The Local Knowlege

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Clean freaks will want to get behind State Apparel's new Kickstarter campaign

California-based State Apparel is trying to elevate the industry's standard for functional golf clothing by offering a unique addition to standard shirts and trousers: an integrated wipe that's layer into polos and pants to clean a golfer's clubs, balls and hands (and also off the clothes as well). Company officials believe their product blurs the line between apparel and equipment, and their goal is to crowd source $10,000 through Kickstarter to produce the line and re-define the way golfers use their clothes.

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At first glance the clothes looks similar to other contemporary golf brands built around technical textiles that wick sweat, keep the body cool and stretch with your swing. The difference, however, is in the details. State Apparel's Competition shirt and trouser feature patent-pending, quick-dry wipe panels, concealed on the sides and sleeves of the shirt (see the black strip above) and the cuff and pockets of the pant (see photo below) so players can keep their hands, clubs and balls dry and clean, and their minds focused on the game at hand.

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I'll be honest, this sounded like another golf gimmick at first, but after thinking about how many guys -- pros and plebes alike -- I see wiping their putters across their pant leg before they address their balls, maybe the State Apparel guys are on to something.

The styling feels on trend with what's going on in the menswear market on and off the course. State Apparel's line features extended placket polos in micro and solid designs, a flat-front trouser in two fits as well a quarter-zip layering piece and a small assortment of accessories. The majority of the collection is developed from the same type of performance polyester stretch fabrics that make up most of the technical golf market. With the addition of the concealed quick-dry wipe sections, it looks like the next logical step for the guy looking to get every possible edge out of his ensemble.

That said, even if some of the State Apparel duds may look and feel like other stuff on the market, minus the patent-pending details of course, company officials have developed a more localized approach to their business model. They credit their home state of California and San Francisco Bay Area, where they're located, in particular for shaping the value structure and integrity of their company and feel a responsibility to give back to their state and local communities that inspired the Sate Apparel project. This is why every stitch of State Apparel is made in California.

"The apparel world is seemingly ruled by globalization, but we think there's a consumer trend towards socially conscious products," said State Apparel founder Jason Yip. "For the growing number of savvy consumers, purchasing decisions range from product origin, authenticity, individuality, eco-impact and social responsibility. As this trend makes its way to the golf industry, we think it will resonate with golf consumers & that our brand will be uniquely positioned to satisfy their needs." (Taken from Kickstarter detail page)

And State Apparel's approach to community connection didn't stop with production. During his proof-of-concept period, Yip used his first batch of shirts and pants to outfit top high school golf programs in the area, testing them and getting feedback from real players in competition. In an age when everyone loves to talk about "growing the game," reaching out to young golfers and giving them the agency to effect change in a local golf project seems like one of the most exciting and authentic outreach ideas I've heard of in a while.

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There's no doubt that apparel, not to mention shoes in particular, are being marketed more and more as equipment as opposed to clothing. State Apparel is attempting to push that envelope even further by integrating elements that have always been a part of the game into your wardrobe. They are a start up company with a Sillicon Valley DNA and an authentic connection to their local community.

The State Apparel Kickstarter launches Monday. You can check it out here.

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Style

A woven dress shirt you could wear to the range during lunch and no one would be the wiser

Golf-apparel brands often copy good ideas from mainstream clothing makers, so why can't it work the other way? In launching Mizzen + Main, Kevin Lavelle saw the benefits of performance fabrics in knitted golf shirts and carried them over into an innovative line of woven button-down dress shirts.

loop-mizzen-main-450.jpgThe applications are subtle but make the tailored tops ($125) versatile. The material's moisture-wicking properties keep perspiration from showing. And because the shirts don't wrinkle, they're useful on business trips and for playing golf.

Lavelle and Derek Schuster (a Penn State graduate who somehow took inspiration from a lecture I gave when he was in school a few years ago) have teamed to put Mizzen + Main shirts in 50 golf shops nationwide.

For more, go to mizzenandmain.com.

