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State & Liberty vs Mizzen+Main: I Tested Their Dress Shirts

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William Barton
Expertise:

Style, Grooming, Fitness, Boots, Workwear

William has been covering men's style, grooming, and fitness topics for The Adult Man since 2018 as both a writer and photographer. Based in North Carolina, he's also the face of premier men's boots website BootSpy.com and the popular BootSpy YouTube channel. If William could only wear one outfit for the rest of his life, it'd be slim blue jeans, a green fitted oxford shirt, Chelsea boots, and a nice watch. Read full bio.


Last Updated: Mar 26, 2024
10 min read

The Young Buck

State & Liberty

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The Big Daddy

Mizzen+Main

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State & Liberty is one of those brands that, if you have the body type, they become your one-stop shop. The quality of their clothes is solid, and they have a huge range of designs. Plus, I like that they have pants, suits, and jackets, so you really can build your entire wardrobe. Their style is a little more “young-gun” than Mizzen---more bold, more adventurous. If you’re a fit guy in his late 20’s or early 30’s and you want a professional look, State & Liberty is your brand.

Shop State & Liberty

Mizzen+Main shirts fit well, and they’re a little more roomy and forgiving than State & Liberty shirts. Mizzen+Main’s fabrics are also a bit thicker and feel nicer overall. But that boost in quality does come at a higher price.

Shop Mizzen+Main

Pros:

  • More unusual colorways and eye-catching designs
  • Slim fit ideally suited for athletic builds
  • Unique outerwear options
  • Greater variety of casual options (like polos, shorts, etc)
  • Fabric is thicker and a bit nicer overall compared to State & Liberty
  • All shirts are machine washable and non-iron

Cons:

  • Sizing trends toward the small side, so less forgiving if you’re a bit out of shape
  • Their shirts run pretty large, so if you’re on the cusp, order the next size down

10th grade winter formal: I’m wearing a dress shirt that cost $3. Its sleeves are huge, the body is tight, and you can see my nipples through it. 

Disaster. 

I was 15, so I don’t blame myself. But the sad fact is that I still see guys who basically dress that way as professionals. These dudes are swiping their badge to get into the office and they’re wearing the worst possible fitting shirt. 

Of course, you’re at a much higher level than that. But it still begs the question: are we presenting ourselves in the best way possible?

It doesn’t take much these days: a reasonably fit guy wearing a nice button down turns a lot more heads than you’d think. And it all has to do with finding the right fit. 

Two brands that are duking it out for the best athletic dress shirt are State & Liberty, and Mizzen+Main

I’ve had shirts from each of these brands for several years, so I’m going to break down my experience with each so you can decide which one is right for you. 

Overview

State and Liberty logo MizzenMain Logo
State & Liberty Mizzen+Main
Fit Slim-tapered athletic Athletic
Fabric Nylon, polyester, 6% spandex 88% polyester, 12% spandex
Comfort Lightweight, flexible Medium weight, super flexible
Shipping Free shipping over $150 Free shipping over $100
Shop State & Liberty Shop Mizzen+Main

State & Liberty 

playing pool on the weekend
Rocking a State & Liberty Dress Shirt with their Athletic Fit Stretch Suit Pants

State & Liberty got their start as a dress shirt brand for guys with lean, athletic frames. 

If you’re a dude with death-star delts and jacked pecs, you know how difficult it can be to find a dress shirt that doesn’t pop the top buttons or just look like an oversized bag in the torso. 

The stretched out look is great if you’re about to do a Hulk impression at the part, but it doesn’t make for a clean, professional style. 

State & Liberty is all about the fit. You get more room in the chest while still maintaining a flattering taper toward the waist. Their shirts are meant to reinforce that masculine “upside down triangle” shape, with wider shoulders and a more narrow waist. 

That said, you don’t need to be muscular to pull off a State & Liberty shirt. I mean, you can just take a look at me. If you’re somewhat fit, their shirts offer a more tailored look than anything you can buy off the rack. 

State and Liberty 5

Beyond the fit, State & Liberty makes their shirts with four-way stretch performance fabrics that are super flexible and comfortable. Plus, they wick sweat away, so you don’t need to worry about pit stains or just sweating all the way through your shirt. 

