State & Liberty Review: Dress Shirts for the Muscle Man

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William Barton Avatar by  William Barton | Last Updated:  Jan 28, 2021

If you’ve ever picked up a shirt off the rack with too much fabric, you know how a poor fit can swallow you. You’ve heard about State & Liberty, but do they deliver on their promise of flattering dress shirts for built-out dudes?

This review covers everything you need to know before shopping with State & Liberty so you can get the right fit and get on with your life.

Tailor fit right off the rack
The Adult Man Image/Icon Image source: State & Liberty

State & Liberty

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Bottom line: State & Liberty does an excellent job accentuating a masculine body-type with their clothes. The look and feel of performance fabric isn’t for everyone, but certain items like S&L’s suit pants are almost indistinguishable from their cotton counterparts, which makes them a perfect blend of comfort and class for office wear.

Ratings:

The Adult Man Image/Icon  Design The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Quality of Materials The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Value for Money The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Craftsmanship The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon
The Adult Man Image/Icon  Customer Service The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon The Adult Man Image/Icon

Pros:

  • For muscular and lean builds, the fit and shape is flattering
  • Performance fabrics move with your body easily and keep their shape well
  • The fabric is truly non-wrinkle---even if you leave it in the dryer or stuff it in a backpack
  • Wide variety of colors in shirts and pants

Cons:

  • Performance fabrics can snag on small things and start to look frayed if you’re not careful

I still can’t believe what I wore to my prom. 

I bought a huge white “dress” shirt from a bulk discount store. It was thin, scratchy, and the bright teal tie didn’t class it up as much as I thought. 

My date looked amazing, but she was mortified. It was as if I tried to look sloppy. 

With so many new brands popping up in the past decade, there’s a shirt for just about every body type now. The days of cheap, ill-fitting shirts are long gone, and the latest brand I decided to try is State & Liberty

So what’s the verdict? Keep reading to get my full thoughts.

What Is State & Liberty?

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State & Liberty began as a dress shirt company for guys with athletic and lean builds. 

Dudes with jacked shoulders and rippling pecs often struggle to find dress shirts that don’t get pulled tight around the top buttons. 

I mean, that stretched look is great for a Hulk impression, but it’s not the cleanest, most professional style. 

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The most important aspect of State & Liberty is their fit. With a bit more room in the chest and a flattering taper toward the waist, the fit is designed to reinforce your masculine “upside down triangle” shape.

You don’t have to be muscular to wear S&L—just take a look at me. But beyond fit, State & Liberty makes their clothes with performance fabrics that offer four-way stretch and excellent moisture wicking. So if you’re a commuter and spend a lot of time walking through the city, the fabric keeps the odor away and keeps its shape well. 

Things to Consider Before Buying Performance Clothes from State & Liberty

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When looking at the State & Liberty site, they’re clear that their clothes are designed for gents with muscular and lean body-types. Some call it a “V” shape, others the “upside down triangle,” it’s all the same. If you have broad shoulders, a broad chest, and your stomach doesn’t stick out, these shirts are built for you.

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I wasn’t sure how I’d fit in them. I’m fairly athletic, but nobody looks at me and thinks woah, that guy is jacked. I’ve got a bit of a stomach—nothing major, but it’s just soft. 

I’ll go into more detail later in the review, but there’s a chance you might be in the same category as me. Even for guys with rectangular shaped upper bodies, these shirts fit well. So you don’t have to be a body-builder to look sharp in State & Liberty.

State & Liberty

State & Liberty is an excellent brand for fit guys who want flattering clothes for the office. The shirts embellish that hard work you’ve been putting in at the gym, and anything you pick up from S&L is going to be as comfortable as dress clothes can get.

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State & Liberty Review

“The Lennox” Long Sleeve Dress Shirt

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State & Liberty may have a variety of dressy clothes now, but the brand’s bread and butter is dress shirts. So I felt I had to give one of their best sellers, The Lennox, a shot. 

The most impressive thing about State & Liberty shirts (it’s true for their pants, too) is that there aren’t any wrinkles, even out of the box. 

In all of the pictures here, I hadn’t washed or steamed anything. They were folded up, shipped, and I crumpled them back into the box for a week after checking to see if they fit. Still, they look crisp and neatly pressed. 

This is one of the big benefits of technical fabrics—the non-iron factor—though I haven’t found another brand that executes it as well as State & Liberty. 

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The fabric is a blend of nylon and polyester, with a whopping 6% spandex. There are some pros and cons to this fabric blend. 

As I said, my personal favorite tally in the positive column is the shirt’s non-wrinkle factor. It’s great. The shirt also stretches easier and offers more mobility than any other dress shirt I’ve tried. 

The downside is that the fabric feels thin and synthetic. I’d recommend State & Liberty for any muscle bound guys who want an excellent fit for their office wear, but it’s a tougher sell for more formal occasions. I love the feeling of a fine cotton dress shirt under a suit, but cotton shirts aren’t nearly as comfortable.

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The fit is top-notch, even for guys who aren’t jacked (i.e. me). There are two darts placed in the back, which tapers the waist significantly and creates a flattering silhouette. And the way the sleeves are cut help emphasize your shoulders.

If you’ve never tried a tailored shirt, I recommend giving State & Liberty a shot first. It’s pretty incredible what an excellent fit can do.

State & Liberty Checked Dress Shirt

The fit on State & Liberty's dress shirt is excellent, even for guys who aren’t jacked. The two darts placed in the back tapers the waist significantly and creates a flattering silhouette. And the way the sleeves are cut help emphasize your shoulders. Yep, you're looking good.

