Worn Out is our series of product reviews where we take an in-depth field test with many of the most sought after items. Whether it’s raw denim, shirting, footwear, outerwear, or accessories, we’re here to show you the good, the bad, and the ugly before you make your purchase.
The Chore Coat is a work wear staple, and whether it be a classic Lee denim example, a homogenized L.L. Bean iteration, or a Carhartt workhorse, it’s a style that’s so pervasive we may very well take it for granted. This example from Apolis is sure to snap you out of your complacency, with luxury upgrades in materials and construction that reset the standard.
In wearing it, one thing became perfectly clear to me, especially after admiring the weight of the paper stock where you’ll find the $328 MSRP price tag: while wearing it, don’t do chores. (A paint splatter? Not on my watch.)
There is no denying that Apolis makes wonderful things and that a great deal of thought and care goes into every design, and I like that (it stings less to pay a lot for stuff when it’s good stuff). And as a company, they make it quite clear that they’re driven by more than just the bottom line.
In 2004, brothers Raan and Shea Parton founded Apolis with a simple idea that business can create social change. Their travels abroad immersed them in personal stories of struggle and survival and inspired them to create a business model that bridges commerce and economic development. Along with their commitment to global advocacy, they also understand the importance of sourcing and manufacturing locally. Whether it means partnering with manufacturers in Uganda, Peru, Bangladesh, or around the corner in Los Angeles, the Partons have used their model of “advocacy through industry” to empower people to determine their own future.
The Apolis site is light on details on how all of that actually gets applied to the design of garments like this Chore Coat, other than that the coat is American Made with wool woven in Italy, and that the buffalo horns used to make the buttons were “fallen.” (Italian buffalo? They don’t say.) The medium weight of the wool makes it ideal when you want a jacket that takes the chill off. I love it for the brisk mornings and cool evenings here in Venice Beach — it’s just enough over a t-shirt to keep the damp air at bay, and it’s water (ocean spray) resistant.
The color is stated as Charcoal, but there’s a great deal of white flecking in it, giving a classic “heather” feel (there are indigo and black options as well, but I think the charcoal splits the difference nicely). The interior of the coat has one nylon facing strip across the interior, and the placket and inside “hidden” pockets are olive drab and feel like stiff cotton. As far as the materials go, you cannot complain.
Apolis Coated Wool Chore Jacket
- Exclusive Italian wool (30% wool, 25% polyester, 20% cotton, 20% acrylic, 5% other fibers)
- Water resistant Polyurethane coating
- Fallen buffalo horn fisheye buttons
- 1 front chest pocket, 2 front patch pockets, 2 inside pockets
- Rounded collar, pocket flaps, and raglan shoulder
- Antique nickel reinforcement rivets
- Tailored Fit
- Available for $249 from Huckberry
What I can complain about is the sizing. I’m wearing an XXL, and while I understand it’s a “tailored fit,” I fear I’m but an order of fries away from this going into the back of closet. I’m 6’3″ and 200ish pounds, and I wear a medium in some US brands (OK, not many, but some). My thinking is that the “global” approach to their company has Apolis sizing more toward the European and Asian markets, and less toward my fellow “use fried chicken as bread” Americans. But…the cut is impeccable. The arms are slim and the bottom of the coat falls just below the hips (not unlike your favorite trucker jacket). Online, I’ve seen references to this as a sport coat or blazer, and that’s exactly how you should think of it. This is fashion, not that you needed me to tell you that.
Even if you were in a position to wear this while chopping wood at your A-frame lake house, you’d never have the range of movement in this beauty to swing your Filson Hudson Bay Axe.
It was an unseasonably “cold” spring here in Southern California, so I’ve been thrilled to have this and it’s breaking in nicely. But for me, the somewhat restrictive fit (over a t-shirt and button up…not so bueno) makes it an indulgence I’m not sure I’d indulge in at full retail. So if you’ve been dying to mix up your look with a piece that feels simultaneously old and new, you should go for it. But hit up the Army Navy with another $69 bucks in your pocket so you can get one that is truly chore-worthy.