GolfSpy T’s Intro To Hollas Brand
My introduction to Hollas Apparel began with a simple tweet.
I’ve got a chunky ass. It’s not just my ass, I’ve got thick, meaty thighs. I always have, and I’m guessing I always will. While I’m far from obese, chances are I’m not going to be doing any modeling at Express for Men any time soon. Hey, some guys are built for Banana Republic, and some guys are built for Old Navy. That’s just the way it is. I’m most definitely the latter. I’m basically good with that, but it can make finding well-fitting, stylish, golf apparel a seam-splitting, pain in the butt (chunky or otherwise).
The guys at Fairway Styles definitely know golf apparel, so when they recommended Hollas, I decided to reach out the the company to find out what the brand is all about.
While there’s a cruel irony to writing a review of a fall product line when the snow is getting ready to fall, I suppose the fall golf season isn’t too different from the indoor golf season, and besides…for those of you lucky enough to live in a climate preferable to mine, golf can easily be a 360 day obsession. And if you’re going to obsess, you might as well look good doing it.
Hollas is a division of the Canada-based Second Skin garment company. For those of you unfamiliar with the brand, here’s how the company describes itself:
Hollas is worn on tour by:
- Bryce Molder
- Jason Bohn
- Matt McQuillan
- Jon Mills
To introduce us to their brand, and set us up well for future reviews, the team at Hollas sent over 2 pair of pants, 2 polos, and a Second Skin 1/2-zip pullover. Now some of the guys here have done apparel reviews in the past, and we’ve got big plans for something for the early spring, but it turns out writing a quality apparel review is tough. I’m a club guy, and reviewing clubs…well…once you’ve got a good system in place, is actually pretty easy. Hit the clubs, collect the data, crunch the numbers…BOOM! Roasted!
Apparel is not so cut and dry. My body is different than yours, so I can only tell you how a collection fits me. My style is different than yours, so I can only tell you what I like or don’t like. With apparel, short of talking about the quality of the stitching and how the clothes hold up against the washing machine, it’s all subjective. So, with all of that in mind, here are my thoughts on the bits and pieces of the Hollas Fall Collection that I received for review.
Hollas/Second Skin provided us with samples of their Brooklyn (black) and Gramercy (Fiesta/Orange) polos. Both feature Hollas’s new XFC Ice Cool fabric (the Brooklyn with UV Protection). Ice Cool is an extremely lightweight (but not flimsy), wicking fabric that breaks down heat and lowers body temperature by a couple of degrees. If you’ve worn anything with Hollas’ XFC Moisture Management and UV fabric before you should find the Ice Cool fabric to be be noticeably lighter weight.
The lowering body temperature thing is not really something I’m in a position to validate. With a little forethought perhaps I could have brought a thermometer out on the course with to take readings over the course of a round (that would be actual data), but you’re just going to have to take me at my word when I say that the Hollas polos breathe well. Of course, black is still black, so wear it on bright sunny days at your own peril.
From a design perspective, the Hollas approach is a near perfect match for my own sense of style. When it comes to tops, I like to play it relatively simple. I prefer solids, or simple chest stripes. I’m not one for busy patterns, plaids, or lots horizontal stripes (I look chubby enough on my own…don’t really need any additional help there). While Hollas does offer a little bit of all of the above, for my money, turning simple patterns (like the Gramercy) into trendy designs is where Hollas really excels.
With the exception of bothersome things like spell-checking, I’ve always considered myself a details guy. Whether it’s a ringed ferrule, or a splash of color in the right place, I appreciate the little things…the enhancements that can set one brand apart from another. For Hollas, some of my favorite details can be found in the collar and buttons.
Maybe it’s just my perception of things, but the Hollas collar seems a bit larger, and sits higher on the neck. It’s a small thing, but a distinctive one nonetheless. Another small detail I quite like is the 4-button design of the Brooklyn polo. Most golf shirts feature a 3-button design, and while I obviously can’t offer any sort of definitive proof that 4 buttons are better than 3, it is one of many subtle distinctions which give the Hollas designs a touch of class.