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“The Barry” Short Sleeve Shirt

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I wanted to try some of State & Liberty’s more casual shirts, so I picked up their short sleeve Barry shirt

Featuring a button-down collar, The Barry is made with the same fabric blend as The Lennox. I’ll definitely add this shirt to my travel bag because it refuses to wrinkle. 

It has the same trim fit as the dress shirt and the sleeves fall to a pleasing length. My biggest issue with short sleeve shirts is that the sleeves can often swallow your arms and make you look like a noodle-boy. 

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But because the sleeves have some taper themselves, you don’t need massive bi’s to fill the openings. And if you’re more like me and haven’t seen the inside of a gym for over a year, the taper is crucial for keeping those pythons looking well-fed (to be fair, I’m not the only one who got 2020’d).

As with the dress shirt, the fabric feels ultralight, so I’ll probably reserve The Barry for the summer months when things get hot. 

State & Liberty Barry

Featuring a button-down collar, The Barry is made with a lightweight fabric blend that wicks sweat, stretches four-ways, and still looks crisp and clean. This is a good shirt to add to your travel bag because it refuses to wrinkle. 

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Athletic Fit Stretch Suit Pants

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To round out my selection, I picked up some of the State & Liberty Athletic Fit Stretch Suit Pants in light blue. 

This is the third brand I’ve tried that took a crack at technical fabric slacks, and State & Liberty is my favorite. 

The fabric is mostly polyester, with rayon, nylon, and spandex blended in. I noticed that the pants aren’t quite as wrinkle-resistant as the S&L shirts, but they’re still a world better than cotton or wool. 

If you ever worry about bending over and having the seat of your pants completely explode, then I highly recommend a technical fabric dress pant. If not for your style, at least for your peace of mind. 

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These pants fit well, with a nice taper below the knee that looks modern and sophisticated, but it doesn’t border the super-skinny young guy style either. They strike a balance for anyone who wants a clean, professional look with a dash of handsome style thrown in. 

The suit pants feature a rubber stitch around the waist, which helps keep my shirt neatly tucked. I’ve only tried a few other brands with this feature, and it’s one of those small details that makes the whole experience much better.

While the fabric is all synthetic, the pants still look formal enough for a suit, which is pretty rare. I’m interested to see how they look later in the year (I’ll be sure to update), as my previous pair of technical fabric chinos from another brand aren’t looking too hot after six months. 

Overall, I’m a fan of these pants, and they’re an excellent choice for anyone who wants a trim fit without sacrificing comfort for the office. 

State & Liberty Stretch Suit Pants

If you ever worry about bending over and having the seat of your pants completely explode, we highly recommend a technical fabric dress pant. If not for your style, at least for your peace of mind. 

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What do Other Reviewers Say About State & Liberty? 

State & Liberty gets a lot of love from the professional sports world. Olympians, lifters, linebackers, and hockey players seem to enjoy the fit of S&L dress shirts. 

There were a few reviewers that said they actually worked out in their dress shirt, which is a terrible idea. But it’s good to know the shirt could keep up. I suppose other folks are willing to sacrifice the ego to put State & Liberty to the ultimate stress test

My Thoughts Overall On State & Liberty

What I Like

  • You get a tailored fit without the hassle of going to a tailor. The shape is masculine and flattering, and not just for muscular guys. 

  • The performance fabrics have a lot of stretch, but keep their shape well and don’t look “stretched-out”.

  • The shirts do not wrinkle. Crumpled up, improperly folded—it doesn’t matter. They look crisp straight out of the wash. 

  • There’s a wide variety of color options for their shirts and pants, so you can easily find something that fits your palette and style.

What I Don’t Like

  • Technical fabric clothes tend to snag easily, and can start to look raggy in only a few months if you’re not careful. 

Who is State & Liberty for?

State & Liberty is an excellent brand for fit guys who want flattering clothes for the office. The shirts embellish that hard work you’ve been putting in at the gym, and anything you pick up from S&L is going to be as comfortable as dress clothes can get.

The Verdict

State & Liberty isn’t the only brand doing technical fabric dress clothes, but they’ve taken a clear stance on who they serve, and because of that, they do a fantastic job. 

The shirts are great for office wear and travel, and if you’re the kind of guy who doesn’t want to spend any time ironing your clothes, you’d be wise to stock a few of these shirts in your wardrobe to keep things simple. 

For more formal occasions, I’m still partial to the feel and texture of organic fabrics, but there’s no denying how much convenience State & Liberty offers for the work week. 

The S&L fit is the star of the show, however. The cut accentuates your shoulders and chest, and tapers in at your waist for a flattering, masculine look. And don’t worry—if you’re like me and not particularly muscular, the fit still looks more crisp and clean than most other off-the-rack shirts.

State & Liberty

State & Liberty is an excellent brand for fit guys who want flattering clothes for the office. The shirts embellish that hard work you’ve been putting in at the gym, and anything you pick up from S&L is going to be as comfortable as dress clothes can get.

Shop State & Liberty Read Our Review
If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

FAQs

Who started State & Liberty?

State & Liberty was founded by Steven Fisher and Lee Moffie in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Moffie was a professional hockey player, which is part of the brand’s inspiration to make shirts that fit athletic builds.

What is an athletic fit suit?

An athletic fit suit offers more room in the shoulders and chest, though it still tapers in toward the waist like a traditional slim fit suit would. By allowing more room in the upper torso, the suit creates a more masculine “V” shape, which is very flattering for gentlemen with muscular builds.

What is the difference between athletic fit and regular fit?

Whether the athletic fit is in shirts or pants, it generally means a more tapered, tailored look. For shirts, expect less fabric in the torso and toward the waist. This will help accentuate your shoulders and trim out any excess in the midsection. For pants, athletic fits have a similar amount of room in the thighs when compared to regular fits, but have much more taper below the knee. This leads to a modern, classy look.