 during SeV’s spring sale�- which ends June 10th!)
What I Like: The safe and secure pocket; well manufactured; stitching is extremely well done
What Needs Improvement: Other fabric options in addition to the Cool Comfort Fabric; more color choices