Prepster polos in the spotlight.
A little while ago, early in 2021, I wrote a review of the Dedicator polo. At the time, I mentioned my affection for polo shirts. In particular, pique polo shirts. Put simply, I love them and it’s certainly fair to say they’re my first choice for daily wear. As a consequence, reviewing the Dedicator was more enjoyable experience than work obligation. And for the same reason, the chance to write a review of the Stanley Stella Prepster polo shirt was a prospect that had me rubbing my hands together with delight.
Actually, my curious infatuation with polos aside, it interested me in another way. To explain, you’ll know I was very impressed with the Dedicator if you’ve read that earlier review. It’s difficult, perhaps impossible, to avoid comparing the two garments. Is the Prepster polo an improvement on what is a well-established and successful shirt? It has to be said, that’s quite ambitious because Stanley Stella have already set a high bar. And, as mentioned in the previous review, my own expectations are far from low. That is, they’re influenced by a sizeable collection of retail shirts. We’re talking serious names here. Brands such as Timberland, Nike, Levi’s, Barbour, Luke 1977, Lyle & Scott, Diesel and Calvin Klein. So, how did the Prepster fare? Well, here we go, my review of the Stanley Stella Prepster polo.
Styles in Prepster Polos.
Firstly, a quick note about images. Those above, indeed the majority in this review, are Stanley Stella stock and promotional photographs. However, I’ve also included a few personal shots of a sample shirt.
Right, let’s talk styles. The Stanley Stella Prepster offers a plethora of possibilities. We start with the core style, the Prepster (code STPU331) which is available in a stunning 28 shades. I mean, come on, there has to be something amongst this lot that tickles your fancy. It’s an outstanding selection which includes basic colours, a variety of heathers, and some lovely fashion tones.
Next, we have the Prepster AOP (code STPU336). Incidentally, the AOP stands for all over print. Got to admit, I adore this green and yellow checked print. It’s described by the manufacturer as ‘Check Jojoba’ which I think is nearly as delightful as the pattern itself. In design terms, it reminds me a little of a style called Blaine from Barbour.
Following on from that, we have the Prepster Space Dye (code STPU334). This is another eye-catching variation and one that fairly oozes textural appeal. You want to touch it, feel the fabric in your hand. Stanley Stella have designated the colour as ‘Hibiscus Rose Space Dyed’ which strikes me as verging on the poetic.
Are three alternatives enough for you? No, okay, we’ll keep going. Prepster Vintage (code STPU335) is probably my favourite. Subtler than the AOP or Space Dyed versions, the garment washed and dyed effect really rocks my particular boat. I can imagine this being an extremely attractive option for certain brands. To be honest, I’d happily wear it with or without a logo.
Finally, there’s the Prepster Long Sleeve (code STPU332). Got to have a long sleeved option, right? Especially when you’ve already gone to the trouble of creating so many others. On a personal level, I tend to favour short sleeve polos but there is obviously a big market for longer sleeves. This boasts 14 colours. Now, that’s pretty comprehensive for this type of garment.
Colours in the Prepster polo.
Overall, my verdict is that the Stanley Stella Prepster is available in just about every possible colour combo you could want. Which also suggests another thought. Specifically, the manufacturer must have great faith in a product when they produce so many options within it. After all, this is business. You can’t afford to simply indulge some aesthetic whim. No, you need to be confident these items are going to be popular. And, most importantly, fly off of the stockroom shelves.
The range of sizes available in a blank garment designed for customisation are probably even more important than in the direct to consumer market. To explain that statement, blanks are destined to be rebranded for a multitude of purposes. Anything from staff uniform to retail fashion sales. Therefore, they need to offer maximum flexibility. Well, we’re once again in comprehensive territory here with the Prepster. All of the above come in 8 sizes, XXS to 3XL, with the core shirt going up to 5XL. Surely, that’s going to cover the majority of possible uses.
Okay, let’s look at weight. After all, any review of the Stanley Stella Prepster polo shirt needs to mention that. All of the Prepster polo shirts are 230 G/M². Okay, that may not mean very much to some people. What it equates to in ‘hands on’ terms is a nicely balanced shirt. That is to say, substantial enough to have a quality feel without being uncomfortably heavy. In my experience, it compares well to many retail polo shirts. In fact, I don’t think there are many in my collection which are markedly denser. Maybe some of the Barbour and Timberland shirts.
