Unlike many of its high street competitors, Uniqlo’s USP is clear. As one of the first labels to bring Japanese engineering prowess to British shores, it’s cut through the swatches of trend-led designs offered by its peers to offer something decidedly simple: minimalist design, quality fabrics and, most importantly, affordable price points.
No surprise then, that the basics brand has joined forces with Theory, the New York-based label whose wares epitomise understated luxury.
Co-founded by Calvin Klein alumnus Andrew Rosen and designer Elie Tahari, Theory made its name by taking Lycra upscale in the late 1990s, working the relatively underused material into high-quality wardrobe basics in a move that could be described as sports luxe before sports luxe was a thing. Which makes it a good match for Uniqlo’s near-obsession with fabrications that perform as well as they look.
Here, we take a look at the collection’s key pieces, and why they’re worth taking home:
The Dry EX Polo Shirt
Offering a contemporary take on the casualwear classic, the Uniqlo x Theory Dry EX Polo (£24.90) keeps all the good stuff about a polo (its light weight and versatility) but splices it with progressive design.
Its ultra quick-drying fabric makes it an excellent choice for sports, but the shirt’s cut and details ensure it works within smarter looks too. The stand up collar gives a distinct nod to the Mandarin shirt while still remaining accessible – perfect if you’re looking for an alternative to the average polo.
Try one with black jeans or shorts and all-white trainers for maximum minimalist impact.
The Dry Pique Polo Shirt
Despite being billed as the more traditional offering from the Uniqlo x Theory collection, the Dry Pique Polo (£24.90) still strikes a modernist chord: yes, all the comfort and casual finesse of a classic polo is there, but the shirt’s contrast twill collar and placket detail adds an unexpected touch.
Better yet, the range of colourways this style comes in (black, white, blue and grey marl) can easily integrate into any wardrobe – just the ticket if you’re looking to build upon those all-important sartorial staples.
Wear with stone-coloured shorts or chinos and your favourite lightweight bomber jacket.
The Full Open Polo Shirt
One for those who’ve got their layer game on-point, the Full Open Polo Shirt (£24.90) fuses the classic polo’s silhouette with shacket details like a full button-front fastening, off-white twill backing on the placket and two flap chest pockets.
It’s made from a poly-cotton blend, which means you get all the sweat-wicking properties of polyester with the bonus of cotton’s natural breathability.
Best worn over a white or grey T-shirt, think of it a bit like a sleeker spin on the bush shirt (with none of the colonial connotations).
The Dry EX T-Shirt
Sometimes a collection’s simplest offerings are its strongest. Case in point: the Uniqlo x Theory Dry Ex T-Shirt (£14.90), which is unburdened by any extraneous details or attention-grabbing design features – and all the more beautiful for it.
This ultimate blank canvas offers the collection’s signature warm-weather-ready Dry EX material alongside understated colourways, contrast ribbing and a versatile design that’s as good for drinks as it is for deadlifting.
Whether you’re looking for wardrobe mainstays or workout gear, this is the tee that tops your shopping list.
Grab your own piece of minimalist cool at selected Uniqlo stores and online now.