Fresh off its uber successful Kickstarter campaign, San Francisco-based start-up label State Apparel has dropped its debut collection. Just as the Golden Gate Strait serves as a gateway to the Pacific, State Apparel’s aptly named Golden Gate Collection serves as its entrance into the golf apparel market.
This may be State Apparel’s initial collection, but the brand is anything but a new name to GolfThreads. Loyal readers will remember that GT interviewed the brand’s founder, Jason Yip, last fall and took a couple of his initial designs for a spin. Since then, the brand has refined its fits and upped its style game. The result is a debut collection that features smart and subtle details. Designs with bold color blocking, eye-catching prints and popular heathered fabrics put the collection on trend. The palette of deep pacific blues and rich merlots not only pulls inspiration from post-round sunsets over the Golden Gate Bridge, but it also offers the perfect complement to autumn’s natural colors.
For those of you thinking State Apparel is just another golf apparel company pushing modern fits and performance fabrics, guess again. The brand has successfully differentiated itself in the crowded golf apparel market by cleverly and stylishly integrating discreet wiping panels into its polos and pants in a non-gimmicky way.
The idea behind the wiping panels is that they eliminate the need for a player to grab a towel, allowing him to stay in his routine and to speed play. Any serious golfer knows how dirt and grass on the club face or ball can negatively impact a shot, especially one that requires finesse and spin. Flip on any PGA Tour event and you’ll see the top players in the world wiping their club faces on the lower parts of their trousers after a practice swing (yes, I’m calling you out, Rory McIlroy) or drying their grips on their shirts. I guess this is fine if you find a fresh apparel script in your locker every week, but why should the rest of us send the winnings from our $10 Sunday nassau to our dry cleaners on Monday?
Clearly, the showcase pieces in State Apparel’s Golden Gate Collection are its polos. Prints and patterns are in vogue on the fairways these days, and the brand’s Scoring and Tournament shirts play into this trend. The pacific blue (navy blue) Scoring shirt is my favorite piece in the collection. It offers a vintage vibe with a long 4-button placket, contrast collar and polka dot print, which on closer inspection is actually a silhouette of the California quail. The merlot colorway possesses the same retro styling, while putting a California twist on a mod paisley pattern by using the silhouette of a Golden Eagle for the print.
The Tournament shirt takes advantage of another big trend in golf apparel — color blocking — and combines it with a chic microprint. State Apparel uses a tonal version of its logo for the microprint. Not only does it add a nice texture to the shirt, but it is also the classiest use of a logo as a design element since J.Lindeberg started using its iconic ‘JL’ bridge logo in its designs.
If you are looking for the wiping panels, they have been integrated into the side panels of the polos. If you didn’t know about them, you would just think that they were part of the design. The performance fabric on the polos is a touch heavier than some of the ultra lightweight fabrics that you’ll find on the fairways, which makes it perfect for fall, winter and spring golf. The performance is top notch and offers the stretch and moisture wicking qualities that the game demands.
Many say that State Apparel’s polos run a bit slim, but I don’t find that to be the case. If you are looking for a very clean, slim fit, then order your normal size. If you prefer a fuller cut, then club up a size.
If you are looking to extend the golf season into the winter months, then State Apparel’s Competition pants should be on your radar. They are mudders in the truest sense of the word. They are lined for warmth and the tri-layer performance fabric resists wind, water and wrinkles. We haven’t had much rain here in Northern California over the last few years, but I did wear these when we got hit with the so-called ‘Storm of the Century’ last December and they performed admirably.
On the course, I use the wiping elements on the Competition pants more often than the ones on the polos. (Sorry, I still have a mental block about wiping clubs and golf balls on my shirt.) The wiping elements on the front pockets are perfect for cleaning your ProV1s, and the size and positioning of the elements on the cuffs are on point. One of the neat features of the cuffs is that they can be flipped up to expose the cleaning surfaces while on the course, or turned downed to hide them when you head to the grill room.
State Apparel’s Competition pants are available in three classic colors (pacific, sand and charcoal) and two different fits (slim and straight). The cut of the slim fit is on par with any other pair of contemporary slim fit trousers. They offer a very clean silhouette and have a modern taper through the lower leg. One thing I noted when I wrote about the Competition pants last year was that I thought the rise was a bit too short, making them sit low on my hips. In the Golden Gate Collection, the brand has addressed this by lengthening the rise and the result is an increased level of comfort.
Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I can tell you that there is an art to layering. We do it 365 days a year, so it is no surprise to see that State Apparel has expanded its product line with the 1/4-zip Biarritz pullover. The Biarritz finds itself on trend with a sporty heathered performance fabric. Having been designed in one of the foggiest places on the planet, the Biarritz begs for cool, damp conditions. It is warm enough to wear as an outer layer on those dewy fall mornings, or it can act as a toasty mid layer if you need to take on harsher conditions. The wiping layer on the wrists provides a quick and easy way to clean your golf ball when you reach the green. The blue and black colorways pair nicely with the brand’s Competition pants.
Looking ahead to Spring 2016, State Apparel will feature bold geometric patterns and prints in its Digital Collection. GolfThreads received a sneak peek at the collection at the PGA Fashion Show back in August. A Mondrian-style color blocked polo and the aptly named Pixel polo, with a Silicon Valley inspired digital print, are sure to be the showcase pieces in the collection. The more classically styled Binary polo with a button down collar will look as good with a pair jeans as it will with the Competition pants. Also, look for State Apparel to use lighter weight fabrics for the season and to remove the cleaning elements from many of its pieces in the Digital Collection.