Kitsbow Icon Wool Pendleton Shirt

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Andrew_Squirrel's picture
Kitsbow Icon Wool Pendleton Shirt

I purchased a Medium Grey Wool Kitsbow Icon shirt back in September 2014 when it was first released. I initially balked at the price since it is far above the price most cyclists are willing to pay for a shirt they could feasibly pick up at a thrift store for a fraction of the cost. However, the stylish look, improved fit and possible longevity of this type of garment eventually turned me around and I decided to give it a try.
I had some issues with the shirt right out of the box, a tack-stitch near the articulated shoulders ripped out after stretching my arms out in front of me. The tack-stitch tore through the outer layer of the shirt and created a large hole on one side. I contacted Kitsbow and they immediately revised the design of the shirt, issued a recall and sent out a new version within a week. The new version sans-tack-stitch fit great and had much better articulation for riding in the drops.

After having the shirt for a couple months now I can say I am thoroughly impressed with how wonderful this garment is.
I hesitate to say it is the most perfect fitting, most comfortable on/off bike, most fashionable long sleeve shirt I have ever owned. After years of collecting ill-fitting vintage Pendleton shirts designed for body types very different than mine it is quite refreshing to finally understand the hype of a well-made, durable long sleeve wool shirt. Since my original purchase I have picked up one more version in the "Olive Plaid" color since they ran out of material to make the attractive "Navy Plaid".

So far the durability of the shirt has been amazing and the Shoeller 3X Dry Panel elbow patches seem like they can take a beating. The stitching is immaculate and no part of the shirt has begun to un-thread. I worry about the longevity of some of the plastic snap-buttons since they seem very difficult to find & replace if one is destroyed, it's not as simple as re-threading a button. I wonder if it is something that Kitsbow could repair if they are still around? The functionality of the buttons for a cycling shirt seems appropriate so I can understand why they were chosen.

Aesthetically the shirt looks really attractive. I love the slim cut, the shoulder pads that wrap from the collar down over to the beginning of the bicep. The elbow pads that have a unique shape. The snap buttons are a durable plastic and look really subtle since they are color matched with the Shoeller pads. I've had numerous compliments from both men and women which is a rare occurrence for a cyclist that shows up to most events sweaty and damp from rain.

Fit is great, shirt hugs you in all the right spots but gives room for movement during cycling. The sleeves seems long enough even when in the drops but not overly bunchy when you're standing around. The tight cuff keeps the sleeve from sliding over the hand in the annoying way that some of my other longer sleeve shirts do. The only draw back to the tight cuff is that you always need to unbutton the cuff to get the shirt off. Luckily the quick-snap buttons make this on/off task much more rapid.

Comfort is great for a semi-scratchy wool material. I have some Pendletons that are just so unbelievably scratchy that I unconsciously take them off whenever possible. This isn't the case with the Icon. I suspect Pendleton has refined their wool processing and made a much higher quality merino-like wool. UPDATE: After checking the label I have discovered that the shirt is composed of "80% Cotton, 17% Nylon, 3% Lycra". I will need to contact Kitsbow about this weird anomaly since they claim "Pendleton Wool" on their page.
The Shoeller pads on the outside also extend to the inside around the wrists, collar and shoulders thereby making the garment comfortable in the areas that have more skin contact.

Overall I am excited to have invested in a shirt that I anticipate I will enjoy for years (and maybe decades!) to come. It's a refreshing change from the disappointment of having so many great cycling garments die after less than one season of use.

Wish list:
- Second button on the sleeve cuff if you want a slightly looser fit around the wrist.
- Third button at the sleeve placket to control air movement into the sleeve while riding.
- Rotate the elbow pad inward so that when the arm is at rest on a table, parallel to the surface, the pad lies in the correct place. Currently it sits centered when the hand is in the air and arm is perpendicular to the table.
- Some subtle reflective piping somewhere on the back of the shirt would be great. I thought the back tail end of the shirt on the would be the most hidden but effective location. I've also seen some shirt designers place reflective cloth under the collar.

I will add some more non-stock photos soon!

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 14:35
Andrew_Squirrel's picture

oops, double

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 14:37
ShartAttack's picture

Not that this would fit me in the first place, but that cotton/wool discrepancy is somewhat alarming. I don't think the price is nuts for wool, but cotton doesn't work for me on the bike (though I'd bet the nylon and lycra help a lot).

Former RAGBRAI enthusiast

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 14:42
Andrew_Squirrel's picture

Yeah, I am very surprised, just contacted Kitsbow

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 14:45
Andrew_Squirrel's picture

After I got home I compared the tags on the Grey & "Olive Plaid". They differ in composition yet the Kitsbow website doesn't seem to specify this beyond "...authentic heritage of Pendleton wool..."
I checked to see if Pendleton sells cotton shirts under their name and apparently they do make cotton fabric and proudly use the name "Pendleton woolens". It seems like not specifying cotton blend when namedropping Pendleton cloth is a bit misleading.

Sat, 01/31/2015 - 13:52

Hi Andrew. I assure you that the Olive Icon shirt is indeed 100% wool. There was a mix up at the shop that makes our Icons and our new Drifter Jean. That label you have pictured with the cotton is for our Jean. The shop that makes both of these items is small and out of San Francisco. We've noted the problem, communicated with the shop and will take extra precaution to ensure the correct labeling.

We're so please to know that you love the Icon shirt. Let us know if you'd like to exchange the Olive Icon for one that has the correct label.

Energetic regards,

April Karr
Marketing Director

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 14:12
Todd's picture

This is excellent, I want one. Kitsbow, make one in buffalo plaid.. or even better a navy/red combo.

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 14:20
Andrew_Squirrel's picture

April, Thanks for the good news! I'm fine with the faulty label.

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 19:29
jimmythefly's picture

Send him just a label and let him sew it on himself. Andrew loves projects.

Also post your bikes!

deadforkinglast wrote:
But honestly, I have no idea how I am going to follow through on that plan and I already have a pretty rad bike. I think I just like fucking with my bikes.

Tue, 02/03/2015 - 11:20
hiljentaa's picture
(Reply to #9)

Kitsbow wrote:
Energetic regards,

April Karr

Lollin, I'm stealin this, April.

Sat, 02/07/2015 - 13:00
Andrew_Squirrel's picture

FYI, Kitsbow released a handful of new colors for the fall season.

I was pretty psyched I could break these shirts out of my closet for some cold September mornings after missing them all summer.

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 20:50
blackholelectron's picture

Nice review! Pretty psyched because I was wondering what that snap front wool shirt with the shoulder and elbow patches was.

if you're happily shuffling between rural corn dog purchases at 14mph, how are your needs not being met?

Mon, 10/19/2015 - 12:47
Todd's picture

been loving mine.
Made the mistake of thinking it would handle smell like merino and didnt wash it for quite a few uses.
Fully smelled like a homeless dude all afternoon yesterday.

Sat, 01/23/2016 - 13:11