GolfThreads’ Fall Favorites Series looks at my go-to pieces this fall in the hopes of giving you a glimpse at what I’m wearing on the course this season. I would love to hear what you think about my picks in this series. Drop a note in the comments area below. Also, let me know some of your favorites that I should check out.
You may not know it, but your new favorite polo shirts have arrived and they are from start-up label Bradley Allan. While calling Bradley Allan a start-up is technically correct, the man behind the brand is anything but new to the golf apparel world. Prior to launching Bradley Allan, Brad Franklin spent over a decade designing for industry favorites like Dunning, Sunice, and AUR.
Ironically, few of Franklin’s designs over the years ever made it into his closet. As he told me in an interview a few weeks ago, “I’d always go to high-end men’s retail stores for golf clothes. I would buy Hugo Boss Black polo shirts and I’d have wool slacks made.” This desire to design clothes that would find their way into his on-course rotation served as Franklin’s inspiration behind Bradley Allan.
I first got a look at a few Bradley Allan polo shirts at the PGA Merchandise Show in January. After seeing the modern styles, clean lines, and sophisticated color palette, it didn’t take long to come to the conclusion that the brand was going to be a success. The only difficult part was waiting the 6 months for the launch.
With any new apparel brand, there is always a bit of apprehension. Most have a few stumbles out of the gate, but Bradley Allan has come roaring out of the blocks like Usain Bolt in the 100 meters. The debut collection looks like anything but a 1.0 release. One peek at the range of polos, stretch gabardine pants, webbed belts, and Merino knitwear and you’ll swear Bradley Allan has been a major player in the golf apparel game for years.
While I’ll dig into the rest of the collection in due time, here are six reasons why your new favorite polo shirts will come from Bradley Allan this fall.
1. It’s Pima Cotton, Baby
One of the key differentiators for Bradley Allan is the fabric. There is nothing like wearing a cotton polo shirt. Sure, over the last decade we’ve been sold on all the innovative features that come along with performance fabrics, but no polyester can replicate the soft hand that cotton provides.
Bradley Allan polos receive their soft feel from a unique Pima cotton blend. For those of you unfamiliar with Pima cotton, it is one of nature’s performance fibers. It’s lightweight and possesses a higher level of breathability than a typical cotton fiber. It is also a longer and better quality fiber, which results in a better feel, increased durability, and less shrinkage.
Franklin has taken Pima a step further at Bradley Allan by using a mercerized Pima yarn in his polos. Without getting too deep into fabric technology, the mercerization process smooths and strengthens the yarn while giving it a lustrous appearance. Adding a touch of technical polyester gives it the performance characteristics needed in warmer conditions. Besides, the cooler fall temperatures are the perfect time to give Pima cotton a try.
2. Razor Sharp Fit
If there is one thing that scares me the most about trying a new apparel brand, it is the fit. I’m a stickler for the way a polo shirt fits. Thankfully, Brad Franklin has the same passion, or obsession, that I have about it. In fact, he agonized over the fit of his Bradley Allan polos. He even went back to the drawing board several times to find a perfect cut that could be worn on the golf course and in a casual setting, too.
Franklin’s painstaking process has resulted in a range of shirts that possess an impeccable fit. The sleeves hit the middle of the biceps, the shoulder seams perfectly align with the shoulder joint, the body is trim, but not tight, and the length allows the shirts to be worn tucked in on the course or untucked in a casual setting. With this more tailored fit, Bradley Allan polos run about a size smaller than typical golf shirts, so I’d recommend sizing up for the perfect fit.
3. Colors You Want to Wear
Guys, go to your closet. What do you see? Most likely you’ll find a sea of blues, grays, and black with maybe a few pastels and brights thrown in for good measure. The good news is your normal. As men, we tend to gravitate towards these colors for the same reason that we are drawn towards pizza, beer, and power tools. (Beware, the combination of the three will likely result in a trip to the ER.)
Now, take a look at the color palette of Bradley Allan’s debut collection. You’ll see a very sophisticated, masculine, and wearable palette of blues, grays and black with a splash of color in the form of an energetic izote green.
4. Modern, Sophisticated Styles
Bradley Allan possesses the understated good looks of a Dunning, the effortless vibe of a TravisMathew, and the tailoring of a Hugo Boss or a J.Lindeberg. For me, this is the ultimate mashup and one of the reasons why I’m all-in on the brand.
The collection features all the latest trends in the world of golf fashion, but rather than being done in a blinged out way, Franklin took a smart and sophisticated approach to the designs. The Oxford Pique Gradient Polo offers an elegant take on the ombre prints and stripes that we have been seeing on the fairways. Playing off the heathered fabrics trend are the tastefully done solid and striped Mélange Polos. And the faux pocket polo with a hidden placket and pique weave puts a modern twist on the timeless look of the aptly named Oxford Pique Pocket Polo.
5. Details, Details, Details
What makes a golf shirt great? Details like collars, buttons, and seams, and every Bradley Allan shirt is exquisitely finished.
I love bacon, but I hate bacon collars. That being said, I intentionally held off on writing this review until I gave my Bradley Allan shirts a few spins through the washer and dryer. Every time the collars emerged looking crisp and as good as new.
Designers have been playing with the shape and location of seams over the past few years, and if you take a look at the seams that connect the sleeves to the body on the Bradley Allan polos, you’ll see a gentle curve. The reason? Range of motion. The ergonomic seam shape allows for an unfettered swing, even when you are looking to get a few extra yards out of your driver.
Add to the mix mother of pearl buttons, luxuriously finished hems, and a minimalistic logo on the back yoke, and Bradley Allan polos will keep you looking sharp from the first to the nineteenth hole and beyond.
6. Always Fresh
The fashion world has trained us to think in seasonal Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter collections. But what if there was a better way?
The sneaker industry has figured this out by dropping new styles and fresh colors throughout the year, and this is a similar philosophy that Franklin is taking with Bradley Allan, too. By not stocking huge levels of inventory, he can release mini collections throughout the year whenever he creates new designs or colorways. This is a win/win, as lower inventory costs lead to lower prices, and new looks help to keep us looking fresh throughout the year.