What do your gym clothes and your dress shirts have in common?
Before 2012 the answer was next to nothing.
Today, the answer is Mizzen+Main.
What is Mizzen+Main?
When a clothing company locks down the domain name www.comfortable.af, it makes a statement.
And not just to marketing teams of clothing brands worldwide who have surely since been roasted by their CEOs for not thinking of it first.
No. It sends a message that comfort means something.
As I’m sure you’ve guessed, Mizzen+Main owns the domain. Which is fitting because as a company, it was born with the lofty goal of revolutionizing the comfort and utility of the dress shirt.
And as you’re about to find out, there was some sweat involved.
Launched in 2012 by former management consultant Kevin Lavelle, Mizzen+Main is a performance menswear company based in Dallas, Texas.
It all started when Lavelle spotted a Washington D.C. staffer running up the hill on a hot day wearing a dress shirt that looked like he’d just done 25 laps in Banneker Pool.
The thing was sweat-soaked. And so the idea came to him:
Why not use athletic wear material to create a dress shirt?
After much trial and error to get the fabric just right—which included wearing his samples through several rounds of golf and many trips to the gym—Lavelle had 1,000 dress shirts made.
Mizzen+Main was born.
The Main and Mizzen refer to masts on a sailboat. Much like the sails harnessing the power of the winds to propel a ship forward, Mizzen+Main uses performance technology in our clothing to move menswear into the next era . The historic element our name gives is a legacy of tradition, respect, and of course classic style.
Check out this short clip that tells the story in a much more fun way than I can:
A nice touch we like is that Mizzen+Main directly supports Adaptive Training Foundation which helps veterans other adaptive athletes transform their lives through training and community.
We tried out two dress shirts and a henley, more specifically:
Leeward Dress Shirt Review
First up is The Leeward, a dark blue windowpane dress shirt with a spread collar.
It’s from Mizzen+Main’s Leeward Collection which has the most style choices out of all of the brand’s dress shirt collections.
The Leeward is crafted from Mizzen+Main’s signature lightweight and moisture wicking performance fabric with 4-way stretch. It’s non-iron and machine washable.
We don’t say this lightly:
In terms of comfort, this dress shirt is up there with one of the most comfortable we’ve tried.
The performance fabric (85% Polyester and 15% Spandex) means it has a lot of flex—it feels more like you’re wearing a gym shirt. It’s so light on your body that it doesn’t even feel like you’re wearing long sleeves.
But importantly, it still has that high-quality look to it of a traditional-style dress shirt.
We wore it out and about all day and found it to be super breathable. No sweat marks to report, Captain.
Our only complaint is that the arms ran a little long (our model is 5’11”), but it’s an easy fix for our tailor (you should be getting your dress shirts tailored at this price-point).
This is easily the best dress shirt we've tried for travel. Mizzen+Main specializes in breathable, non-iron shirts. We actually crumbled this in a ball and stuffed it in a backpack for two days and it still didn't have wrinkles.
Black Short Sleeve Henley Review
0% cotton. 100% comfortable.
Mizzen+Main don’t mince words in describing their Black Short Sleeve Henley.
But to be fair, the comfort truly is on point. It has a breezy feel to it and the fabric is incredibly soft. It’s very easy to throw on—the collar is nicely cut.
The color of the buttons also contrast well. It’s a great looking henley that you can dress up or down.
While it fit our model perfectly, it’s on the tight side. And this is by design—Mizzen+Main’s trim fit shirts are meant to be fitted for a more custom made, tailored feel.
Because of this, you may want to consider choosing a size up if snug isn’t your preferred style. But as always, your mileage may vary—fit is a subjective thing.
Spinnaker Dress Shirt Review
Last off the block is the crisp Blue Gingham Spinnaker Dress Shirt. It’s from Mizzen+Main’s aptly named Spinnaker collection which uses their highest stretch fabric.
Made from 46% Polyester, 46% Nylon, and 8% Lycra, it’s a unique mix that we’ve rarely seen used in dress shirt making. Their claim is that it offers unmatched form, fit, and stretch.
Like all of the brand’s dress shirts, The Beckett is also machine washable, never requires ironing (oh how we love this), and has four-way stretch.
So, how did it stack up?
Honestly, pretty darn well. The fabric is extremely soft—so much so that it’s almost feels like you’re wearing a t-shirt. It feels great and it stays wrinkle free all day.
The shirt also has plenty of ‘give’ to it and has noticeably more stretch to it than the other dress shirt we tried, The Leeward. The collars and cuffs are also proportionally sized.
We did find it to hang slightly long in the front which made it a little tricky to keep tucked as well as we’d like—but it’s a minor issue and nothing that some shirt stays wouldn’t fix.
Be sure to check out their fit guide to make sure you lock in the right size and fit for you.
The Spinnaker is our favorite dress shirt built for comfort first. This has the highest stretch factor of any Mizzen+Main shirt, but the dual darts in the back keep it trim and classy looking.
Our Overall Thoughts on Mizzen+Main
What I Like
Their dress shirts are easily up there with the most comfortable we’ve ever worn. Same goes for the henley.
The performance fabric is super light and breathable. It pretty much feels like you’re wearing gym clothes. And you need to be sweating HARD for it to show through these (trust us, we tried).
The quality of construction is excellent and the 4-way stretch means the dress shirts have a lot of “give” to them. They fit very much true to form which adds to their comfort factor.
The clothing looks great—the styles err to the traditional side but there are a few flamboyant options scattered through their range of dress and casual shirts for the daring.
Their dress shirts stay wrinkle free all day without the need for ironing. Ironing sucks, so we like that. A lot. Throw them in the wash then hang them on the line and you’re good to go.
What I Don’t Like
The price of their dress shirts may place them out of range for guys on a limited budget. This is a premium performance menswear brand and the price is reflective of that.
We found the fit to be ever-so-slightly inconsistent across two different dress shirt collections, despite choosing the same size for each. But it’s hardly noticeable.
It’d be great to see a more expansive selection of colors and patterns, particularly outside of their Leeward collection.
Comfort. Breathability. Fit. Quality. Style.
These are the key things you should look for in any shirt. And Mizzen+Main pretty much nails all of them. In an impressively innovative way.
But there’s one other factor you should always consider with any clothing purchase you make:
And with every Mizzen+Main dress shirt priced at over a Benjamin, clearly, price could be the deciding factor for you if you’re on a budget.
And that’s totally reasonable.
But we will say this. Just like suits and shoes, with dress shirts, you (usually) get what you pay for.
There’s a noticeable improvement in all of those things we mentioned above—comfort, breathability, fit, quality, style—when you go from a low or mid-tier dress shirt to a premium offering like Mizzen+Main.
Especially due to their use of performance fabrics.
And if you’re wearing a dress shirt every day to work, you’re probably clocking up 40+ hours in them each and every week.
Our point? The more you wear or use something, the stronger the argument you have for investing in premium.
And when it comes to premium, Mizzen+Main is right up there with the best menswear we’ve tried.