In this hands-on Mizzen and Main shirts review, we look at fit, quality and style to figure out if this performance shirt brand is worth your money.
What if your dress shirt had the same properties as your running tops? What if it were moisture-wicking, body-skimming, and just better than cotton? Mizzen and Main (a.k.a., Mizzen+Main) performance dress shirts claim to offer that.
In this article, TMM reviewer Tony Gorga offers his experience with Mizzen and Main with a special emphasis on how the shirts fit a shorter-than-average guy.
About Mizzen and Main
Conceived in the mid-2000s by Kevin Lavelle, the idea originated from underarm sweat stains he saw on a Congressional staffer late for a meeting.
What if we could you, know, not have that? What if a dress shirt could be sweat-absorbing, stretchy, and comfortable to wear? What if you could also just throw it in the wash and not have to bother ironing it?
Why not just make it?
Many prototypes later, Lavelle and co-founder Web Smith launched Mizzen+Main in 2012 with a basic white dress shirt. The name comes from the “mizzen”, the mast aft (behind) the “main” sail on a sailing vessel.
Since then, the brand has ‘expanded' its four-way-stretch to include three different dress shirt lines, short-sleeve shirts, casual shirts, polos, T-shirts, and henleys.
On the business end Lavelle, Smith, and their creative director Steven Dewitt grew the company quickly as well. Fueled by robust sales and private capital investment, they're now found in over 750 stores nationwide.
Mizzen and Main also landed a variety of high-profile customers, including Mark Cuban, Drew Brees, and a number of other professional athletes. The company has also leveraged endorsements and partnerships with pro football player J.J. Watt and PGA Tour golfer Phil Mickelson.
So, the marketing is on point. But, how's the product? Let's break it down by quality, fit, styling, and value, and then wrap it up with our overall thoughts.
Mizzen+Main really is a fascinating company. With the rise of Lulemon, Fabletics, SoulCycle, and the $35 dance class, we've seen performance fabric integrated more and more into our lives.
It's only logical we'd see that make a transition into businesswear. So, when the opportunity to came to try them out, I had to do it.
As a brief “about me,” I work in a business casual office environment during the week. It's occasionally a full suit, but a uniform for me is a navy blazer, grey flannel pants, and some dress shoes or loafers.
I wanted to get a sense of the brand's full range, so I picked up an essential white dress shirt from their higher-end Blue Label line, an orange/blue check from their foundation Leeward line (no photo, sadly), a light blue/white gingham check from their super-stretchy Spinnaker line and a weekend-ready long sleeve henley in black.
For reference, here are my measurements:
- Height: 5'7.5″
- Weight: 160
- Chest: 39-40
- Waist: 31.75-32
- Neck: 14.75
- Sleeve Length: 33.5
- Off-the-rack shirt size: Small Slim, 15/33
I got everything in a Small/Trim.
Quality and Fabric
Wow. Across the board-wow. The Leeward line and the Blue Label line (which is made of the same fabric) shirts have an ultra-slick hand to them.
The Leeward line is 85% polyester and 15% spandex. And while polyester is a manmade product, this is much different than what you'd find in a $150 polyester suit.
There's a slight rustling to the Mizzen+Main fabric when you move. It's initially reminiscent of the disconcerting ‘crunchy' sound you hear in a non-iron shirt. However, it wears a lot lighter than non-iron.
I don't feel much airflow, but I do notice I'm not sweating throughout the day. For a shirt designed to ease sweaty pits, that's a good thing.
The Spinnaker line is even stretchier. It genuinely feels like you're wearing a gym shirt, and I'm supremely impressed by the hand on this thing.
It's not super-thin like a typical high-end poplin, so the weight is nice guys like me to tend to run cool.
However, the shirt still breathes beautifully.
The Weekend Henley is also nothing short of fantastic. The weight is excellent, and I find myself reaching for it quite a bit as the weather has gotten cooler.
Mizzen+Main Dress Shirt Fit
I'm a Small in most T-shirts and sweaters, and always opt for a slim fit if and when it's offered. You can check the size guide on the Mizzen+Main site.
My best fit lies in a waist of around 35″, which leaves 3″ of tolerance (room) to allow for freedom of movement. That's a touch slim for even most off-the-rack slim shirts, but not a big deal.
The Leeward fabric models, however, are simply too big for me. The shoulder seam sits where it should, but that's about the extent of it.
The waist is quite full cut and, as you can see, there's a lot of extra room in the torso.
The arms are billowing out significantly as well. Many of today's ‘slim fit' shirts are actually pretty tight across my upper arms, so I'm quite surprised to find it this full.
The neck, at 15.5-16″ is also quite loose. Now, I've got a thin neck at 14.5-15″, but I'm still surprised Mizzen+Main would have a neck that full for a shirt labelled “Small, Trim.”
The Spinnaker is a complete 180 on fit in best possible way.
The arms, as you can see, are trim-but not tight. That added stretch allows you move in fantastic comfort.
The waist skims the body, but doesn't squeeze it. Plenty of movement in the torso, without bunching or billowing.
The neck could be a *hair* smaller, but nothing really to complain about- especially if you wear the shirt without a tie. The shoulder could also sit a *bit* higher, but it's far from sliding down my arm.
If there's any gripe with the Spinnaker line from Mizzen+Main, I'd say the collar tends to feel a little floppy. And, at only 2.5 inches, its width makes it hard to stand up properly when you're wearing it without a tie. Metal collar stays-not-plastic- should do the trick and keep it pretty stiff.
Mizzen+Main Casual Shirt Fit
I tested the long sleeve henley from their casual collection. It, too, feels phenomenal. I genuinely look forward to pulling this thing out on the weekends.
The torso is on the S/Trim is slim, but certainly not tight. The length in the body is also right on for me.
But, what I really dig about this shirt is that it's convertible. If the weather changes throughout the day (or if you're a new dad like me and need to change a diaper) you can use the nifty button detail to perfectly roll the sleeve up just above the elbow.
Now, I've noticed a little fading on the shirt after even a couple washes. We'll see how that plays out after a few more washes, but certainly a little surprising for an $70 weekend shirt.
Sadly, this shirt is sold out, but there are other henley's to choose from.
Wrapping Up: Is Mizzen and Main worth it?
$125.00 for a dress shirt ain't cheap. But, considering Brooks Brothers' Main Line starts at $92, and some “designer” brands crank out shirts with a big name and inferior cloth for $100+, this actually isn't a bad deal. The fabric is unique, exciting, and the shirts are definitely well-constructed.
However, unless you've got a 34-38″ waist and stand 5'9″ or taller, you're going to have a difficult time fitting into the Leeward line. It's going to be too big in the shoulders, chest, sleeves, and waist.
Your better bet is going to be the Spinnaker line. It's extraordinarily comfortable, beautifully trim, and a pleasure to wear.
While we did notice some fading on the casual knit, it fits wonderfully and feels phenomenal.