The Gramercy features a more traditional 3-button design, but hey…that’s cool too.
Finally, my favorite design detail is the contrasting stitching around the button holes and within the buttons themselves. Instead of matching the thread to the meaty part of the shirt, the stitching in both areas matches the accent color. In the case of the Brooklyn, it’s white. On the Gramercy, it matches the ebony cross-hatch pattern. Again, it’s a detail many might never notice, but one I happen to like quite a bit.
My samples were size large, and generally speaking I found them to be true to size. So what does that really mean? The shirts fit me just fine, but I’m guessing it’s the comparative info you’ll find useful. So…
Where sleeve length is concerned, I found them to be slightly longer than PUMA (Performance Polo), but noticeably shorter than Nike (various DRI-Fit incarnations). The cut of the shirts is comfortable, and perhaps slightly more generous than some others, I certainly wouldn’t classify it as baggy. In many respects, the fit is very similar to PUMA, and less baggy than Nike.
From my perspective, the fit is exactly what it needs to be. I’ve played several rounds in my Hollas apparel, and have never felt restricted, nor have I have I ever felt like the clothes were getting in the way. I find that the Ice Cool fabric stretches nicely, and moves with me, but never gives me the sense that I could camp out in my shirt. Certainly there are slimmer fitting brands, and there are definitely brands that are cut to more generous proportions, so whether or not Hollas provides a great fit will depend on what you’re looking for on the course. That said, if you’re looking for a solid, middle-of-the-road fit, Hollas is certainly worth a look.
Hollas provided 2 pair of pants for this review. Both are made from a blend of 96% Polyester and 4% Spandex. Like the polos, both feature Hollas’ XFC moisture management. Where my own style is concerned, with pants, I gravitate towards slightly more bold designs, patterns, and plaids. While I think everyone should have certain staples in their closet (black, khaki, etc.), for the most part, I subscribe to the theory that louder is better.
The black Cord Pant again showcases Hollas’s knack for turning ordinary into trendy. Though they look like a solid black pant from a distance, a closer looks reveals a very thin “tonal cord” stripe, which gives them a bit more personality than the average pair of black trousers. They’re certainly the dressiest of the golf pants I own, so much so that I actually considered pairing them with a black blazer and wearing them to a recent wedding. My wife shot down that idea though, along with the idea of forgoing dress shoes in favor of my True Linkswears.
The flat front design features 4 pockets, and rubberized stitching in the waistband to help keep your shirt tucked. My assumption is that it has something to do with the cord itself, but it should be pointed out that despite the Polyester/Spandex blend, the Hollas Cord pant provides only slightly more stretch than an average pair of khakis. The XFC material is extremely lightweight, though in the case of the cord pants, the fabric looks denser than it actually is.
Much to my wife’s dismay, I’ve become a huge fan of plaid pants of late, which is in part why I absolutely love the Hollas Large Plaid Pant. Available in several colors, the Plaid pant is an exceptionally lightweight and breathable pant, and one of the few I’ve found that truly gives you the option of comfortably going long on a hot summer day. They are nothing if not ideal for the guys who plays in the type of tournaments that require long pants (I’m not).
As it happens, the Hollas pants, particularly the Large Plaid have quickly become a bone of contention around the house. I’m not proud to admit this, but for the better part of the last decade (if not longer) my girlfriend->fiance->wife has been solely responsible for the tremendous majority of what’s in my closet. I’m basically a loose fit Old Navy, and Levi guy. Anytime she’s brought home anything that wasn’t baggy (or at least loose) in the butt and thighs, I’ve basically told her to take it back. What does that have to do with Hollas?
Truthfully, if my wife had brought home pants that fit like Hollas, I probably would have told her to take them back. While not tight, they’re not as roomy (sloppy) as the clothes I normally wear. They fit just fine, but again, from a comparative standpoint, they’re less roomy in the thighs than my daily-wear pants. There is, as the team at Fairway Styles suggested, plenty of room in the backside. As my wife enjoys pointing out, I dress better on the golf course than I do for work (or dinner with her…which I think is where the problem lies). Thing is, she says it like it’s a bad thing, and gets a little irate when I respond simply, “yup”.