Interested in more stories on apparel? Signup to receive Golf Digest Stix, a weekly digital magazine that offers the latest news, new product introductions and behind-the-scenes looks at all things fashion.

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Style

How to give a nod to the floral trend without going full botanical gardens

Several designer collections have made floral prints a major motif for Spring 2015. As it turns out, the fairway may not be that far from the runway as we've already seen nods to the botanical style on players and in pieces from this season's RLX golf collection. If you're feeling the florals for spring but aren't sure where to begin, we suggest starting small with a top-down approach.

Enter the Aloha Press Hawaiian Print 6 Panel Rope Snapback hat from Haus of Grey.

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Founded by third-generation professional golfer and UCLA All-American Travis Johnson, Haus of Grey is a golf-apparel and accessories cooperative designed to develop products across various brands to bridge the lifestyles between contemporary golf and casual wear.

The Aloha Press Snapback is the latest launch from Haus's menswear sub-brand, Matte Grey, and it feels like its freshest offering. The guys at Grey managed to take an old rope-brim cap (think Lee Trevino) and re-create it in eight vibrant Hawaiian print patterns. The result is a unique piece that's equal parts 1970s and street while being well-balanced. The hat also looks like it's got a bit of a shorter brim, which I always find makes it easier to wear backwards if that's your style. On or off the course, these look like an interesting add to any guy's collection.

Appropriately enough, lets offer a hat tip to Minorhouse Blog for first turning us on to these hats.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about the full-on floral trend, and you'll read plenty more about polos, pants and even raingear this season. But if you're looking for a first step, the Aloha Press Snapbacks are a great place to start.

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Photo courtesy of HausofGrey.com

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Style

Looking for new pants? Follow the trend on tour and go to the matte

So far in 2015 we've seen two trouser trends worth working into your own game. The first is the white trouser, and the second is the matte-finish trouser.

Unlike with your standard wool or cotton trousers, matte-finished fabrics, either through treatment, washing or the shape of the fiber, come across with less of the high/low color disparity that give traditional fabrics their sense of depth and luster. And while flat and dull often denotes tired and old (relax Grandpa, I'm talking trousers here), the finish feels pretty contemporary these days.

Brands from all over the golf's spectrum, including Nike, Under Armour, Travis Mathew, have started pairing matte-finish trousers with their polos for subtle style upgrades to standard looks. We're all for the move, both on and off the course.

Here's how to work this look into your wardrobe.

1. Some of the big brands are starting to use high-intensity pop colors and neons to accent their outfits. If you dig the style but are still figuring out how to wear it, use the flatter-finish trouser to balance out the high-voltage colors in your shirt or shoes.

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2. Classic cotton or wool trousers can look a little awkward with today's sneaker-style golf shoes, but matte-finish bottoms can strike the best balance between sartorial and sporty. If you've transitioned away from traditional spikes, try taking the next step with a five-pocket trouser with a matte look.

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3. Similarly, these flat-feeling pants tend to look better with non-conventional belts. Give your workhorse leather strap a rest and pick up nylon or braided belt with some cool hardware to keep your contemporary vibe going strong from the waist down.

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4. Finally, re-focus your fit. Buying a new pair of pants is a great time to recalibrate the way your pants fit. Make sure, no matter what trouser you try out, you cut down on the excess fabric in the seat, thigh and leg, and that the bottoms come to rest right on top of your shoes. This likley means you'll need to have your pants altered slightly; trust us, $20 to a tailor is well worth looking and feeling your best.

If you feel like adding some subtle upgrades to your wardrobe, pick up a pair of matte-finish pants and don't hesitate to put them into play on and off the course this season.

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Style

The tour-pro look you should be putting in your apparel game

For the past few months, the vest has been trending on every tour in all variety of styles. If you haven't already put this piece into play in your own game it's time to think about adding one to your wardrobe.

On the course the vest is on of my favorite layering looks. In particular, it helps me stay warm without limiting the mobility of my arms or core through the swing. Off the course, I'll layer a simple style under a sportcoat to the office or inside a parka when the thermometer really drops.

