Different occasions call for different clothing. It’s a fact of life.
If I had a business meeting at 4 pm, dinner at the nice Italian place in town at 7, then wanted to hit the boardwalk for drinks after, just what the hell would I wear?
In situations like these, I realize that there’s a bit of a hole in my wardrobe.
This is the area where johnnie-O seems to shine, offering “West Coast prep” threads that are made with quality and have you covered whether you’re hitting the green or spending the day on the sand.
But does their clothing deliver? Read my review below to find out.
What Is johnnie-O?
johnnie-O is a clothing brand started by founder John O’Donnell to mesh preppy East Coast style with Cali casual.
The brand set out to make clothing that fits in at the country club without being too stuffy and follows a motto that centers around enjoying the finer things without being too precious about convention.
They offer relaxed, yet conservative styles including polos, quarter-zips, chinos, sweatshirts, and accessories like hats and shoes with high-quality construction and designs that are appropriate in nearly any setting.
johnnie-O produces clothing that works for leisurely strolls on the beach just as well as grabbing a cold one after hitting the links—all while keeping you comfortable and looking put together.
Things to Consider Before Buying Clothing from johnnie-O
Ignoring the outlier of black and white-tie formalwear, clothing that serves a single purpose is out.
So where does johnnie-O fit into this multi-functional trend?
One place where johnnie-O shines in terms of versatility is simply the quality with which their pieces are made. Their clothing feels like it will last, which is expected given the price tag.
Their clothing also fits well and has a look that isn’t too buttoned-up, making it comfortable without giving you a “beachy” aesthetic.
With quality and a certain amount of versatility covered, the real thing to think about when checking out johnnie-O is whether or not it will fit your look.
However, if johnnie-O does fit your look, they have you covered with a ton of great options.
Simon Hangin’ Out Button-Down Shirt
You can never go wrong with staple long-sleeve button-down shirts, and this one certainly offers the same dependability.
The shirt is surprisingly soft, made with 100% cotton. The fit is somewhere between a slim fit and a regular fit, making it more forgiving if you’ve got a larger frame.
One of the notable details on the shirt is a hidden button-down collar, which I’m a huge fan of. It keeps you looking tidy without the stuffier look of a button-through collar. Some don’t like that the buttons aren’t easily accessible, but I haven’t popped a collar since 2009, so that doesn’t bother me a bit.
Another thing I really like about the shirt is the off-white that shows up in the plaid striping. It makes the shirt look more lived-in, rather than starched and fresh off the rack.
Because it’s made of cotton, it doesn’t offer the same temperature-regulating, anti-wrinkle benefits as some shirts with a more luxe fabric. However, I’m going to have the sleeves rolled and the top few buttons undone anyway, so a wrinkle here and there is going to add to the look more than anything.
Speaking of buttons, this shirt features johnnie-o’s exclusive “Tweener Button,” which sits between the first and second buttons.
If you’re a “two-buttons undone” kind of guy, that means you’ll have three buttons visible with two visible buttonholes. I’ve personally never found myself wanting for a button between ol’ one and two, but the Tweener Button could be a problem-solver for those who have that issue.
At the end of the day, the Simon Hangin’ Out Button-Down Shirt is a solid wardrobe staple that you can dress up with with a blazer or dress down with some rolled-up chinos and sneakers.
Wales Corduroy Pants
“Wait a second, corduroy pants?”
For anyone with at least one eye on fashion, you’ll know that the 90s are back—and with them, corduroy pants. And while the Wales Corduroy Pants from johnnie-O aren’t the oversized variety you’ll see on the runway, they fit right in with the trend.
As I haven’t rocked corduroys since the St. Louis Rams won the Superbowl, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect from this pair.
These pants surprised me in more ways than one.
The 1% of spandex in these pants more than pulls its weight, as these pants have a very slight stretch that moves with you without getting that deflated look that happens after a few wearings of pants that have more stretch.
The garment-dyed cotton is soft to the touch and has a very slight bit of sheen, unlike the low-quality corduroys of yesteryear that you could use to guide ships into the harbor.
