Outlier was founded by New York-based duo, Abe Burmeister and Tyler Clemens back in 2008. Each founder was inspired in their own way—Burmeister, a former graphic designer, began his search for bike-able pants after ruining pair after pair cycling to work each day. Clemens, who discovered his love of fashion through reading his sister’s magazines growing up, got his start in the custom suits and shirts biz.
The two men met by chance. Clemens went to a coffee shop one rainy day, and the barista noticed his shirt was dry, despite his not having an umbrella on hand. Clemens explained he was testing a prototype for a water-resistant shirt, and the barista countered, “I think you should meet this guy,” passing along Burmeister’s email. A frequent customer, Burmeister himself was working on office-appropriate pants built for heavy-duty cycling.
So, Outlier began. Initially, the company was launched over a decade ago as a company that made pants you could bike to work in and actually wear once you got there. Today, the aesthetic feels a little dystopian-cool, all solid colors, in interesting cuts and “experimental” fabrics (yes, the website refers to articles of clothing as experiments).
The company specializes in indestructible pants that look like jeans, breathable waterproof shells, and merino wool tees. The clothes are stylish, but they appeal to a nerdier fan base than competing menswear brands due to the commitment to tee-shirts that don’t get wet and innovations in fabric.
Outlier is another line of basics aimed at the practical, yet cool millennial man. That said, the company isn’t exactly cutting costs and various middlemen, instead they’re reinvesting their money back into creating the latest innovations. Futuristic jeans and the whitest merino wool out there, to be exact.
So, What Do They Have?
We’ll come right out and say it—Outlier’s aesthetic is pretty darn rad.
You can even buy your new summer uniform—solid chino shorts and a merino tee for $175 a pop. The silhouettes are basic, and the price is a little steep, but the idea is, you can keep wearing the pieces on repeat. And, you can get a few sets—they come in a surprisingly wide range of colors for a minimal brand featuring shades like Titian blue or dusty rose.
The shorts in question are the brand’s “New Way Shorts.” They look like chinos and have a polished appearance. They’re also ready for the pool, the beach, or a water balloon toss. At $120—you’re paying for a multi-use item made from high denier nylon.
Then, there’s the End of the World Jean. A pair of pants that looks deceptively like denim, but is built from a fabric ready for fighting off zombies breaking into your bomb shelter.
The jeans are made from Dyneema, an ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene used to weave boating cables and body armor. It’s lightweight and has a cooling effect, so you’re not going to overheat as you bike to work in the summer.
Some reviewers have mentioned that even though brand’s jeans are made from the stuff heavy-duty ropes are made of; they’re quite comfortable. Like pajama-level comfortable.
That said, some users have experienced less than stellar performance from the pants. Some say that the fabric stains or tears easily—not exactly what you want to hear when pants are nearing the $300 mark.
A Cult Following
Because Outlier began as a direct to consumer company, the initial customer outreach process started online via Instagram and Reddit. Today, the brand has its own subreddit, updated on the regular, featuring men sharing details about their favorite pieces or the items they're thinking about buying.
By contrast, most of the trendier menswear brands do not have their own subreddit, and if they do, it's not like people post every day.
What’s the Verdict?
In looking at the website, it’s clear that this was put together by a graphic designer type—it’s minimal, aesthetically pleasing, and loaded with plenty of white space. That said, it’s a weird shopping experience.
You’ll scroll through the site as though it’s a catalog, rather than your average e-commerce site. We get it, Outlier breaks the mold, but this seems like an example where it doesn’t seem necessary.
The prices, too are high for anyone less than enthused about the innovations in fabric or cut. On our end, we do see these items as investment pieces that work for every occasion—but we can relate to the flip side, too.
Not every guy needs apocalyptic jeans or $295 linen pants, but anyone with equal parts passion for fashion and function is sure to put Outlier’s wares on their wish list.