Pros: One of the most comfortable and wearable garments in its category. The Vesti Ascendi shirt and tie will help you to make a statement, both on and off the course.
Cons: While Vesti Ascendi is surprisingly comfortable, the dress shirt is not designed to accommodate a golfer on a hot summer day. Some golfers aren’t prepared to ditch their casual golfing attire in favor of a more sophisticated look, or pay the price tag associated with that style.
Bottom Line: If you possess an adventurous spirit, the Vesti Ascendi brand of shirts and ties will not disappoint you with it’s great fit and bold style. Give your favorite short-sleeve polo shirt a day off and golf like a gentleman.
A shirt and tie, as much at home in a boardroom on Madison Avenue as on a golf course in Madison, Wisconsin; that’s the premise behind Vesti Ascendi, an up-and-coming apparel label founded by Ryan Heiman a little over a year ago.
Heiman is not a fashion designer by trade. He isn’t skilled with a needle and thread. He makes a living as a Lutheran Pastor, and his love of golf (and its traditions) derive from his childhood days picking up the game from his father. The idea of Vesti Ascendi — latin for “dress up” — was a solution to a problem: how to seamlessly transition from the office to the course for a quick nine without having to carry around an extra set of clothes.
“I started really sketching and going after it January of 2013, after visiting the PGA Show,” Heiman said. “I walked and looked at every apparel booth that was there and realized that my idea wasn’t represented.”
To come up with the concept, Heiman critiqued his own wardrobe, studying both dress shirts and polos. He systematically picked apart both things he liked and didn’t like until he had a list of features he felt would enable his shirt to function for the golf swing while maintaining the sophistication and formality of his everyday workwear.
Working with a manufacturer in Peru, Heiman went through six prototypes before signing off on a finished product.
“Since I don’t sew myself, I had to work closely with an apparel designer and the factory to get the specs to where I wanted,” Heiman said. “The retention straps on my sleeves, for instance, they did those wrong on the first four shirts.”
The retention straps, as mentioned by Heiman, allow you to roll up the sleeves and hold them in place for a more casual look. It also allows the shirt to be worn on warmer days.
A Vesti Ascendi shirt is made from 95 percent Peruvian cotton and 5 percent spandex, allowing for plenty of stretch. The shirt’s forgiveness is further accentuated by a seamless extension pleat that replaces the traditional yoke between the shoulder blades.
As for the tie itself, no, it doesn’t flap in the breeze. A clever, patent-pending “tie rail” uses an elastic strap and button system to secure it in place. To the uninitiated, the Vesti Ascendi look must seem like an overly-complicated garment to slip into for a round of golf. Trust me, I felt the same way at first. But once you have it on and start waggling the club, you’ll quickly forget why you believed it was a contrivance in the first place.
The Vesti Ascendi dress shirt is as comfortable as any polo I have ever worn. At no time did I feel it was impeding on my ability to swing a club or distracting me on the putting green. The length of the sleeves felt just right and there’s extra room in the chest, perhaps just a touch more than I would like. The contrasting pima-cotton collar is extra soft and is devoid of any tags might rub up against the skin.
The Peruvian cotton yarn used in the shirts is rugged enough to withstand being washed the hundreds of times golfers will expect, and is highly resistant to fading or shrinking. The shirt does wrinkle easily; it’s not a grab off the hanger and dash-to-the-course, polyester-blend polo you might be accustomed to wearing.
You may be thinking to yourself that Vesti Ascendi is a gimmick, that it’s designed to amuse golfers who like to throw on a pair of knickers and play a round or two with hickory-shafted clubs in an exhibition for the thrill of it. Rest assured, it’s not.
Two separate high schools, one in California and the other in Minnesota, have partnered with Heiman to outfit their varsity golf teams. If Vesti Ascendi is good enough for structured competition, surely it’s good enough for your five-dollar nassau games on Sunday with the boys.
Looks and Feel
The Vesti Ascendi line offers three different shirt styles: white, grey and light blue with coordinating ties. The shirts are currently on sale for $100 (normally $150) and are available in limited quantities. Each shirt and tie that is purchased arrives with a custom-made Vesti Ascendi-branded wooden hanger and a handwritten note by Heiman; an unexpected and welcome nicety.
The shirts can be worn tucked, or untucked, and with or without the tie. I personally prefer the more the refined look and I recommend coordinating your Vesti Ascendi shirt with a pair of dark trousers from Dunning or Matte Grey. For a little more pop, go ahead and treat yourself to one of the unique Jacob Hill leather belts designed exclusively for Vesti Ascendi and sold directly through Heiman’s website.
On cooler days I pair my dress shirt with either a contrasting merino wool vest or cardigan. It’s a look that The Hawk would definitely approve, and is on a short list of inspiring styles that Heiman channeled into the Vesti Ascendi brand.
Heiman is a savvy guy. He didn’t launch Vesti Ascendi with the absurd hope of connecting with and swaying the flat-bill crowd to embrace a more sophisticated look.
“My success model is probably different than a lot of companies,” Heiman said. “I don’t mind being small and doing something unique.
“I see it as a niche brand, not something mainstream that will be available at every pro shop. I’d like to see it be available at some of the private clubs or resort destinations where customers are looking to take something home that isn’t necessarily another polo with a Nike logo sewn on it.”
Realistically, is Vesti Ascendi appropriate for a casual round at your local muni, or to be worn on a sweltering day in the middle of July? Perhaps not. But it’s a great way to differentiate yourself from the pack if you’re competing in your club championship or celebrating an outing on Father’s Day, or making a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to Scotland. If you find yourself in any of those situations consider ditching the big logos, the engineered stripes and the bright colorways.
The phrase, “golf like a gentleman,” isn’t just a motto Heiman plumbed from the annals of golf history to sell shirts; it’s also a good piece of advice.