I’ve found it: the perfect fall and winter shirt. Stio’s Basis button-up does everything you could ask: It looks good on or off your back, buttoned up or open. It’s light enough to wear by itself, heavy enough to keep you warm on a cool day, soft enough to wear as a base layer, generous enough to use a light jacket. And it’s made of a four-way stretch, polyester-wool blend from Polartec called Power Dry, which gives it the insulating, wicking, and drying chops to wear when skiing or snowboarding.
Stio is a new brand from Jackson, Wyoming, the brainchild of Steve Sullivan, one of the founders of Cloudveil, and while there are similarities to his previous brand, it would be a mistake to call this Cloudveil 2.0. These are different times, and Stio got the style memo that never made it to Cloudveil’s inbox — silhouettes are looser, cuts are more flattering, and there’s more of a nod to traditional shapes from the non-technical world. Based on the clothes I’ve seen over the last decade or two, I’ve come to believe that “mountain lifestyle” is a euphemism for “looks dopey in the bar, works crappy on the hill,” but across the board Stio is killing it. I need to get myself into something more technical for fuller test, but the materials are top shelf and the pieces I’ve slipped on feel great.
And that’s not to say the Basis isn’t technical. Yes, as a button up, you’ll run into limitations on a windy day if you’re relying on the shirt alone. But I’ve hiked in it, worked up a sweat in it, wore it until it dried, and then used it as a pillow to nap in the sun (and no, it wasn’t gross). I shook out the dirt and leaves and it looked as good as new. I took a deep sniff the next day and not only did I not gag, there was no smell at all.
The one concern is pilling. I haven’t experienced fabric pilling with other Power Dry pieces, but after about a month’s worth of constant wearing, the Basis was beginning to show wear on the inside of the back of the collar and even a little bit at the cuffs. Something to keep an eye on — I’ll report back in a few more months.