Prepster polo shirts – measurements, fit & finish.
Alright, tape measure time! It might seem odd, but I always feel a responsibility to check a sample garment against the supplier’s specification for measurements. The reason? Well, I’ve had instances in the past when they don’t correlate. The good news with the Prepster polo is that Stanley Stella have got it bang on. Perhaps not any surprise, I get the impression a lot of thought goes into their clothing.
In the wash – Prepster performance.
There’s no getting away from the fact, washing and wearing any garment gives you the complete picture. Items can appear fantastic when crisp and fresh from the packaging. But, a few washes, a steamy blast or two from a hot iron, and they’re suddenly drab and disappointing. Was that the case with the Prepster? Answer, absolutely not. I’ve had this shirt in my possession for a couple of months and it’s seen plenty of wear. Plus, plenty of action on the laundry front. In short, it performs excellently. One point, I’m obliged to mention that you should always adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations for washing and also be mindful of any suggested by the printing and embroidery company. To be honest, I don’t always do that. But, I’m not the one who’ll be upset if the shirt is degraded in some way by being treated incorrectly.
Stanley Stella categorise their Prepster polo shirt as a medium fit and I’d agree with that classification. For context, I favour a slightly looser fit with polos and am inclined to choose a size up with medium fitting styles. Which was perfect on this occasion. In more general terms, it strikes me as a very sensible approach from the manufacturer. Again, think maximum flexibility and appealing to the widest audience. Something which is echoed by the fact this is a unisex garment
The finish on the Prepster polo is very good. Those small touches which I’d expect on a decent shirt are all there. For instance, flat knit on the sleeve and collar ribbing. Tape inside at the back of the neck and facing on the side seam splits. In particular, I like the broader bottom hem because it helps the garment hang properly. As an aside, one small moan I had about the Dedicator was the width of the sleeve ribbing. I considered it a fraction too thin. But, that’s been addressed with the Prepster, there’s not even a hint of skimp on this sleeve.
Organic, quality, and decoration.
If you’ve read this far, you’ll probably have gathered that I think the Prepster is a high quality polo shirt. Now, there are a number of factors which dictate quality but one of them is instantly obvious. By which I mean the material from which it is made. In this case, we’re talking organic cotton. And, got to admit, I’ve become a big fan of organic cotton. In the first place, it’s clearly better for our environment. By the way, that’s better on lots of different levels. For example, no toxic pesticides and lower consumption of precious water. But, there is another reason why nowadays I’ll opt for it ahead of traditionally grown cotton. For me, it simply feels nicer to wear, superior quality. I put it down to how it’s picked – organic cotton is hand-picked and this preserves the purity of the fibres.
Customising the Stanley Stella Prepster.
One aspect of the review which can’t be overlooked is how the Stanley Stella Prepster performs when customised. At the end of the day, this shirt is purpose made to be rebranded and it has to deliver great results there to get a high rating. However, printing and embroidery aren’t my specialist subjects. So, this is an area where I’m happy to ask the experts. Specifically, the good folk at Fifth Column with ink on their fingers and an embroiderer’s eye. Well, their report is positive. Prepster polo shirts are fine with both print and embroidery. They’re best suited to a small left breast embroidery and/or print on the back. Most commonly, you’d probably embroider your company logo on the front.
Stanley Stella Prepster polo shirt review rating.
Now, no beating about the bush here. Clearly, my review of the Stanley Stella Prepster polo shirt is a resounding endorsement. In my book, it gets five stars all day long. I can’t really fault it. And, I’ve looked very hard for shortcomings and reasons to mark it down. I began by saying I’d find it impossible to avoid comparing this garment to the Dedicator. Well, I’ve compared it and think it’s an improvement. If you liked the Dedicator, you’ll love the Prepster. That’s my take from a user perspective but I ought to ask another question.
Would I put my logo on a Prepster polo shirt? It has to be said, there are far cheaper blank polo shirts out there. In many ways, buying a number of these shirts for business is a very different matter to buying one to wear. Whether it be printing workwear polos for staff uniform or adding your brand and reselling, My answer would be yes, providing your budget or business model allows for the cost. Why? Put simply, it’s a high quality and ethically sourced piece of apparel. And there’s an old saying, you get what you pay for. Personally, I tend to view quality as an investment rather than expense.
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.