Finding a great long-sleeved travel shirt that combines lightweight, compact, sun protection, wrinkle resistance and functional pockets with security features isn’t really all that hard. However, finding that same shirt in a style that doesn’t scream “tourist” and make you look and feel as if you’re headed out on a safari is much more challenging. In fact, one might argue the perfect travel shirt is as much art as it is function. Did I say art and shirt in the same sentence? Perhaps I am feeling a bit of love for the apparel company Clothing Arts, makers of my newfound perfect travel shirt, the Pick-Pocket Proof Shirt ($70). It might as well be yours too.
The Clothing Arts travel shirt starts with a choice of three neutral colors – tan, white or gray. I love the gray (sort of a charcoal) and tan, but found the white to be somewhat revealing, not of myself, but of items supposedly hidden in my nifty zippered security pockets, tucked discretely behind the two standard button pockets on the shirt chest.
I have hand-washed my shirts and even after hanging on dresser corners, doorknobs, TV corners, closet hinges and other creative means to dry while traveling, they dried quickly and, most importantly, relatively wrinkle-free — just a few tugs and pulls straightened it out. Out of the luggage, a short hang and the wrinkles seem to disappear too.
It is the fabric, what the company bills as “Nature-Like Nylon” that has me really smiling though. The drape of the fabric is soft, supple, flattering and insanely comfortable, even when it is hot outside – no more feeling like you have plastic wrap on a hot day like you do in some other travel shirts.
In sum, it dries quickly, washes easily, loses wrinkles like magic, and breathes well – like no nylon I have ever worn before. And since it boasts UPF 30 sun protection, I’m smiling even more. Oh, and She likes that I can go out without looking like I’m ready to hunt elephants.
I’ve worn the shirts for hikes, on planes, and in restaurants, and even for more than 24 hours while on and off trains, planes and automobiles in transit. The shirts still look casually stylish and, most importantly, I can blend in more easily with the locals. So nice not to have “tourist” stamped on your forehead because of the clothing you wear.
We discovered Clothing Arts – slogan “Rethinking the Art of Clothing Design” with its trademarked “Pick-Pocket Proof” designs (“P^cubed”) – a few years ago when founder Adam Rapp had one style of pants. He’s slowly expanded and this shirt is one of several that boldly steps away from the typical-looking, pockets-everywhere travel apparel. He promises a women’s version of this shirt in late 2014 or early 2015 – She can’t wait. His other pieces are certainly worth a look too. If you don’t mind the “safari” look (and it’s suitable in some situations), the original pants and shorts are amazing in their array of stowage features combined with security.
It is because of my personal love for this clothing friend – She approves! — and the fact I’m even wearing this “intended for travel” Clothing Arts travel shirt while at home too, that with pleasure we are bestowing a HITT Seal of Approval. Until the women’s style is out, I’ll have to keep a sharp eye out to prevent closet migration of the shirts from His side to Hers.