If you’re a commuter and spend a lot of time walking through the city, the high percentage of spandex ensures that the shirt doesn’t stretch out toward the bottom or become misshapen by the end of the day. 

Overall, I’d say that State & Liberty’s style is geared toward the guy in his late 20’s and early 30’s—someone who’s on their way up and making a name for themselves. The designs and fits are a bit more bold and adventurous than Mizzen+Main.

What I Like

  • State & Liberty has a huge variety of dress shirts, but also tons of dress pants, jackets, polos, etc. If you find you like how their clothes fit, you can easily expand your wardrobe.
  • Some of their dress shirts are more unique and adventurous than Mizzen+Main if you like to do a bit of peacocking.
  • Compared to Mizzen+Main, their shirts are less expensive.

What I Don’t Like

  • The fit has a fairly pronounced taper, so their shirts are less forgiving if you’re not in shape.
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

Mizzen+Main

mizzen main model wearing white leeward dress shirt
Being an armchair critic in my Mizzen+Main Leeward Dress Shirt

Mizzen+Main is the first brand that really put performance fabric dress shirts on the map. They’re the big daddy in the space. 

Where State & Liberty has stuck more firmly in the professional space, Mizzen+Main is at the point where the kids are in high school and basically taking care of themselves, so Mizzen can finally kick back a bit and enjoy a few rounds of golf. 

Sure, Mizzen + Main still has that professional edge. But they’re more relaxed now. And I mean that in more ways than one. 

Mizzen + Main has a wider variety of relaxed styles like short sleeve shirts, polos, and shorts. Phil Mickelson is one of their big spokesmen (or at least was before this happened). So the brand has deep roots in the golf scene.

mizzen main short sleeve button shirt fit
The Mizzen+Main Halyard Knit Shirt

And it makes sense why. You can’t crank it back and smash a drive if your shoulders are locked in by your shirt. 

But with that 12% spandex fabric, your swing is as free as a birdie. 

Mizzen is also more relaxed with their fits. Not only do their sizes run on the larger side (especially compared to State & Liberty), but they also have less taper. 

If State & Liberty is for the young bucks in their late 20’s and early 30’s, I’d say Mizzen + Main caters more toward the distinguished gents in their 30’s to 40s—still at their professional peak, but also willing to relax a little more. 

What I Like

  • The fabric Mizzen+Main uses is thicker and a bit more substantial when compared with State & Liberty.
  • They have a greater selection of relaxed casual clothes.
  • Even when left in the dryer for three days, their shirts don’t wrinkle.

What I Don’t Like

  • The fit is on the large side, which can make it difficult to get the perfect size if you’re in between sizes.
Mizzen+Main

The supreme comfort and wearability of Mizzen+Main's performance menswear will win over plenty of guys in search of the ultimate premium staples that you can actually move around in.

Shop Mizzen+Main Read Our Review

Features Face to Face

I’m going to focus only on State & Liberty and Mizzen+Main’s dress shirts, since those are their most popular items.

Plus, I think understanding the differences between their dress shirts also speaks to the entirety of both brands’ lines. I’ll make specific notes on standout pieces for each brand where I think the product is exceptional. 

Style

State and Liberty 7
The State & Liberty Dress Shirt

State & Liberty shirts have a bit of edge to them. Their patterns and style are geared more toward the young sales star who’s been racking win after win. 

Compared to Mizzen+Main, I’d say that State & Liberty has more of an east coast vibe. Mizzen is a little less serious. 

Sure, they have plenty of solid powder blue dress shirts to cover the basics, but they branch out more into polka-dots, stripes, and patterns. Mizzen + Main is more partial to throwing in a little color here and there. 

mizzen main grey pants with boots
The Mizzen+Main Leeward Dress Shirt

Overall, State & Liberty is geared more toward the professional who’s looking for a great set of dress shirts to wear day in and day out at the office. It helps that they look fantastic at happy hour, too. 

State & Liberty Dress Shirts

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.

Check Price Read Our Review

Mizzen+Main has plenty of professional looks, but they’re less serious and more approachable. That said, “approachable and agreeable” might not be what you’re after. 

But the biggest difference between the style of the two brands really comes down to the fit. 

Fit

Mizzen + Main is a bigger brand with stores all around the country. So when they make a new shirt, it has to appeal to a much wider customer base. 

