Rethinking – Outlier’s Blazed Cotton Pivot Shirt

Outlier Pivot Dress Shirt Outlier Blazed Cotton Pivot Shirt

In my early thirties I worked out at a gym down the street from my studio in Toronto. As far as gym's go it wasn't particularly social, the young business types it attracted were too busy for chit chat and wanted to get in and out fast. The girl on the stair climber had been coming in for months to occupy a spot immediately in front of the bike I habitually warmed up on. She was beautiful and completely unapproachable, isolated by headphones and manic exertion. Like clockwork ten minutes into my warm up she'd appear, step onto her machine with her back to the room and climb for an hour. She never said a word to anyone though everyone, male and female was aware of her presence.

I don't remember when it happened but one night there was a nod of recognition exchanged between us. At some point she'd noted the familiar guy riding off her left shoulder in the mirror; she never turned around but in the weeks that followed the reflected smile became a regular thing. I suppose it would have been easy to get off the bike and just say hello but the mirrored circumstances called for something more creative.

With a little assistance from one of the female staff I planned a novel introduction. I'd noted the format of the gym's minimal signage, tiny debossed metal tags discreetly sprinkled throughout the facility. I had a special sign made in that identical format which my accomplice matter-of-factly applied to the edge of the mirror in front of the stair climbing beauty. In 24pt type it read "Riders in the mirror may be more interested than they appear". It took the girl a minute or two to glance over at the newly applied tag, and I enjoyed watching her initial puzzlement give way to recognition before a big smile broke out and she lifted her eyes into the mirror to see me smiling back at her. I didn't have to say anything because I was wearing a T-shirt which read in mirror-image type "maybe we should have dinner". It was the first time I'd ever seen the girl laugh as she turned around to look directly at me. Mission accomplished.

The moral of the story. Sometimes you have to look at things differently to make an impression.

Outlier Blazed Cotton Pivot Shirt

I think Outlier have done just that with their Pivot shirt innovation. The shoulder construction is noticeably different on the Blazed Cotton Shirt than anything else in my wardrobe. The pivot is not your typical set-in sleeve, instead it extends into a generous vertical panel that runs from shoulder to tail on the back of the shirt. You can find a great illustration of the construction on the Outlier site. Currently three of the four Outlier shirt designs featuring the pivot sleeve are in stock (The California Pivot Shirt, The Supermarine Rain Shirt and The Blazed Cotton Shirt). The latter two share the same cut and details, with the Blazed Cotton serving flexible fashion on or off the bike and the Supermarine Rain Shirt going beyond the call of duty to survive the occasional downpour with panache.

Outlier Blazed Cotton Pivot Shirt

The slippery smooth face of the Blazed Cotton shirt is the product of mills in Austria and Switzerland. It gets the same Schoeller NanoSphere® treatment we've seen employed by our friends on Perren Street. From there the cotton is shipped to the U.S. where the experienced hands of the New York's garment district cut and sew the finished shirts. It's a very clean look, tucked or un-tucked.

Ordinarily I hate chest pockets... to my eye they look sloppy whether or not there's anything in them. On the subject of pockets I've been known to keep them sewn shut permanently for that very reason. The Outlier chest pocket, neatly hidden behind a sharp flap is more design detail than functional addition. Please don't put anything in it and spoil the clean lines.

Outlier Blazed Cotton Pivot Shirt

The collar is sharply reinforced with stays, always the hallmark of a good shirt that will keep its appearance through many launderings. Show me a well-dressed man and I'll show you someone who knows his way around a steam iron. There may be no better way to gauge the craftsmanship of a dress shirt than to iron it. Poorly cut shirts are a nightmare on the ironing board, while well made ones lay flat and press true. Washed on a gentle cycle and line dried the shirt looks entirely presentable, but pass an iron over the Blazed Cotton and it snaps to attention.

Ultimately you can't beat cotton. While other man-made and natural fibers have made inroads into our closets, many of them have a residual itch factor that cotton is immune to. Do yourself a favour and order one of the pivots I think you'll be very pleased with the fit, finish and longevity of a beautiful shirt. I guarantee you'll spend more time wearing it than ironing it.

Outlier Blazed Cotton Pivot Shirt

17 Responses to Rethinking – Outlier’s Blazed Cotton Pivot Shirt

  1. Jon Moss says:

    Nice review Michael, and I love the gym strategy!

    I’ve got a couple of pairs of Outlier trousers which are superb apart from the fact I’ve lost so much weight, they are now too big. Hey ho.

    Quite fancy a shirt, and have you seen the shoes? >



  2. Jon,

    Just saw the Outlier shoes. Very classy.

    Wish I had your weight loss problem. Did manage two rides so far this week, so things are finally heading in the right direction.

    I’ve been enjoying some of the twitter links you’ve been posting… read the Libyan/Lockerbie piece this morning.


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  4. Best gym story I’ve ever read, all the world loves a trier. Especially if some effort is applied. Hope you both enjoyed a nice dinner.
    The shirt is a beauty, cotton is king without doubt, but image two is intriquing from the stance point of view, was it drip dry, or just a shake to get the creases out?


    • Hi Douglas,

      As I recall those little “tags” (I had to buy a minimum of 2) were damn expensive. All told production time for tags and t-shirt was about three weeks. Good thing she didn’t cancel the gym membership in the interim.

      I always give the shirts a good shake before hanging them up “down on the green at PAB”. The shirt was ironed too, but with all the still photos I experimented with the night before, it was not quite as crisp as when it came off the ironing board.


  5. Scott says:

    What size shirt are you wearing in the photo’s?

  6. Minh says:

    What kind of pants are those? Kindda digging the whole “kit”.

  7. Eric says:

    Hi Michael, This Outlier shirt and pant review is beautifully done. It’s been a long week in the office so please forgive me but am I the only one to suggest that the image with the fence as backdrop seems to make it appear that you are peeing? Great shots of course; I just thought it was amusing. Have a nice weekend and ride safely if you go.

    • Thanks Eric,

      Yes, that thought occurred to me too… but it was the best shot showing the back of the shirt given limited shooting time.

      You have a good weekend too


      • BR says:

        He has scolded me for my public relief exploits so he is definitely not exercising his caveman DNA that allows this.

  8. Aha another analytical mind.

  9. Aidan says:

    hold on a sec! how did the gym story end, was she nice? you go out? you stay together? I want more details! nice shirt by the way

    • Congrats Aidan,

      I wondered how long it would take someone to ask. We chatted for 20 minutes that night, she loved the gesture but unfortunately she was already involved. I think the story was worth the effort though. Through far less creative means I met someone else at the gym months later… funny how that works.


      • Aidan says:

        Damn, sorry to hear she was already committed. Im going after a gorgeous gal right now as well and have been thinking of ways to get to talk to her, nice to hear your strategy. I think if I just ramble on about cycling she might think im cool ahah but even if I try not too im sure I will end up talking about Andy Schleck non stop! I find it hard someones not to hog the conversation and just let them talk, I need to mentally tell myself to shut up.