by Dr. RJ Burr
Updated November 29, 2018
State and Liberty Intro
State & Liberty is primarily a dress shirt company geared toward athletes who want the athletic fit and fabric in a dress shirt. S&L claims they’re, “providing athletes with the fit and feel they deserve in a dress shirt,” but does the shirt “fit” the claim?
Review of Fit
Above the fold on their website, S&L makes it very clear they’re geared toward the athlete with athletic fit and fabric, even touting, “If your belly is bigger than your chest, these dress shirts are not for you.” I like the niche approach and S&L nails it in every way with a slew of NHL stars repping their dress shirt. I’m unsure of their hockey connection but they’re taking full advantage!
The fit is truly athletic. I’m a standard large which fits me perfectly; however, I cannot comment on the collar as I’ve been wearing it open. The blousy bagginess around the waist experienced even with “slim fit” shirts is non-existent with this one. I do question the standard sizing as I have to imagine there will length and width discrepancies especially at the arms and neck. On a positive note, they do offer custom sizing when you order three or more shirts.
This is a great looking shirt that looks as good as it feels.
Look and Aesthetics
S&L now offers more than dress shirts: polos and coats. Though I have not personally tested these, they look pretty slick. However, I think they should stick to their niche, expanding their dress shirt collection.
When observing abroad, the styles consist of solid, small gingham, medium gingham, large gingham and a few dots thrown in the mix. They cover your classic looks like the solid blue dress shirt and navy gingham, but it’s pretty lacklustre other than a few of your sophomoric “triple gingham” shirts. Compared to another brand on the market, they have some catching up to do in the style category.
S&L doesn’t directly advertise you can wear the shirt tucked or untucked for a seamless transition from work to play; however, some insinuation via social media. It’s a dress shirt and you wear dress shirts tucked in, unless, of course, you doen’t know the difference. It’s eyebrow-raising untucked with dress pants, and a mismatch with jeans, casual trousers, or their equivalent.
Design and Construction
S&L shirts advertise specific features and benefits to offer you a solution to the off-the-rack dress shirts.
The “ridiculous amount of stretch” is the real deal. Most “stretch” shirts have a bit of spandex but don’t really stretch. These boys move with you, without any restriction to movement whatsoever.
The fabric is very lightweight, breathable, and does, in fact, shed liquids quite well. Even if you get a bit of lunchtime sauce from your submarine sandwich on your sleeve, it’s still salvageable for the rest of the day with a dab of cold tap water on a tear of the quilted quicker picker-upper.
I enjoy the lightweight fabric and am sure I would appreciate it more in the summer; however, it comes at a cost if you like undershirts. No Bueno. There’s really no need, but if you're accustomed to an undergarment, everyone will know.
The hidden collar button is simply genius. As someone who wears it only open-collar, it’s no hassle collar control. I’m a big fan of magnetic collar stays and this does the trick without the potential for lost magnets, which can ruin your day. The collar buttons are a bit of a pain to undo and reapply if you mix up the tie game, but it’s no deal breaker. The space for the collar stay could extend a little deeper as the collar points can start to flare a bit at the end of the say, but that’s being anal.
Surprisingly and contrary to most stretchy, moisture-wicking athletic shirts, these don’t smell with continued usage and launder wonderfully. Most aforementioned athletic shirts will resurrect stench sooner over time, but I’ve worn my shirts at least once a week for the last six months and have no evidence of this development.
My major qualm is the durability of the stitching, especially on the arm seams. I had to return one shirt for when I was slipping the second arm into the sleeve of my shirt one morning, I put some extra pressure on the armpit seam which resulted in compromising pop of the seam. The shirt was still wearable but the stitching obviously gave way. The exchange process was a breeze -- no questions asked. Unfortunately, a few months later: deja vu.
As a professional who moves his body all day, I have to say it passes the test as an athletic shirt disguised as a dress shirt. Hell, I’d say you could literally workout in it, but I have yet to put myself in that predicament. The features advertised are not fluff, making it worth the $90 price tag (less expensive than comparable competitors) if you’re particular about your look.
Pros: lightweight, launders well, great silhouette, hidden collar buttons, less expensive than competitors.
Cons: durability of seams, collar points can flare due to lack of collar stay pocket depth, lack of style variety.