The opportunity to write a review of the Stanley Stella Dedicator polo shirt was too good to miss, something which instantly appealed to me, and I jumped at the chance. An interest in clothes and fashion aside, I have to admit to what can only be described as a mild addiction to polo shirts. Especially pique polos. I absolutely adore them as an article of clothing because they’re so comfortable and versatile. It’s a piece of apparel which is acceptable in so many situations. You can wear them for sport or activity, in a huge variety of working environments, or simply to lounge around and relax.
One consequence of this infatuation with the garment is that my review of the Stanley Stella Dedicator polo shirt is going to be pretty demanding in terms of quality, fit and styling. I’ve amassed quite a collection of branded polos. Timberland, Nike, Levi’s, Barbour, Luke 1977, Lyle & Scott, Armani and Diesel are only a few of the names crammed into my wardrobe. It’s somewhat unfair to make comparisons between retail brand name and wholesale blank garments, but it’s also probably inevitable on a subconscious level. I’ll do my best to be objective. So, here we go, let’s put the Stanley Dedicator polo under the microscope and see how it stands up to some serious scrutiny. By the way, there are a mix of images, some are Stanley Stella stock shots and some are my own (poor) photographs. You should be able to tell which is which without too much trouble!
Styles in the Dedicator Polo.
Stanley Stella manufacture specific polo shirts for women, kids and men. Stella Devoter is designed for women and the Mini Sprinter is the junior option. This Dedicator shirt is the men’s style. There are three versions in it – Stanley Dedicator (code STPM563), Dedicator Denim (code STPM564) and a long sleeved style (code STPM508).
Colours in the Dedicator Polo.
If you want a polo shirt with plenty of choice in colours, this is the one for you. Stanley Dedicator polo shirts are available in an outstanding nineteen colours. It’s an outrageously good palette and that’s before you add another two denim variants. I obtained five different colours to assess. The physical items in sky blue, cotton pink, French navy, anthracite, and mid-washed indigo in the denim. All were an accurate match for what I’d seen on the screen. It will obviously depend on your PC or mobile to some extent, but online colours are a reliable representation of the actual products.
Sizes in the Dedicator Polo.
Size range is especially relevant for business when choosing a garment to customise. Being able to accommodate the requirements of your staff or target market is vital when rebranding and the good news is that the Dedicator offers comprehensive sizing options. Small to 4XL (in selected colours) will cover the majority of your workforce if you’re buying as uniform and also satisfy most customers if you’re reselling shirts.
Dedicator Measurements, Fit & Finish.
Any review of the Stanley Stella Dedicator polo shirt has to look at measurements and fitting. Which meant it was time to get out my tape measure and compare the manufacturer specifications to some actual shirts. My examples were spot on, a perfect match for the measurements stated in the Stanley Stella product spec sheet.
In the Wash.
I always feel that washing the garment is a crucial part of any review that involves clothing, particularly when it’s a product intended for the wholesale printing and embroidery market. More good news for the Dedicator polo. The shirts wash extremely well and there was minimal shrinkage, even when I ignored the manufacturer instructions and washed the shirts at higher than recommended temperatures. By the way, you really do need to follow the recommendations for washing. Those from the supplier and any additional advice you get from your garment decorators. The information they provide is there to ensure the item and any decoration on it perform to satisfactory levels. Ignoring it may degrade both things.
Dedicator polo shirts are a regular fitting, which is my preferred styling for this type of garment. Not that there’s anything wrong with slimmer fitting polos, but I think the standard cut is more comfortable and offers maximum flexibility. This shirt feels nicely balanced, not oversized but not overly restrictive at the neck, around the shoulders or across the stomach. At 230 GSM (grams per square metre) the cotton has a respectable weight without feeling too heavy. One or two of the retail branded polos that I have are more substantial and, whilst this is great in some ways, it can have drawbacks. That added weight is warmer when wearing and that sometimes makes you think twice about taking it out of the drawer. Plus, that weight takes longer to dry. The Dedicator is perfect for day to day wear and a little layering.
Overall, the finish on the Dedicator polo shirt is excellent. Gorgeously soft herringbone tape on the neck and at the side slits add a premium feel. Seams and stitching are top quality. If I have a minor gripe, and a very minor one, it’s that I’d have wanted a slightly deeper return on the flat rib sleeve trim. Just fractionally wider, a couple of millimetres. Not a negative as such, an entirely personal thing and not something for which I can mark the shirt down. One stand out for me is the garment washed finish on the Dedicator Denim. The faded effect seams are a subtly understated touch of distressed style.
Quality, Feel & Rebranding.
High quality is generally a given with Stanley Stella merchandise and their Dedicator polo shirt maintains the usual standard. Due in no small part to the fact that it’s made from organic cotton. Without getting all eco-warrior about the subject, I have to mention how much better organic cotton feels against the skin. It’s streets ahead of the traditionally grown stuff, so much softer and smoother. I’m a relatively recent convert and would urge you give it a go if you haven’t already done so. The environment benefits and you get a richer feeling shirt.
The Stanley Dedicator polo shirt is designed to be customised and all of the rebranding boxes are ticked. Labels such as washing info, shirt content, manufacturer details etc, are pull-out and easily removed by hand. The obligatory UK and EU size labelling is discretely located in the neck and small enough to not even notice when the shirt is being worn. As far as customisation goes, the guys in the printshop inform me that it delivers reliable results.
Putting your logo on this shirt strikes me a good move and I can understand why it’s such a popular choice. Basically, an ideal bit of kit for rebranding. Retail quality, comfortable yet hard wearing, and it comes in a veritable kaleidoscope of colours. I’d be vaguely ecstatic if I was presented with one as a uniform top and I can imagine being equally happy reselling them as a branded business venture.
How many Stars?
I started off by stating my fondness for polo shirts and I have to now admit that I love this one. There’s only one way to conclude my review of the Stanley Stella Dedicator polo shirt and that’s a star rating.
So, how many stars? Five, without any doubt.
It more than holds its own against many of the branded polos hanging in my wardrobe. Top marks for quality, fit, and style, with the added bonus of great value for money. As a shirt that’s first and foremost intended for the wholesale printing and embroidery sector, it reminds me very favourably of several more expensive Lyle and Scott Vintage polos that I own. Quite an accolade when you think about it. To be honest, after reviewing, I think I’d opt for the Dedicator.
That’s about it. For more info on the shirts, click any of the style names below to go to the corresponding product page:
Reviewed by Frankie (freelance reviewer) for Fifth Column.