Suddenly, everyone is wearing the same shirt. But why? The Arc’teryx Skyline is the button up shirt you can wear for work, for a workout or for a night out.
The traditional button up shirt is more of a heritage garment than a techwear staple. But in recent months one particular shirt has been popping up seemingly everywhere: the Skyline shirt from Arc’teryx, available in both long and short sleeve versions.
After seeing this minimalist shirt look great in a wide variety of outfits, I caved in and got one long sleeved shirt in black and one in wildwood green. I have been wearing them a lot in the weeks since. Here is why.
Size and cut
The Skyline is roomy but fitted. I am 180 cm with a 100 cm chest, a medium in uppers from Veilance, but mainline Arc’teryx fits bigger. I sized down to a small and thanks to the clever paneling and stretchy fabric the size strikes a great balance between aesthetics and kinetics. The most unusual thing about the cut is that the sleeves are long compared to the body of the shirt, and slightly wide, especially at their openings. I can easily slide my hand through without unbuttoning them.
The shirt looks nice tucked, but I mostly wear it untucked over a t-shirt for that extra freedom of movement. Since it is not too long and does not billow out around the stomach, it looks quite presentable untucked as well.
There are no visible buttons here, the metal snap closures are hidden away under a placket which makes for a smart, clean look. The pocket sits high on the left side of the chest and is closed with an asymmetrical flap – another elegant detail – that is secured by an extra stitch on each side so it stays in place. The collar is similarly tastefully understated, but not button down. All of this combines to make the shirt look as immaculately modern as it feels.
Fabric and color
The Skyline fabric is a 110 g/m² polyester that Arc’teryx calls Diem. It is light, stretchy and breezy, feels soft and luxurious against the skin, and I have not felt clammy in it for a second.
There is no DWR here, water sinks right into the fabric, but it dries up quickly. The fabric is also billed as wrinke resistant, which is not the same as wrinkle proof. It does wrinkle if you scrunch it up, store it folded or hang it over a clothes line for some time, and the wrinkles stay put until you steam or iron it (on low heat naturally, or you will melt it). But the wrinkle resistance is real, and noticeable around the elbows and shoulders.
There are currently three colors available. Wildwood is a beautiful green right in between moss and military fatigues. It has an outdoors vibe, but looks great in any casual setting. Black looks sleek and posh. Pegasus is a white shade that I have not seen outside of a screen, so you can judge that one for yourselves.
It is worth noting that this shirt has branding on the back, just beneath the collar. It is subtle enough that I do not think about it – no writing, just the Arc’teryx skeleton – but if you are even more allergic to logos than I am (which is rare), you might object to it.
Arc’teryx is known for high quality and a warranty that they honor beyond industry standards. Overall this feels like a very premium synthetic shirt, from the sophisticated cut to the luxurious softness of the fabric. Some users have complained about pilling after a handful of washes, but I cannot confirm that. As I primarily use mine as overshirts I do not wash them often, and after only one wash I see no signs of wear.
The snap buttons also feel good; tight and secure while still easy to undo. But in fact these buttons are the Achilles heel of this shirt. When I unbuttoned my green shirt for something like the fifth time, one of the snap buttons came loose. With a regular button it would be easy to sew it on yourself, but this button was actually broken.
Browsing the Skyline reviews on the Arc’teryx site, there are a few reviewers that have had the same issue with the buttons, indicating a quality control issue here, but it seems to affect only a fraction of the shirts.
This meant I got to put the Arc’teryx warranty to the test. I sent some pictures to the store I bought the shirt from, and sure enough, Arc’teryx ate the cost no questions asked. I got a credit at the store for the full price of the shirt, and even got to keep the defective one.
Real life use
The Skyline is billed as a “Lifestyle” shirt, meaning “technical outdoor functionality, comfort and durability brought to everyday designs”. I have used the Skyline to work, shopping, driving, to dinner with friends, pub hopping, to the kids’ tennis practice – all kinds of urban use, plus some light hiking. I can safely say that it is a comfortable and elegant shirt for this kind of wear. That said, I disagree with those who think this is a shirt you can even wear with a suit for formal occasions. The detailing is snazzy but not formal, and the fit is not quite that precise. For good reason.
To really put the shirt’s freedom of movement to the test I wore it for a workout consisting mostly of pull-ups plus some stretching. This would have been a terrible idea in a regular cotton shirt, but in the Skyline? I set a new personal record. True story. More seriously, there was no restriction at all from the shirt, the range of movement is excellent as a result of the stretchy fabric, articulated pattern, gussets and generous sleeves. (And for the record: no, the shirt used for the workout was not the same shirt that had the button come loose.)
Want more “tactical” functionality from your shirts? The Skyline has that aspect covered as well. Last winter the Loadout Room reviewed the shirt and praised its functionality when carrying a concealed firearm.
The Skyline LS is a superb combination of form and function, deserving of its role as a new staple of functional fashion. The combination of cut and fabric means that it looks good in a wide variety of settings, and feels great always. At $99 it is a solid buy.
Grayman techwear at its finest, a great-looking blend-right-in shirt with minimalist, supermodern detailing.
Light, soft and breathable, excellent for all kinds of everyday use, even performs during heavy physical activity. Just keep in mind that synthetic fabrics do not play well with fire. Snap buttons coming loose takes a full point off the score.