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 "marge" so I'm a "tweener" when it comes to sizing. I ordered a few styles in both medium and large. Medium was too snug, so I sent them back. If you're like me, I highly recommend ordering different sizes, then sending back what doesn't fit, utilizing their free return policy.
The large fits me perfectly; however, I cannot comment on the collar size (I'm typically a 16.5") 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 be length and width discrepancies with some people. But there's a solution! They 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
Since I bought my first shirt a few years ago, S&L offers more than dress shirts: polos, coats, suits, pants, casual shirts, casual jackets, and shorts. Yeah, they've expanded a bit! Though I have not personally tested these, they look pretty slick. A stretchy, athletic fit plaid sport coat? I dig it! However, I think they should expand the designs in their foundation: the 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 lackluster 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, there's insinuation via their social media. It’s a dress shirt, so it should be tucked-in. Untucked with a pair of jeans does not make it look like a casual button down. It's still a dress shirt. Good news is they have bundle discounts when you buy three or five. Get yourself a couple dress shirts, then a casual shirt for the weekend.
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 salvageable with a dab of tepid tap water on a tear of the quilted quicker picker-upper.
I enjoy the lightweight fabric and appreciate it more in the summer. There’s really no need to wear an undershirt. However, if you're accustomed to an undergarment, everyone will know. But this is the case with most dress shirts. I'm wearing a sweater over my shirt in the winter, so an extra layer underneath is erroneous.
The hidden collar button is simply genius. As someone who wears it strictly open-collar, it’s no-hassle collar control. I’m a big fan of magnetic collar stays. 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 day. But that's me being over-critical.
Surprisingly -- and contrary to most stretchy, moisture-wicking athletic shirts -- the State & Liberty dress shirt doesn't have the compounding pit pungency with continued usage. and they launder wonderfully. Most aforementioned athletic shirts will resurrect stench over time. I’ve worn my S&L shirts at least once a week for the two years. My pits have been peachy.
My one qualm is the durability of the stitching, especially on the arm seams. I had to return a shirt. I was slipping the second arm into the sleeve of my shirt where I put some extra pressure on the armpit seam. Pop. The seam snapped. The shirt was still wearable but the stitching obviously gave way.
The exchange process was a breeze. No questions asked. And they apologized for the wardrobe malfunction. The silver lining is they offer free returns and exchanges on all orders. Not to mention, free shipping on the first order. I do think it should be free shipping all the time -- or at least at a cart total, i.e., free shipping on orders over $150 -- but it's nothing to fuss about.
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. I have literally worked-out in it. It's by no means my go-to shirt for workouts, but was suitable for the time when I left my gym bag at home.
The advertised features are no-fluff, making it worth the $90 price tag (less expensive than comparable competitors) if you’re particular about your look.
I wear dress shirts every work day. I finally had to retire my originals, replacing them with new ones. The new shirts I got are like version 2.0. They're even better. The greatest change I found was the fabric: softer. The hand feel compared to 1.0 was more cotton-like. Don't get me wrong, 1.0 was awesome. But it did have more of a plasticy "Under Armor" feel compared to the new one.
I've cycled through four different brands of dress shirts on a weekly basis. Though my 1.0 got surpassed by competitor updates, S&L's current update takes the cake for me as my favorite dress shirt.
Pros: lightweight, launders well, great silhouette, hidden collar buttons, less expensive than competitors, bundle discounts, and free returns.
Cons: durability of seams, collar points can flare due to lack of collar stay pocket depth, lack of style variety.