Fair disclosure: I’ve reviewed a few products from GIIN in the past. I’ve also bought products from them as a result of my experience with the product that they sent me. I’ve written about the artisanship and the beauty inherent in their boutonnieres, and I’ve talked about the functionality of their undershirts; each time I’ve seen their products I’ve been thoroughly impressed. As a whole, my impressions of the brand have been excellent.
The Feynman polo is a shirt that has been in the works for quite some time now. GIIN—as a company—has a habit (detrimental for them, beneficial for the consumer) of performing extensive research, design, and testing for each of their products. This shirt has been a long time in the making, having seen several iterations before finalizing a product that they are ecstatic to offer.
A few years ago, I was at the Styleforum Maker’s Event in Florence during Pitti Uomo; one of the groups showcasing their products was GIIN, focusing specifically on their boutonnieres. GIIN is a husband-wife duo—Frank and Jen. At the time, Frank was wearing a product he was exceedingly proud of, but kept insisting that it was undergoing testing.
I remember admiring how clean and wrinkle-free the polo worn by Frank appeared after a full day: it was meticulous every time I saw him, and the simple lines of the collar and the silhouette made it appear–in the words of the Italians–elegante. They had hoped to have this product ready in six months, having already been testing and wearing it for several months.
Years later, the product has finally come to fruition. Of course, they planned on a full scale release early in 2020, but on account of COVID-19, production and logistics had delayed the manufacturing and distribution of their new polo shirts, and they were offering the shirts in limited quantities to Styleforum members. I was fortunate enough to receive some of them for review purposes, and having worn them for an entire year now, I can say I’m thoroughly impressed and I can understand how much effort Frank and Jen put into the product.
Although they are finally seeing some return to normalcy for manufacturing, COVID-19 kept Frank and Jen aware and made them rethink their original roots: producing quality products that last. As such, GIIN decided to remain as sustainable as possible and produce their shirts on demand—with a lead time of up to 14 business days. The product that Frank and Jen have put out at GIIN is perhaps the best product they have offered, specifically because it feels like a product that embodies their identity and brand itself. GIIN will be offering a promotional price on the shirts both to celebrate their product launch but also due to the short wait—however, I know they will get the polo shirts to you as soon as possible, since they seek to make sure the customer is satisfied.
It’s rare that I like polo shirts. Most of the time, they feel rudimentary to me, almost as if they are deficient in some way. The few polos I have enjoyed have had something particular that made me like them—something sartorial conveyed through a nonchalant essence of being; the Italians might describe this as sprezzatura. But for a polo, which has a utilitarian origin in its sport-use, it’s not about being that studied cool; rather, it is about owning something that is functional yet refined.
I’d describe the Feynman polo shirts as adhering to the Japanese concept of shibusa, walking delicately between elegant and simplistic, refined and rough. Because of the inherent sharpness in lines and form, along with the simplicity and utility in the material and make, these are now a quintessential staple in my wardrobe.
Although the fabric is jersey, it is GIIN’s own proprietary fabric–a 100% cotton jersey with a fair amount of stretch and a lot of breathability; its long cotton fibers allow for minimal wrinkling as the day wears on. It is a rewarding fabric in terms of wear and utility, and I would love to see the polo in a more expansive range of colors.
While most of you (myself included) would associate pique cotton as the essential polo fabric, I think jersey suit GIIN’s goals better, and this forces you to rethink what you are buying when you get a polo. It goes back to the ethos of the product: these polos are striving less for that structured cool and more for functionality and quality through a timeless silhouette.
Only offered currently in white, a light blue and a navy bordering on black, the colors are thoughtful without being overboard. Because they are trying to make staples that are functional, they need to be able to function not as just smart casual, but also business casual clothes. The polos are currently only offered in long-sleeve versions, but I hope that they expand to shorter sleeve ones for an even more relaxed aire at the summer grills.
The silhouette is contemporary—and the body of the shirts, while more tailored than classic, provides ample movement because of the jersey’s inherent stretch. I feel well dressed wearing these while still retaining comfort.
To provide more refinement, the shirts feature thick, beautifully iridescent mother of pearl buttons stitched a giglio (crows foot stitch), hand sewn gussets, and single needle stitched seams. Frank loves watches, so he paid attention to the cuff size of the polos, and made something that would be described by Italians as bean shaped: these cuffs have a bit more give around the opening but are tighter at the wrist closure and button, providing adequate space for a watch underneath.
After a year of wear in mixed environments – around the home, for zoom calls, pretty much whenever I went out (not that that happened often during the pandemic), I can say that the shirts hold up wonderfully: they have no issues with washing and hang drying, and they feature clean instructions printed onto the fabric (I hate scratchy tags). They hang dry fairly wrinkle-free thanks to the innate quality of the fabric and its own weight; a light pressing would remove any wrinkling altogether. I would not try to dry them in the dryer, lest the body shrinks in some way.
At the regular price ($95), the shirts that they are offering are extremely competitively priced.
As noted, there is a short lead time to receive the polos, as they are made on demand (up to 14 business days from order for delivery). For the month of June 2021, GIIN is offering a special to all Styleforum users. You can get 20% off the polo with the code SF, bringing the price to $76 each: an absolute bargain.
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments or in the GIIN thread.
This is not a sponsored article. The writer received the items for free in exchange for an honest review. GIIN is an affiliate vendor of Styleforum and you can see their thread here.
To read Styleforum’s review policy, please click here.
e. v. Empey
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