Steal this look from some of the game's sharpest dressed dude's who've rocked this rig the right way over the past few months.

loop-luke-donald-vest-350.jpgLuke Donald: Luke's look is really cool because his top is tonal. While there's nothing wrong with working a white shirt in with this vest, limiting the contrast with the monochromatic look feels more contemporary.

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Thorbjorn Olesen: If you're a young dude, you can wear something as classic as a knit sweater vest and still make it feel fresh if you cue up some high-volume pieces elsewhere in your apparel. Here Olesen throws this vest over his venom-green Nike polo and turns his look up to 11.

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Branden Grace: Techier, outerwear inspired vests are another sleeveless style that can add interest to your wardrobe. During the work week, some of these pieces with a foul-weather feel often layer better over a sweater or sportcoat, as opposed to under them.

Follow the these pros on this one and check out a some of my favorite vests to wear on and off the course this season.

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Uniqlo Ultra-light Down
$50, uniqlo.com


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Patagonia Nano Puff
$149, patagonia.com


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RLX Ganton Fairisle Half Zip Vest
$225, ralphlauren.com


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Colmar Quilted Down
$230, trendygolf.com

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Linksoul Cotton Cashmere Sweater Vest
$72, linksoul.com

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Style

The perfect T-shirt for the shortest hitter in your group

The saying "Drive for show, putt for dough" has survived this long for a reason. Hit it wherever you want off the tee, and a solid short game will save you strokes, no doubt about it. 

Even so, there's also no doubt about the social prowess hitting the long ball holds. You all know the guy in your group that can rip it off the tee. He's the man. His drives soars through the air for hours. Days. Years.  

Conversely, there's the guy who just doesn't bring any power to the tee box. That next gear with the driver doesn't exist. Never has. Who knows? Maybe he never will. 

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The guys at BombTech Golf, the custom golf club company based out of Vermont, don't want these players to be in hiding anymore. So they made these hilarious T-shirts. I'm in the process of ordering one for my cubical mate right now. The message is pure: You're pretty short off the tee, might as well own it.  

The shirts retail for $15 at bombtechgolf.com

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Style

Country-music guitarist helps create music-inspired golf clothing line

loop-sligo-JD-Jaggerr-rooney-350.jpgProfessional golfer Brian Gay is a huge country-music fan. Rascal Flatts guitarist Joe Don Rooney is an avid golfer. Inevitably, the two became friends, and it led to a partnership that was realized through Gay's clothing sponsor, Sligo Wear.

At the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am last February, Gay and Sligo debuted a line of golf clothes for men and boys. Designed by Rooney, the line is inspired by and named for his son, Jagger (shown with dad in the photo). The shirts feature a musical motif with a guitar pick and strings forming an argyle pattern and a rendering of 6-year-old Jagger Rooney's signature.

The men's line (shirts, $79; shorts, $85) and boys' line (shirts, $50; shorts, $70) feature similar patterns, so the little ones can look like their dads on the course. Here's a link to check them out.

A portion of the proceeds of all Jagger apparel is donated to the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville.

Interested in more stories on apparel? Signup to receive Golf Digestix, a weekly digital magazine that offers the latest news, new product introductions and behind-the-scenes looks at all things fashion.

 

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Yes, there is such a thing as performance golf socks

Performance golf socks might not be a product you ever thought you'd be in the market for, but hear us out. Kentwool already has a strong following among tour pros who need to be discerning about what they wear on their feet given they spend all day on them while at work. The company's new KW series builds on the company's reputation while address a new niche in the market.

With sneaker and spikeless shoes continuing to trend on the course, Kentwool's KW are thinner socks with a more responsive in-shoe feel for softer soles. While still wind spun from Kentwool's proprietary merino-wool base, the KW is also blended with bamboo fibers to give the thinner sock the company's standard level of strength and durability. Sure, $20 a pop sounds steep but, they'll outlast the rest of your cotton and acrylic socks in for sure. In fact, try keeping your feet warm and dry this fall with the KW Kentwools and you may never go back to cotton on the course again.

