They hopin’ that they gonna catch me ridin’ dirty
Tryin’ to catch me ridin’ dirty
It has been a while since I started a post with some hip-hop lyrics, but I couldn’t resist these few lines from Chamillionaire. They kept bouncing around in my head during a recent round. Don’t worry, though. I wasn’t transporting illegal contraband in the GolfThreads rig, but I was riding dirty after using my new State Apparel shirt and pants to clean my clubs and golf balls over the course of a muddy 18 holes. The horror!
Denim is often referred to as, ‘America’s napkin.’ Sure, go ahead and wipe those greasy hands from that burger all over those $200 designer jeans. Heck, I can still hear my mother telling me to stop wiping my hands on my rust-colored corduroy Garanimals as a kid. (Give me a break. I was 5 and it was the 70’s.)
Thankfully, I’ve moved on from the world of Garanimals, and Jason Yip, founder of San Francisco-based start-up brand State Apparel, doesn’t mind that I clean my hands, clubs and golf balls on his apparel. In fact, he demands it.
Jason is a veteran of Silicon Valley tech start-ups. He founded State Apparel last year with the goal of reinventing golf apparel by carefully integrating cleaning elements into water and wind resistant pieces to allow players to clean their clubs, golf balls and hands on their shirts and pants.
‘Equipment for your body’ has become a catchy phrase for many apparel brands recently. Sure, many modern fabrics provide moisture-wicking capabilities and mobility features, but State Apparel is really the only one that has incorporated a functional piece of equipment into its apparel. Not only that, but State Apparel’s felt-like cleaning elements have been elegantly and strategically worked into the design of its shirts and pants. On the Competition Shirts, the cleaning elements simply look like sporty side panels. On the Competition Pants, they have the appearance of contrasting accent pieces around the pockets and at the cuffs.
The split front pockets of the pants are also lined with the wiping material, allowing you to easily clean your golf ball while waiting for your playing partners to studiously read those three-foot double bogey putts from six angles. The cuffs of the trousers are quite cool. They can be flipped up to offer larger cleaning surfaces during play and then flipped down when you hit the 19th hole.
State Apparel’s shirts and pants are a bit heavier than most of the tech apparel I’m used to wearing, which makes them perfect for the cooler temps in the fall, winter and early spring. Remember, State Apparel was born in San Francisco, and Mark Twain famously said that the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. I’ve lived here in the Bay Area for almost 20 years. The cool, damp and heavy air here is not unlike the conditions you’ll find at golf destinations like Bandon Dunes and links courses in Scotland and Ireland. If you are heading on golf trips to locales like these, definitely consider adding some State Apparel pants and shirts to your suitcase.
I have to admit, that it took me a few holes to get used to going against my natural instincts to grab a towel when I got to the green or to step on my club face after a practice swing to remove debris. Once I got past my instincts, though, the wiping elements were very convenient and functional. After practice swings, a single swipe of the club face on the cuff removed dirt and grass, and then I was ready to quickly step into my shot. State Apparel lists the ability to stay ‘in the zone’ as one of the benefits of its shirts and pants, but it wasn’t until I got in the habit of using the wiping elements did I really see the value of this.
From a style standpoint, State Apparel’s threads are anything but gimmicky. As I mentioned, the wiping panels have been smoothly integrated into designs of the shirts and pants. My playing partners usually have a comment about my chosen apparel for any given round, but the fact that no one questioned the wiping panels is a testament to the clean aesthetics of the designs.
The Competition Pants are available in two different fits (slim and straight) and two colorways (khaki and grey). I opted for the slim fit, which is similar to any other modern slim-fit pants. They are narrow, but not restrictive, through the thighs and have a slight taper through the lower leg. In my opinion, they could have a bit more rise as they sit lower on my hips than other golf pants, but this is really a personal preference. They do fit true to size in both the waist and the inseam, and as someone who has a 31” inseam, I appreciate that odd-sizes are available. No trips to the tailor with these!
I know others have said that the shirts are slim and run a size small, but I found that they are true to size. I sized up on my Competition Shirt and will likely order my normal size in the future. Keep in mind, I do prefer slimmer fitting shirts. If you are with me, then stick with your normal size. If you prefer more of a full cut, then consider sizing up.
From a price standpoint, State Apparel’s gear is probably a few George Washingtons north of what you typically drop on golf apparel. The Competition Pants check in at $205 and the Competition Shirts (available in white and charcoal) are $105. That being said, as the weather makes a turn for the worse, wearing State Apparel will help you to extend the golf season and get out on the course a few more times than you normally would this winter. Can you really put a price on that?