Before I get into my full Taylor Stitch review, a brief gripe:
The world of menswear has exploded over the past 10 years or so, and a big part of that explosion has been driven by “fast fashion” brands that cut corners and use cheap manufacturing processes.
So while the sheer quantity of menswear options has increased exponentially, the quality of most new entries leaves a lot to be desired.
And more annoying still, you can’t rely on price to be a proper barometer for quality because a lot of the cheaply made stuff is marked up so high that it’s just as expensive as the rare, well made pieces.
So the stakes are extra high when buying clothes now, especially online. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to blow a lot of money on stuff that looks good, but doesn’t last.
With that challenge in mind, I recently spent a few months wearing the absolute hell out of two pieces from Taylor Stitch – the Long Haul Jacket and Rugby Shirt – to see if their claims are legit, or full of sh*t.
Read on to learn the full results of my Taylor Stitch review and find out if their clothes live up to their claims (and their price tag).
In-Depth Taylor Stitch Review
Is Taylor Stitch worth it? Let’s take a look.
Overview: Taylor Stitch
As mentioned above, for years guys have been forced to navigate some deceptively tricky waters when it comes to our clothes.
It’s into this quality gap that Taylor Stitch inserted itself about a decade ago.
Recognizing the dearth of well made menswear, they bill their clothes as being “constructed to perfection and responsibly built for the long haul.”
The sales pages for both the Rugby Shirt and Long Haul Jacket that I tried go to great lengths to describe the fabrics, specifications and construction process for each piece, which is in keeping with the brand’s general emphasis on quality and care.
So, is Taylor Stitch a good brand? Here’s a more detailed breakdown of my experience with each piece.
Taylor Stitch Long Haul Jacket Review
In Tobacco Waxed Canvas
The first product I was curious to try was the Long Haul Jacket, which looked masculine as hell in the pictures on their website.
While it’s available in multiple colors and fabrics, I opted for the Tobacco Waxed Canvas because I loved the two-tone look of the contrasting collar.
It immediately reminded me of the Levi’s trucker jacket worn by the character Steve on Shameless back in the show’s first season.
The trucker jacket look always appealed to me because it made the otherwise baby-faced Steve look more like a rugged rogue than the big city snob he turned out to be:
Shameless, Season 1:
Me, Watching at Home:
The first thing I noticed about the jacket when I opened it up was that it looked basically exactly like the shots on the website, which was a bit of a relief.
I’ve been burned before while ordering stuff online that looked way better on a website than it did in person, so I was relieved to see that the jacket was as advertised.
The jacket originally came in winter, which here in Toronto requires a lot more than a lightweight wax canvas jacket, so I had to shelve it for a few weeks when it first arrived.
But the nice thing about the timing was that I was able to start wearing the Long Haul Jacket as soon as the weather started to warm up – first as a base layer under a puffer vest and then eventually on its own.
So I got to try it out over the course of three months in a variety of different temperatures, weather conditions and activities, which gave me a more accurate impression.
Taylor Stitch Sizing
Fits True to Size (Unfortunately)
Before I get into my impressions of the quality, I should admit that I screwed up the ordering.
I prefer my clothes to fit slim, particularly outerwear pieces like jackets, which in my opinion look terrible when they’re too big, baggy or boxy.
I also find that outerwear tends to run large on me, so I’ve gotten into the habit of ordering one size smaller than what the sizing guides tell me I should go with.
But in this case I definitely should have followed the guide. A size 40 suit tends to fit me perfectly, and Taylor Stitch’s website made it clear that a 40 is a size medium.
But I thought I could “outsmart” it by ordering a small, and the results were… less than ideal.
The jacket fits, but it’s so snug that it wears more like a shirt, and my mobility is a bit limited.
Which is a damn shame because the jacket really performed well and would have been the perfect layer for doing yard work on cooler spring days if I had gotten the size right.
Fortunately, you can learn from my mistakes: if you decide to order something from Taylor Stitch’s website, trust that it’s going to fit true to size.
A Little While to Work In
If I have one complaint about the Long Haul Jacket, is that the waxed cotton version I got was a little stiff at first.
While cotton is obviously one of the softest and most natural materials, the waxing gives it a certain stiffness that I wasn’t expecting.
It’s not uncomfortable, per se, it just took a little getting used to the first couple times I wore it.
Fortunately, that feeling didn’t last long. After a few wears the jacket both loosened up, and started to sort of get used to my body:
It kind of crinkled and creased in all the right places, kind of like a shoe that you have to wear in.
Lightweight, Well Built
One nice thing about my sizing screw up is that the jacket is really lightweight, so wearing it as a “shirt” actually sort of works.
It’s definitely not a piece you want to throw on when the weather’s really cold, but it’s a perfect layer to wear on warmer days when there’s a threat of rain.
I wore it while out for a long walk and got caught in an absolute down poor, but the jacket kept me surprisingly dry.
After 20 minutes of pouring rain, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my phone was bone dry when I got home.
In addition to the rain protection, the jacket also held up well while doing yard work and chores around the house.
I wore it one day while moving heavy patio stones into my backyard, which subjected it to a lot of friction from the heavy stones, and the thing held up.
