The Rite Stuff Atlas Salt and Pepper Chambray Work Shirt Review

One of my original grail items was a sage/mint green chambray work shirt. I remembered seeing a picture of one from John Lofgren early on in my denim journey and I was immediately smitten with the beautiful and unique color. There were a few more examples that I saw over time from brands such as Freewheelers and Cushman and those pictures only made me want one more. Unfortunately, every example that I had seen was sold out and I could not find any new examples. 

After months of searching, I did eventually find one from Freewheelers in a size that was a little too small for me, but I bought anyway because it was my only option at the time. It quickly became one of my favorite shirts even though it was always a little tight on me. When I started hitting the gym this spring, it finally became unwearable and I had to sell it. On the plus side, it was right around this time that Bryan from the Rite Stuff released his follow up to his Heracles shirt- the Atlas shirt. 

This shirt came in two different salt and pepper chambray colors: charcoal and sage. The sage was the one that I needed and I quickly purchased a size 38/M. Fit is one of the most important aspects to discuss with this shirt. With the owner and founder of The Rite Stuff being a westerner (living in Taiwan) who appreciates Japanese-made clothing, a major selling point of the Rite Stuff is the blend of Japanese fabric and construction with western-oriented fits. However, Bryan is also very much interested in vintage workwear garments and has included a range of interesting features on this shirt.

The measurements for my shirt are as follows:

Chest: 22.5”

Shoulder: 18.25”

Sleeve: 24.25

Back Length: 28”

Waist: 19.75”

The measurements of my shirt are all slightly larger than the ones provided on the website, but some of that may be due to differences in measuring methods. Also, provided measurements are always an estimation and these measurements are still well within reason. As of the writing of this article, I personally think that this is my best fitting chambray shirt. It is not quite the most comfortable because the one that is the most comfortable is too loose, but this Rite Stuff shirt balances being comfortable with looking good. I mainly attribute this to the waist tapering down over 2 inches. This may not work for everyone, but it works for me. Keep in mind that I was 15 pounds heavier when I took these pictures than I am as I post this review, so the fit is better on me now. 

When I first got the shirt
Me wearing it today, 15 pounds lighter

With that said, I cannot say if this is successful as a western-oriented fit. I am of European and Central American descent and am a US citizen, but I also fit into a lot of Japanese-made shirts quite well such as those from Momotaro, Freewheelers, and Iron Heart. Subjectively though, I love how this shirt fits. The only thing I would change is the length. I wish this shirt was a little longer because I always tuck my shirts and my longer shirts tuck easier than this one does.

It looks especially good with salt and pepper trousers and a black leather jacket

To me, the star of the show here is the fabric. It is a 6.5oz 100% cotton salt and pepper covert chambray fabric that is milled in Japan. I would classify this as a medium-weight fabric for shirting, though depending on your climate and preference, you could consider it rather light or even a medium-heavy weight. Really, there is not much to say about it other than the fact that it is quite a nice fabric in a versatile weight with a fairly unique and in my eyes, beautiful color. 

Given Bryan’s attention to detail, though, the fabric is not the only feature worth noting with this shirt. Along with some relatively standard features such as the chainstitch run-off and selvedge gusset, there are some slightly more unique features such as selvedge placket, cotton tags that are made and printed in Japan, chinstrap, and green urea cat’s eye buttons that I think look great with the shirt. More distinct features include the back yoke which is quite high and thin, the pentagonal front pockets, and the foldover sleeve cuffs. 

Aside from the fabric and fit, my favorite aspects of this shirt are the unique pocket designs and the cuffs. I am not enough of a shirting expert to give exact data on how unique these pockets are, but I can’t remember seeing them much if at all before. What I love about them is that they have a similar shape to western shirt pockets without the flaps and snaps. I love western shirts so I love having this sort of aesthetic in a work shirt. The foldover cuffs are also something I cannot remember coming across before personally and because they look a little funky compared to other cuffs, they catch the eye, especially if you are detail-oriented and help set the shirt apart from the average chambray shirt. In addition, the way that they are designed makes them easier for me to do a single cuff with, which is great given my shorter arm length.

Showing off the unique cuff…
…and the pockets

Construction quality is excellent. The stitching is quite dense and overall is straight and neat. Actual density was between 11-14 SPI depending on where I measured. In my stitching investigation, I found no wonky stitches or anything that had me worried for the garment’s longevity. All The Rite Stuff shirts are made by John Lofgren’s team which not only suggests a high level of quality, but essentially guarantees fair treatment of the workers as well. 

The quality is indeed high with this shirt. Given all the details, the fabric, and the construction quality, I personally feel that this shirt is more than worth the $160 price tag. The fact that my only gripe is that I wish it was longer shows how overall happy I am with this shirt. I highly recommend checking out The Rite Stuff shirts HERE and I am certainly looking forward to what Bryan has coming next as I doubt this will be my last product from his new, but promising brand.

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