Wolf vs. Goat Chambray Shirt and Bamboo Sorona Tee First Impressions (from Clearance Sale)
I heard of Wolf vs. Goat first when their clearance sale was announced a couple weeks ago. Those on the inside track of WvG have nothing but great things to say about Wolf vs. Goat, an operation run by Mauro Farinelli out of Washington DC, who sources premium fabrics and materials to make his own clothing line made in the US and Italy. To this point the company has been working on a membership system. Basically, you pay a membership fee of $100 and then everything you buy is at wholesale price. The clearance sale is even further discounted, and when it was announced a lot of people went crazy buying up everything they could get their hands on, so I had to do a lot of research pretty quickly to jump on something worthwhile as the sale is Final Sale.
Here's a bit of distilled information I found to be helpful:
- Fabrics, materials, and construction are truly premium and stuff you won't find in stores like J. Crew or Banana Republic (which is reflected in the MSRP) - specifically things like really interesting and luxurious textiles, real horn or mother-of-pearl buttons on all their shirts, and chinos on which I've seen pretty much 100% feedback saying are the softest cotton they've ever felt
- Shirts come in a few different fits: Before Dinner = slim fit, with subtle darting in the back, After Dinner = regular fit (for lack of a better term), and Monkey Arms = Tall. There are size charts available for each of these as well.
- Bottoms are currently TRUE TO SIZE. A bunch of people bought final sale pants in their vanity size (J. Crew, Gap, Bonobos, etc all use vanity sizes) and were way too small. If I recall correctly, I think Mauro said he was going to switch to vanity sizing because of how big a pain in the ass it is to have people order incorrectly. There are also size charts available for the more thorough customer.
- The website is a real pain in the ass. Items on the sale page don't get filtered out when out of size, it's difficult to sort, and things sometimes don't show up where they are supposed to. The chambray shirt I bought wasn't even shown on the normal sale page. Someone had to post a different page that you couldn't get to easily from the site. However, after you order you get an immediate email and pretty seamless order-to-delivery as you would expect from a smooth-running operation.
|Picture from WvG|
So I decided to try out a couple things after I read up on the past WvG forum threads and compared my measurements to the size charts and past fit experiences from customers. I ended up purchasing a chambray club collar shirt ($35) in Before Dinner fit in size small and a grey heavyweight long sleeve bamboo/sorona crew neck tee ($20). I was disappointed I couldn't nail down my size in the Enzo chinos before they were sold out in navy and grey, but maybe next time. Shipping was $10 for total $65.
The bamboo/sorona tee has quickly become one of my favorite tees. It's super soft, light, and breathes well. I didn't take as many pictures of it as its appearance at first isn't anything to scream about, but it drapes and wears much better than its pictures would be able to convey. **Update 2017** - This is still one of my favorite tees, easily comparing to higher end retailers specializing in garments like these.
Here are some thoughts on the chambray.
Construction and Fit
The first thing I noticed is that in person the fabric is fairly hefty and solid-feeling - I would not call it soft, though I have a feeling it will break in nicely. It also has quite a bit of texture and variation in the weave that I really like.
This particular chambray has a club collar, but there were five different chambrays that were made with slightly different cloths, collar styles, and buttons (MOP vs. horn buttons). The mother-of-pearl buttons on this shirt are really nice and add another subtle area of visual interest that plastic can't replicate. The stitching is immaculate and well done, with a high density compared to most mainstream retailers. Overall, the gestalt is that you're holding a pretty robust piece of quality clothing that should last a long, long time.
I am about 6 ft, 155 lbs (+/- 5 lbs). The chambrays come unwashed and due to the fabric are known to shrink a bit after laundering. I washed mine in cold water and then hung it up to dry without a lot of shrinkage.
I would say the fit is somewhere in the realm of a J. Crew regular small or Uniqlo OCBD - that is to say, it fits comfortably without any surprises. The darting in the back is actually quite hard to notice at first (a good thing in my eyes), but reduces some of the billowing that can happen with other shirt fits.
Impressions and Value
For what I paid, the chambray shirt was a fantastic deal (as was the tee). It has a beautiful fabric with some great fabric I really enjoy, luxurious finishing details, and fits well. Mauro calls the brand "disruptive luxury," referring to the cost/value ratio, and I think that's appropriate. So if you're wondering if the quality is there or if it's hype, I don't think fans are wrong. I would absolutely buy again - the real question is at what cost?
We all have our own personal thresholds as to what we would be willing to pay for a particular item of clothing, regardless of the step up in quality. For me, at this time that amount is <$100 for a shirt, and ideally a bit lower than that. It's recently come to my attention that membership prices currently get you a discount of 60% off MSRP, bringing a lot of shirts down to around that price. So if your spending habits allow, my experience would say that Wolf vs. Goat would definitely be worth a look. WvG also makes a whole range of clothes and accessories, so there are other things out there I'll definitely be keeping my eye on and would purchase at less of a discount.
Now is the time to get your foot in the door as the sale still has items available for what I think are tremendous value for the money. It's a great way to try out the brand as I did. Mauro is also very active in the WvG Styleforum thread, which is a good resource for further information on the brand.
**Revised to include more accurate pricing information. Apparently some chambrays are still in stock as well for $35, you just have to search "chambray" as they aren't showing up on the sale page.
**Update 8/27/17** - It's been a couple years now, and looking back WvG still holds up as one of the best values out there, bar none - especially on sale. The pricing model has changed (Mauro has tweaked the membership pricing over the years), so take a look at the retail site for more info. Both of these shirts are still old favorites I reach for when I want my "best version" of something. That says it all, I suppose.