Staying Cool During Your Commute, featuring Ministry of Supply

May 15, 2014 · 17 comments

in Feature

Hey Gents,

I was recently sent over a few items from Ministry of Supply. I found the clothing’s technology interesting (I’ll get to specifics in a minute), so I told them I’d check it out and let you guys know my thoughts in case you were interested yourselves.

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First off, I have to say, these clothes aren’t made for me. Here’s why:

  • I don’t sweat very much (thank God).
  • I don’t mind sacrificing a little bit of discomfort to look well-put-together.
  • I don’t have a long, grueling, physically-active commute.
  • I’ve never witnessed a hybrid anything that functions as expected and actually looks good (case in point, the hybrid work / casual / hiking shoe… thing).

So you won’t be surprised when, at first, I wrote off Ministry of Supply and their line of “technologically advanced” clothing.

What’s wrong with regular cotton? What about a little extra antiperspirant? Is complete comfort really that important?

As time went on, I couldn’t escape MoS. Mentions of their goods were everywhere I looked.

Being the curious, inquisitive men’s style writer, I couldn’t help but ignore my preconceived notions and dig a little deeper. Coincidentally, around the same time, they reached out to me and offered me a chance to take a closer look.

Who is Ministry of Supply?

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I first heard of MoS after their crazy successful Kickstarter campaign. In fact, they go into a lot of detail regarding the technology behind their clothing, so I won’t do too much regurgitation (you’ll also find a more succinct version on their website).

Most interesting to me are the problems MoS’ clothes solve, even if I’m not directly suffering or experiencing these pain points on a regular basis.

Let’s go through a few of them:

You’re a sweaty mess.

The material that makes up the Apollo shirt and Aviator chinos is a special polyester knit that “encourages moisture to move away from your skin.”

“What about polyester? Isn’t it hot / bad for ventilation / not as good as natural fabric?”

I suggest going for 100% natural fabrics when you can, but in this case, we’re talking about gear built with a specific purpose in mind.

The Apollo’s polyester fabric isn’t the same stuff your grandma’s lilac leisure suit is made from (bless her heart).

This material feels light, airy, and soft, yet maintains its crispness like a nicely-pressed dress shirt. On top of that, you get the benefit of moisture wicking, which I previously mentioned.

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While I don’t sweat too much, I do tend to get hot quickly. Both the shirt and the chinos have ventilation inconspicuously designed into the garment, strategically placed in areas that often radiate the most warmth. I didn’t even notice this feature at first, but it’s certainly a nice addition.

I have to mention this: the inside of the shirt is ridiculously soft. It feels like the softest fleece sweatshirt you own, pressed down to the thickness of a dress shirt. Just looking at it you wouldn’t even know, but once you put it on, you’ll certainly notice.

You have a long, grueling, physically-active commute.

My commute is about 12 seconds, from my bedroom to my office. Doesn’t take much effort (or clothing, for that matter) for me to make it to work.

Then again, my situation isn’t common. I know most people endure long commutes, which can be made even more miserable by large fluctuations in temperature.

If you ride your bike or foot it to work, you can’t help but break a sweat before reaching your air-conditioned destination. And don’t you hate when, after a few minutes, that AC suddenly feels too cold, and your shirt a wee bit too damp?

If this situation sounds like your own, you’d benefit from MoS. They take the best stuff from NASA’s spacesuit technology (namely their temperature regulation system) and bake that directly in to the fabric they use.

Put simply, your body heat is pulled away from your skin when overheating, and redistributed back when your temperature drops.

I’d test this out more thoroughly at my gym’s sauna if not for the weird looks I know I’ll get from the old Asian ladies that monopolize the place. If you live somewhere that gets hot, humid summers, this will be worth your while.

You’re leery of hybrid anything.

Hey, I get where you’re coming from. I’m typically the same way. But think of MoS like performance gear for the working professional. Under Armour in a dress shirt. Your body doesn’t care if you’re at the gym or on your way to the office, it will sweat whenever it needs to. So why not prepare accordingly?

This isn’t high fashion clothing (not that I ever steered you towards high fashion anything), but is certainly built with high performance in mind.

I consider the MoS line to be utilitarian, and that’s a good thing. They’re very similar to the basics I tell you to stock your closet with, but with a nod to the active lifestyle, taking into account how you move, stretch, and overheat.

The brand accommodates for slim and standard fits. If you have a little extra weight here and there, you can wear the clothing and not feel like you’re stuffing yourself into children’s sizes. At the same time, the clothes still seem slim throughout, without being too tight (I opted for standard fit samples, so I imagine the slim fits to be even more form fitting.)

A quick look at the Aviator chinos

While the Aviator chinos share plenty of the same specs as the Apollo shirt, they have a few unique features.

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One particularly useful highlight is the rubber seam tape on the inside of the waistband. This helps keep your shirt tucked in and in place as you move throughout the day. If you’ve never owned a pair of pants with this little strip of rubber, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

The pants are comfortable to a point where it almost feels like you’re wearing track pants. It probably has to do with the amount of stretch in the material as well as the fabric’s brushed finish on the inside, very similar feeling to the Apollo dress shirt.

On the wearer, they look like regular, work-appropriate chinos, so you can rest assured you looked polished.

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Mesh pockets, extra cool

My only qualms about the pants—and this is just personal preference—is that they’re more of a straight leg model, and I tend to prefer a slight taper to the ankle. I’m sure a majority of their customers prefer a straight leg design, so I can understand why they went this route.

(Ed. note: MoS reached out and let me know their slim fit model has a tapered leg, while their straight leg model—the one featured in this article—has no taper. If you like the tapered leg as I do, your best bet is to go with the slim fit.)

Another slight inconvenience is that the pants come in a single length inseam, so you’ll have to go to a tailor, unless you’re an exact 34″-36″ inseam.

Not that big a deal, especially since most of us have to hit up the tailor for our pants anyway. You could also ask for a slight taper in addition to hemming the pants since you’ve already made the trip.

Thinking of checking MoS out?

If you’re an active guy and can’t help but work up a sweat during your work day, Ministry of Supply’s goods are worth your perusal. The clothing’s technology and design coupled with contemporary fits make this a worthwhile consideration.

Ministry of Supply was kind enough to offer Effortless Gent readers a free Generation 3 Core Baselayer with any purchase. Just add it to your cart, and use code Effortless14 at checkout.

Quick question…

What’s your commute to work or class like? Do you have to battle the elements and wish your clothes helped you out a bit? Let’s hear it below.

About

Barron is the founder and editor of Effortless Gent, a site dedicated to helping guys figure out what looks best on them. He's based in San Francisco. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

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