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The Mizzen+Main Versa Polo

Because of that, Mizzen+Main shirts run a bit large. I wouldn’t say they’re a full size larger than normal, they’re on the far end of the spectrum. 

For example, I’m solid size L at 6’1, 200lbs. Here’s what the Mizzen + Main Versa Polo looks like on me:

You can see that it fits well in the shoulders and has a relaxed fit in the sleeves. There’s plenty of room in the torso, and the shirt has enough length that it’d be no problem to tuck in. 

Mizzen+Main Versa Polo

This polo is built for hot days on the golf course. The fabric is super lightweight and breathable, plus it’s a little longer to accommodate your swing.

Check Price Read Our Review

For an “athletic fit” shirt, I’d say this is pretty loose. 

Compare that to a size L from State & Liberty:

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You can see there’s a lot more taper to State & Liberty’s dress shirt. It’s not exactly form fitting, but it certainly helps if you’re in shape and have done your crunches for the day. 

So the best fit is going to come down to your body type. 

If you’re a lean guy who gets in his weights and cardio, then State & Liberty has a flattering fit that you can’t really find elsewhere. 

But I didn’t wear my State & Liberty shirt to Christmas dinner because once your belly starts expanding, the fit can take a u-turn from flattering to something less desirable. 

Mizzen+Main is a better brand if you’re rocking a dad-bod, or if you’re still working your way to being in-shape. 

Comfort

Both brands are basically the same when it comes to comfort. Mizzen+Main’s more generous fits give you a bit more breathing room, which can help a lot with your confidence and comfort throughout the day. 

mizzen main model riding bike

But comparing the fabrics against one another, they both are breathable, stretchy, and feel soft to the skin. 

Mizzen+Main’s shirts have more spandex in them (12% compared to State & Liberty’s 6%), so they can stretch out more. But practically speaking, I don’t think that added stretch capacity makes a difference in real world scenarios. 6% spandex offers enough stretch for anything you’d encounter through your day, unless you’re a contortionist. 

Customer Service

Both brands offer free 30-day returns and exchanges, and they’re both quite responsive if you try to return your shirts online.

State and Liberty 15
The State & Liberty Barry Short Sleeve

Mizzen+Main has a bit of an edge because they actually have physical stores across the US you can shop with. But I do all my shopping online and haven’t walked into a clothing store in years. 

At the time of writing, Mizzen+Main is offering free shipping on orders over $100, and State & Liberty is offering the same on orders over $150. 

So on customer service, I have to give the edge to Mizzen + Main. 

Which is Best for You?

State and Liberty vs MizzenMain Models Wearing Dress Shirts facing each other

If you’re a fit young go-getter, then State & Liberty is the brand for you.

If you’re a slightly older go-getter, but you’re also interested in being a go-golfer, then Mizzen+Main is the better brand. 

Both brands are similar—they both offer excellent fits and their shirts look crisp and professional. Plus, they’re some of the most comfortable dress shirts you can own. 

I’d look to State & Liberty if you’re trying to build out your professional wardrobe. Their shirts are a little less costly, and they have more professional styles available. Plus, when you find the right fit, you can easily build out your entire wardrobe with them. 

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

Mizzen+Main has some fantastic professional looks, but they really nail it with their golfing line and some of their more relaxed clothes like polos, shorts, and chinos.

Mizzen+Main

The supreme comfort and wearability of Mizzen+Main's performance menswear will win over plenty of guys in search of the ultimate premium staples that you can actually move around in.

Shop Mizzen+Main Read Our Review

Mizzen+Main also has a more relaxed fit to them (while still maintaining some taper), so if you’re not very toned, you’ll probably feel more comfortable in a Mizzen+Main shirt. 

FAQs

Is polyester breathable?

Polyester isn’t as breathable as natural fibers, but performance dress shirts are often made with thin-enough fabric that sweat is able to escape the shirt and you won’t overheat.

Where are Mizzen + Main shirts made?

Mizzen+Main shirts are made in Indonesia, India, Vietnam, China, and the Philippines. 

Do performance fabrics wrinkle?

Most performance fabrics, including those used on State & Liberty and Mizzen+Main shirts don’t wrinkle much, even when left in the dryer for multiple days or packed into a bag. This is one of the best reasons to get a performance dress shirt over a regular cotton dress shirt.