Pique is the new Black


When I started this site, I told myself this was not about an exclusive promo front for SanMar. Instead I simply wanted to share my observations and experiences with the decorate apparel industry. In the case of this post though, I have to share and rave about a new style.

10+ years ago SanMar introduced a polo shirt that would have a tremendous impact on product style. The K500 was born out of a blend of 65% polyester and 35% cotton. As it quickly grew in popularity, many companies did their best to try to emulate it, without success. The reason was we had sources and built a knit structure that was neither easy or cheap. In order for another company to try to effectively re-create it, they would have to purchase an absurd about to come close to keeping the price the same.

Flash forward to 2017 and the latest Spring/Summer product launch. I must admit at first glance I was a bit confused by a new 60/40 cotton/poly pique style that was being showcased. I have learned that often it is the more basic styles in a new launch that are certainly destined to be the top-selling styles. In this case….I was struggling. Sure it was a solid price at $5.99, but many mill brands have decent 50/50 pique styles that are much lower in price. What was I missing??

Turns out this is poised to be the next-gen K500 to lead us into the next 10 years. Now I know what you are thinking: All I wear is poly and all I will likely ever wear is poly…or some future synth fabric mined from the mountains of Mars. I too would tend to fall in this camp however that is starting to change. Indeed the fashion pendulum has begun to swing back as we are seeing an increase of demand in blended fabrics. This in mind, w needed to build a new leader of the pack. Thus the K100 was born.

Now, again, at first glance this 60/40 blend seems to be ordinary, but you couldn’t be more wrong. As explained by our faithful leader, this was another extremely unique(I dare say magical) knit structure that takes simple numbers and labels and laughs in their faces with an added layer of complexity. Sure, reading and saying that could be chalked up to mere marketing hype, but as I have told many folks in the past: “don’t take my word for it, you need to try it”.

Yes indeed I just caused fear and chaos in my closet as of late. No, I’m not talking about my recent addiction to funky pattern Hawaiian style button-ups. I’m speaking to the addition of a Lime Green K100 among my duplicates of S650s, Nike, and several other all-poly styles. Not only is my old school polo standing tall among a sea of synthetics, but is shining bright around grey/black/navy everything.

Now I cannot devulge the trade secrets of how this shirt was made(mostly since I truly do not know) but I can tell you it has performed amazing. The shirt has a soft hand, with plenty of loft, and has most especially wash/worn quite nicely. I am learning to live with ribbed cuffs on my sleeves as a small trade-off to all the positives. For those that did not care for the K500 being “too thin” or “those funky buttons” here is your new King.

As you have come to enjoy with SanMar’s approach to product development, this story is not one about a singular style…but instead a FAMILY:


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