Durability is also something worth noting here, as the quality of these pants is exceptional. I wore these for a few days on my most recent trip, and they held up a treat.
To be honest, there’s nothing groundbreaking about these pants. And that’s by no means a bad thing.
The Wales Corduroy Pants are soft, comfortable, dependable, and look just as great with a business-casual button-down and loafers as with your Sonic Youth tee and some Chucks.
Free tailoring from Hemster is also included with these pants, giving you a custom fit without the price tag that comes with taking these pants into your tailor.
If you need a workhorse pair of pants and your denim lineup is full, these are a hardy, versatile, and stylish option for rounding out your wardrobe. I know they have a reserved space and my closet—and will for some time.
Made with a soft, stretchy garment-dyed cotton, johnnie-O's Wales Corduroy pants are a solid choice to add extra versatility to your wardrobe. They feature a six-pocket design and hidden zip pocket so you'll always be able to find your keys after one too many beers.
What do Other Reviewers Say About johnnie-O?
While I wasn’t able to track down a ton of reviews online for johnnie-O, the ones I did find were overwhelmingly positive. The brand’s fits, fabrics, performance (for golf apparel), and aesthetic seemed to tick all the boxes, particularly for older guys looking to head from the clubhouse to the beachfront.
My Thoughts Overall On johnnie-O
What I Like
johnnie-O produces high-quality, great-looking preppy styles that are just as at home on the beach as they are at your favorite cocktail bar.
The styles are extremely versatile and a breeze to dress up or down depending on what your day looks like.
They have a pretty expansive inventory of several styles that fit into a similar look, making it easy to stock up if you’re impressed with your first purchase.
Their corduroy pants are an impressive workhorse piece that I’m getting a ton of use out of, and it feels like they’ll last me a long time.
What I Don’t Like
I’m typically more fashion-forward in my looks, so I’d love to see johnnie-o stand out a little more in their fits, fabrics, and patterns.
Who is johnnie-O for?
johnnie-O is for guys who tend to dress more conservatively, but have a more relaxed, beachy style. If you’re the type of guy to hit the front nine before hanging ten, johnnie-O is right up your alley. The slightly-slim fit and soft fabrics will keep you comfortable while still being happy-hour appropriate.
Like many, I’m no longer spending my days in an office, and I need clothes that can get me from one place to another without sacrificing comfort or style.
And while you’d find me much more at home at a dive bar in the city than on a golf course in the burbs, I was impressed with johnnie-O’s clothes.
Although it didn’t blow my socks off, the Simon Hangin’ Out Button-Down Shirt is a solid top if it fits your look. The quality is top-notch, and the put-together, yet worn-in look of the shirt makes it easy to dress up or down.
The fit is also particularly forgiving for bigger guys. If you have a slimmer frame, however, the fit could end up being too boxy.
Where johnnie-O really shined for me was with the Wales Corduroy Pants. These pants are certainly a standout piece from the brand, offering much more versatility in terms of styling than a good portion of the rest of their inventory. The slim fit looks great regardless of your build, and the style complements a wide range of outfits.
Cuffed with loafers and a thick sweater, uncuffed with sneakers and a well-fitting henley, paired with a heavy button-down and boots—these pants can help you achieve a great look whatever your style may be. And they’re dang comfortable too.
Because of johnnie-O’s West Coast Preppy aesthetic and roomier fit of their tops, I can’t see myself stocking up on them despite their high quality and soft feel. However, picking up a few more pairs of their corduroys is something I can easily see myself doing.
Does johnnie-O offer big and tall clothing?
johnnie-O does offer a selection of big and tall clothing.
Are there any physical johnnie-O stores?
What kind of accessories do johnnie-O offer?
johnnie-O, despite specializing in tops and bottoms, has a pretty impressive range of shoes. I haven’t had a chance to check them out, but they have drivers, chukkas, moccasins, loafers, sneakers, running shoes, flip-flops, and even a Chelsea boot.
In addition to their wide range of footwear, they also offer hats, belts, bags, and more, making them a solid option for gifts. Check out their full range of accessories here.