Kentwool KW Series socks, $20.95
shop.kentwool.com

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Style

Lacoste has some surefire fall looks with its City Golf collection

Lacoste recently launched City Golf, a capsule collection of classic golf styles in a focused assortment of sharp shades meant to reflect a cool and clean metropolitan aesthetic.

Take or leave the design inspiration for what you will, the men's and women's city golf collections -- built on a few polos, a couple of knitwear pieces and some bottoms -- feel like a surefire fall kit that you can rotate on and off the course all season long. The simple, solid selection is coordinated to work with each piece in the collection, but all the Lacoste looks in the City capsule should pair perfectly with your favorite fall go-tos, too. The smart, sophisticated styles check all the necessary basic boxes, yet small detail updates and interesting fabrics elevate this concept to a cut above your standard gear.

Check out some of our favorite men's and women's pieces below, all available at lacoste.com/us/city-golf.

Men's
Navy Micro Print Polo
, $120

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Light Gray Honeycomb Open Weave Polo with Stand Up Collar, $120

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Navy Print Banded Sweater, $250

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Gray/Blue Knit Trouser, $175

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Women's
Tan Merino Turtle Neck
, $150

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Burgundy Long Placket Polo, $89.50

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Charcoal A-Line Sweater Skirt, $125

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Navy Padded Puffer Vest, $295

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Style

What goes into designing the U.S. Ryder Cup uniforms? David Lauren explains

David Lauren is executive V.P. for global advertising, marketing and corporate communications at Ralph Lauren, which has outfitted Team USA at this year's Ryder Cup at Gleneagles. We spoke with him last week for Golf Digest Stix about the process of creating the U.S. apparel, outerfear and accessories. Here is an extended version of that Q&A.

Golf Digest Stix: What's the main challenge in designing a lineup for an entire team?

Lauren: The team aspect is what differentiates the Ryder Cup from other premier golf events. Our focus is on meeting the needs of the players and delivering products that are not only functional but something that unites them and gives them a sense of pride.

Golf Digest Stix: When did you and your team start working up options?

Lauren: Over a year ago. After completing sketches, we spent months perfecting the technical elements. We continuously met with Tom Watson and the PGA of America, and once we all felt confident, we went into production. Then it was time to start fitting the players. We identified the top 25 U.S. players and had personalized fittings with each so everything would fit flawlessly when it came time for the Ryder Cup.

Golf Digest Stix: How many items did the PGA ask you to provide?

Lauren: We wanted to provide the players with more than enough options to perform their best while on the course. The full collection includes shirts, pants and sweaters, as well as a variety of outerwear. And this year marks the first time in Ryder Cup history the entire collection is available for purchase, which is great.

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Golf Digest Stix: With the outfits you choose for Friday, Saturday and Sunday (see above), how many alternative ideas were drawn up but ultimately rejected?

Lauren: We created three options for each day, and though we liked them all, we had our favorites. The Watson team pick-ed the top suggestion on every account.

Golf Digest Stix: How much does the event itself and the gravitas that the Ryder Cup holds impact the look you were trying for?

Lauren: The rich heritage and tradition [of the Ryder Cup] have been embraced by some of the greatest players golf has ever seen. We wanted the U.S. team uniforms to reflect that vision by creating something that embodies the spirit of America and pays homage to the host country. We created the Black Watch plaid in green and navy as a nod Scotland. We used patriotic red, white and blue color blocking into each look and incorporated a band of 12 stars into the shoulder to signify the importance of each player. As a final touch, we embroidered the words "United We Stand" into the shirts as a nod to Captain Tom Watson's strong leadership.

Golf Digest Stix: Captains have famously, and sometimes infamously, played a role in the design process. How did Tom contribute?

Lauren: Anytime Tom Watson is on your team, you've won. His passion, professionalism, attention to detail and leadership are unparalleled. He took product testing to a new level and even wore each of the jackets in the shower to see how they would hold up in bad weather.

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