- Founded in 2012, Mizzen+Main is a menswear brand that produces performance workwear, and it claims to make “the best damn dress shirt.”
- The Mizzen+Main dress shirt features a four-way stretch material that resists wrinkles, wicks moisture, and is machine washable.
- Starting at $125, the Mizzen+Main dress shirts are expensive, but after giving them a try, they really do live up to the claims.
Whether you dress up five days a week for the office or only on special occasions, being able to put together a clean, formal look is important for every man. When done right, it’s hard to go unnoticed in a nice dress shirt and pair of slacks, but sweat stains and wrinkles can quickly draw attention for the wrong reasons.
Now, performance menswear startup Mizzen+Main is making sure you don’t have to worry about wrinkling your shirt before you reach your destination, having unsightly sweat stains, or being restricted in an uncomfortable shirt ever again – and they’re doing it with what they claim to be “the best damn dress shirt.”
The brand was officially founded in 2012 by Kevin Lavelle, but the idea came about in 2005 while he was working as an intern in Washington D.C. After seeing congressional workers and aspiring presidents dealing with excessive sweat and wrinkly shirts, Lavelle set a goal to solve that issue for men from all walks of life.
By aiming to make clothes advanced enough for the 22nd century (yes, that’s 80 years away), every Mizzen+Main dress shirt features a four-way stretch material that’s wrinkle-resistant, moisture-wicking, and machine washable. On paper, that sounds just like any other performance shirt you can buy, but in reality, Mizzen+Main is far different – and in a good way.
Compared to most shirts that are still predominantly made of cotton, Mizzen+Main dress shirts use an 85/15 blend of polyester and spandex. By steering clear of cotton, the choice of materials make them a lot stretchier and, in turn, more comfortable than other performance dress shirt on the market.
With such a bold claim, I had to give Mizzen+Main a try. After wearing the dress shirt I’ve been sent several times, I can say it really is the best performance dress shirt I’ve tested so far.
What it’s like to wear (original review from April 2018)
The amount of stretch Mizzen+Main performance dress shirts have is their best feature. In the past, I’ve compared other performance dress shirts to the comfort of a cotton T-shirt. Mizzen+Main’s dress shirts are just as comfortable, but in a way that’s more comparable to performance workout gear. My mobility wasn’t limited at all and I didn’t have the urge to immediately unbutton or take it off at the end of the day. Although I like the shirt too much to actually wear it to the gym, I’m confident that you could do a full workout in it if you really wanted to.
In addition to being comfortable and stretchy, Mizzen+Main has a huge selection of styles and fits to choose from, so there’s something for everyone. I went with a simple pinstripe design, but you’ll find everything from plaid and checkered patterns to solid essentials like blue and white. What I like best is that none of the shirts come off as sporty – you can create the most classic or elegant look without sacrificing function.
Update after almost two years of ownership (February 2020)
Now that it’s 2020, just about every dress shirt brand has “performance” or “tech” in mind during the design process, but Mizzen+Main has maintained its position as my favorite in terms of sheer performance.
I mentioned before that it was the stretchiest performance shirt I had ever worn, and that hasn’t diminished any after being washed a few times. Now, you don’t need to get rid of all your other dress shirts and replace them with Mizzen+Main (unless your income is truly disposable), but if you value comfort for hot summer weather or days where you’re on the go, then I definitely recommend owning a couple of these shirts.
With that said, stretch shouldn’t be the only factor that determines which shirts to buy. If you’re looking for affordability, I recommend Twillory Performance Dress shirts, and if you’re looking for a shirt that won’t come untucked, I recommend Tommy John. Check out our full list of favorite performance dress shirts here.
The bottom line
Mizzen+Main‘s performance workwear isn’t an afterthought – it’s the entire ethos of the brand. Unlike other companies that have a small sub-section of performance apparel, every item in Mizzen+Main‘s product catalog has performance attributes. With polo shirts, flannels, and pants, you can get dressed from top to bottom.
Starting at $125, Mizzen+Main dress shirts are fairly expensive, but they’re well worth it. Because of the comfort, fit, long-lasting durability, and a wide selection of styles, I will be picking up a few more shirts with my own money – and if you’re looking for a truly premium, functional, and stylish dress shirt, you should consider doing the same.