I’m certainly not a designer or a seamstress, but I’ve worn my fair share of pants. What I’ve learned over the years is that you can learn a lot from a zipper. If the construction of a pair of pants has been half-assed, it’s almost always apparent in the zipper. Uneven stitching, loose thread, and chunks of leftover fabric can all be indicators of a less than quality assembly job.
In both pair of pants I received from Hollas the stitching around the zipper was precise, even, and essentially flawless. The same is true of the cuffs, which is another area where mistakes are often readily apparent.
Everything I received from Hollas has been washed, and hung-dried several times over now. So far, nothing they sent me looks any the worse for wear.
The guys at Hollas also included the Coast Drywick 1/4 Zip Pullover in our review package. From the Second Skin label, the Coast Drywick is made from 100% Polyester and features Second Skin’s Hydrawick moisture management. According to the literature:
As the temperatures drops in the Northeast, the Coast Drywick has quickly become my single favorite piece of golf apparel, and one that’s been with me for the last several rounds of golf I’ve played. This time of year it’s not unusual to get a late start due to frost, but that still means teeing off with temperatures in the mid-40s.
The Coast Drywick keeps me warm and comfortable until the temps warm up to the point where I can strip down to the short sleeves (these days around the 12th hole). While not tight, the Coast Drywick is more slim fitting than the polos. For me this is the preferred fit for long sleeve outerwear. The fabric stretches nicely and doesn’t impede the golf swing in the slightest, but doesn’t hang off of me either.
As functional as the Coast Drywick is on the course, it’s highly suited for every day use and I often find myself pulling it on over a t-shirt if I need to run out for a while. It has basically replaced my favorite fleece as the go everywhere staple of my wardrobe.
// Retail price for the Second Skin Coast Drywick is $75.
While I’d stop short of describing Hollas as a conservative brand, from what we’ve seen so far, and from what we know of the Spring collection, Hollas as a brand probably isn’t as bold as a few others on the golf apparel scene. As they said, they offer “trendiness without going overboard”. While they do offer a few pattern designs (mostly plaids, and cross-hatched designs), solids and relatively simple stripes are the foundation of the lineup.
From my perspective, the one knock on Hollas is that their pant offerings are a bit too conservative for my tastes (every now and again, I like to go overboard). Yes, everyone should have staple colors (black, tan, white, gray) in their wardrobe, and I certainly appreciate that they offer a variety of plaids from the ebony I chose, to more vibrant uses of blues and greens, and even a Plum/Deep Pink (wish in hindsight I wish I had asked Hollas to send me), but I’d love to see a bolder statement in their solids. Where are the oranges, blues, greens, and pinks? Staple colors are fine, but if you want to turn up the volume a little bit, Hollas’s pant offerings might not get you to the decibel level you’re looking for.
To a lesser extent, the same is true of their shirts. While Fiesta (orange) and Blue offer a splash of color on the top, the fall lineup doesn’t offer any true reds, nor are their any bright pinks. Things do look a bit rosier for the Spring, however.
These are of course my personal style choices, and there are a slew of companies offering bolder alternatives, but if you find that you love the cut of Hollas, and their XFC fabric, it’s a bit of a bummer that one might need to look elsewhere to round out the wardrobe.
Having said that, the Ice Cool fabric in the Gramercy and Brooklyn polos is as nice as any I’ve worn. The cut is nearly perfect (for me anyway), and the attention to the smallest of details in unmatched. I am particularly fond of the Plaid Pant, specifically the XFC fabric with 2-way stretch. It makes for an exceptionally lightweight and more importantly comfortable fabric that looks great, and doesn’t get in your way on the golf course. I absolutely can’t wait to check out some Hollas XFC shorts in the Spring.
One final tip…If you’re interested in trying out some Hollas apparel, but don’t want to spend full price on an unfamiliar brand, Fairway Styles offers outstanding deals on “last season’s” collection. It’s a great to save a few loonies while finding out if Hollas is right for you.