Basically Basic Basics


Grovers aren’t generally a very stylish lot –President Cleveland looked like Wilford Brimley and the Muppet wears no clothes at all – but the old-school name rather suits the new Los Angeles brand that hopes to make it synonymous with well-constructed basics. The company, which offers a variety of tees, henleys, and shorts, is not dissimilar geographically or thematically from American Apparel, which has grown rapidly thanks to its domestically produced comfortable shirts (and gold lamé leggings). The key difference: Grover’s clothing fits men who weigh more than 130 pounds. Thanks to a wide color selection and a bit of clever shaping, these basics are the perfect fit for a medium build.

There are several retailers that do a justifiably swift trade in tees (J.Crew chief among them), but few stores do henleys with Grover’s aplomb. Rather than trying to get fancy with it, the new brand took a very un-Los Angeles approach and whittled the garment down to its basic shape. The neckline is simple and short – not built for extravagant displays of chest hair – and the shoulders are broad enough to contain a bit of muscle. Worn under a blazer or fall jacket, these shirts look both rough and ready and surprisingly adult. The henleys may be on the shelves of L.A.’s surf shops, but there is none of that ski cap and skateboard nonsense going on.

Though Grover’s polos aren’t outstanding – there is nothing wrong with them, but they don’t represent anything new – the company’s gym wear is worth a second look. The tank offers an adult take on sleevelessness and the poly-blend sweatshirt and sweat shorts are magnificently soft. The sweat shorts may, in fact, be the greatest step forward in sweat clothing since Best Made took the sleeves off the sweatshirt. You will not want to take them off.

And yes, those shorts look good with one of Grover’s pocket tees. The well-stitched shirts look good with just about everything they aren’t tucked into – and, at $18, it seems about right to buy them in bulk. Are they basic? Yes, but there is absolutely no shame in that. Basic is a step up for Grovers. [Henleys from $28; available at American Rag and many surf stores]