What’s nice about the waxed cotton is that it has an inherently rugged and imperfect look to it already, so beating it up a little and adding a few scratches actually adds character rather than taking anything away from it.
While I wish I hadn’t screwed up the sizing, overall I was quite impressed with the Long Haul, particularly with the quality.
Total Score for the Long Haul Jacket: 4.7/5
Taylor Stitch Shirt Review
A Closer Look at “The Rugby in Cypress”
The other piece I tried was a casual Taylor Stitch shirt: their take on the classic rugby shirt.
I’ve been a fan of rugby shirts since college (despite never playing the sport myself). I just love how they bridge the gap between looking well dressed/put-together and casual/athletic.
So I was pretty happy when I found the Taylor Stitch rugby on their website, particularly because they’ve opted for exactly the kind of details (or lack thereof) that I look for in a rugby shirt:
A contrast collar, a single, solid color with no stripes or patterns on the chest, and – most importantly – no stupid logo over the heart.
I ordered a medium in the dark green “cypress” color and was anxious to see how it performed.
Fortunately, my phobia about sizing applies more to outerwear than anything else, so I didn’t make the same mistake here that I did with the long haul jacket.
I ordered a medium, and was pleased (and more than a little relieved) to find that it fit like a glove.
The other thing I noticed as soon as I put it on was how strong the collar looked.
Some rugby shirts I’ve worn in the past have had the same problem that many polo shirts have: they come with weak, floppy collars that just sort of sit listlessly on either side of your neck.
But the collar on the Taylor Stitch rugby stood up and maintained its shape straight out of the plastic bag.
More impressively, it did the same after I washed it a few times. As a rule of thumb I tend not to dry cotton shirts and sweaters for fear that they’ll shrunk, so I threw the rugby in with the rest of my laundry and air dried it on a rack.
The next day when I went to fold it, I noticed that the collar had returned to its same, strong position, without needing to be steamed or ironed into place.
Soft, But No Stretch
Made from 52% upcycled cotton and 48% recycled polyester, the rugby feels kind of like a cross between a cotton sweater and gym clothes.
It’s not nearly as soft as, say, a cashmere sweater, but feels much more natural than cheap gym clothes, which are usually made by blending polyester with other synthetics like nylon or spandex.
The Taylor Stitch rugby finds a nice middle ground, although I don’t mind admitting that a little stretch would be nice.
I’ve come to really appreciate brands like Western Rise and Public Rec, who work stretchy performance fabrics into casual clothes like button-down shirts.
So while I love the look of these rugby shirts, I did find myself wishing they had 5% spandex mixed in to make them just a little more moveable.
Still, in a shirt like this some extra stretch is a nice-to-have not a need-to-have, so overall I was quite impressed.
Total Score for the Rugby Shirt: 4.9/5
The Reddit Taylor Stitch Debate
I tend to keep an eye on a few of the subreddits dedicated to men’s fashion, where Taylor Stitch’s name has come up a bit in the past.
But in doing research for this review I stumbled on a post from a couple years ago written on Taylor Stitch’s own subreddit, in which a customer called them out for moving much of their manufacturing to China but not lowering their prices.
Taylor Stitch co-founder Mike Maher responded himself with a long and thoughtful answer, the gist of which was that moving to China did streamline somethings for them, but didn’t result in a lot of cost savings because they only work with ethical suppliers.
It was an integrity move, but what I found equally interesting was the fact that none of the reddit users seem to notice any dip in quality after the move to China.
Often the “Made in China” label is synonymous with the sort of cheaply made crap I griped about at the start of this post.
While I can’t speak to Maher’s claims that their Chinese suppliers are ethical and treat their employees well, I can confirm that both of the pieces I tried were made in China but held up remarkably well.
Is Taylor Stitch Worth it?
In my opinion, definitely.
With the obvious caveat that I was lucky enough to receive free samples, I would say yes, in my opinion Taylor Stitch is definitely worth the money.
(And that’s especially true if you use the exclusive discount code for Irreverent Gent readers, about which more below.)
Both of the Taylor Stitch pieces I tried looked as good in real life as they did on the website, which itself is a somewhat rare and refreshing change from a lot of other brands nowadays.
But more impressively, I wore both pieces hard over the course of a few months, and both held up remarkably well.
While these are the only two pieces I’ve tried so far, they won’t be the last. I’ve already got my eye
While I haven’t tried any other Taylor Stitch pieces yet, my experience with these two was so positive that I definitely intend to shell out for a few more. (Some of their boots look particularly tempting.)
If their other clothes and accessories look as good and perform as well as the two pieces I tried for this review, then I’ll consider it well worth the money.
Total Score for Taylor Stitch Clothes: 4.8/5
More Men’s Style Advice from Irreverent Gent:
- What to Wear in the Spring
- The Best Summer Shoes for Men
- The Best Men’s Shapewear
- The Absolute Best Men’s Sweatpants and Joggers
- In Review: Vincero Watches
- What is a Professional Clothier? An Irreverent Gent Investigation
- In Review: Dr. Squatch Natural Pine Tar Soap
- In Review: The Naadam Cashmere Essential Sweater