Is Performance Fabric Transforming Mens Business Casual Office Wear?

The post Is Performance Fabric Transforming Mens Business Casual Office Wear? appeared first on Effortless Gent.

It seems like performance fabrics are taking over business casual office wear. More and more often, I spot new brands hawking office-friendly business casual dress clothes made with performance fabrics.

Dressing comfortably for work has never been easier (or as stylish). But how good are these clothes made from performance fabric? Is it better than traditional fabrics for office wear, like cotton and wool?

Today, were taking a close look at how performance fabrics will revolutionize what you wear to the office and the level of comfort you experience every day.

But before we get into it, lets talk about what performance fabric isnt.

A note from Barron: My first experience with dress shirts made from stretchy performance cloth was from a brand called Mizzen + Main back in 2013. Since then, weve covered the brand a few times on this site, and I still think theyre a great option for any guy looking for a bit of comfort in their work clothes. Id venture to say the performance fabric office wear trend got its start partially thanks to Mizzen + Main. But before I get too far into it here, Ill let William continue

Common Misconceptions about Polyester and Other Synthetic Fabrics

I dont blame you for thinking, You want me to wear polyester pants? No way!

I remember those bright, weirdly-textured pants my grandma wore, too.

Polyester fabrics have come a long way in the last twenty years. Technicians have engineered the fabric to look and feel almost identical to cotton, but with stain-fighting, wrinkle-resistant properties.

For instance, take a look at this outfit from Mizzen + Main:

mizzen main baron chinos and leeward shirt

Care to take a guess how much polyester is in those pants?

(If you guessed 100%, youre right.)

And the shirt? 85% poly, 15% Spandex.

So yeah, its safe to say polyester fabrics aint what they used to be. Theyre way better.

Mizzen + Main PERFORMANCE + COMFORT ALL DAY: Mizzen + Main's wrinkle resistant, four-way stretch, moisture wicking fabric keeps you in style & comfort all day long. Mizzen + Main

Why Performance Fabric Makes More Sense for Office Attire than Cotton

Ok, so maybe companies like Mizzen + Main can convince you that performance fabrics like polyester can look great. But cotton chinos and oxfords look great, too. Why switch?

Here are four YUUUGE reasons performance fabrics are taking over the white collar uniform.

1.Performance fabric doesnt shrink

Unlike cotton, you dont have to worry about having your shirt fit perfectly out of the box, only to find out its a full half-size smaller after you wash and dry it.

Now, its always important to follow what the care label says, but if you hang dry your performance fabric shirts, they wont shrink at all.

And unlike cotton, your shirts should nearly be dry straight out of the wash. Most performance fabrics are quick-dry, so theres no need to send them through a mechanical dryer anyway.

A ten-minute hang is usually all they need until theyre ready to wear.

2. Performance fabric doesnt stink

Because performance fabrics dont absorb sweat and moisture like cotton, they dont build colonies of bacteria, which can lead to major stank.

mizzen main baron chinos
via Instagram

Polyester and nylon have been used for gym clothes for a long time for this reason, but now that brands are making comfortable, professional, stylish clothes with the same properties, why put your colleagues through that?

3. It doesnt turn pink

Have you ever accidentally mixed your colors in with your whites when doing laundry? And that pristine white dress shirt takes on a faint pink hue because you washed it with your red boxers?

It happens to the best of us.

But, it doesnt have to be that way.

Performance fabrics hold color much better than cotton. So not only will the colors not run as much, you dont have to worry about washing whites and colors together (though, to be honest, its still best practice to separate them).

Even better, the dyes in cotton tend to begin losing their vibrance after about ten washes.

Well-made polyester clothing, like Mizzen + Mains Baron chino, will continue looking brand new even after 30-40 washes.

4. It doesnt wrinkle. It doesnt wrinkle.

Ahh, we were so close to a great ongoing subheading rhyme!

I saved my personal top reason for making the switch to performance fabrics for last.

Theyre wrinkle resistant.

That means no more ironing or steaming your work clothes during laundry day. Or, if youre the type of guy to wear un-ironed 100% cotton shirts and chinos welcome to a whole new pressed and polished look (with no effort!).

A Closer Look: Mizzen+Mains Performance Dress Shirts and Chinos

Mizzen + Main got their start crafting dress shirts that work perfectly in the office or in a business casual wardrobe.

mizzen main white leeward shirt and navy baron chinos

While all of their shirts make use of performance fabrics, they have a few different fabric blends for any situation you might come up against.

Their Leeward line is their most straight-forward: made with 85% polyester and 15% spandex, this four-way stretch, spread-collar badboy is the perfect alternative to your standard cotton dress shirt.

Mizzen + Main also has the Spinnaker, Cunningham, and Halyard shirts, each one softer than the next.

Ive had the chance to try the Halyard, which is a poly-cotton blend, and the texture is amazing. Its much thicker than a standard dress shirt, and has a rich look and finish.

Mizzen + Main PERFORMANCE + COMFORT ALL DAY: Mizzen + Main's wrinkle resistant, four-way stretch, moisture wicking fabric keeps you in style & comfort all day long. Mizzen + Main

Theyve also expanded their collection to feature layers, and now, chinos.

Their Baron chinos are 100% polyester, so they have those stain-fighting, wrinkle-resistant, no-shrink, no-fade properties.

And the cut is fantastic.

Theyre slim through the thigh and tapered below the knee. Mizzen has cut out as much excess fabric to create a modern silhouette that will truly have you looking like the best dressed guy in the office.

Performance fabric vs regular cotton

Lets take a closer look at how these fabrics compare to cotton.

First up is the Leeward shirt (white, right side) vs. a standard cotton shirt (striped, left side).

The biggest difference right away is the wrinkle-factor.

Just look at that purple striped shirt. Thats gonna need some serious ironing. The white Leeward shirt came straight out of the wash like that no iron, no steam.

The fabric is tightly knit, but not completely solid, so its very soft, but still breathable.

Next, lets do a little chino comparison.

On the left is the blue Mizzen + Main Baron, and on the right is a standard cotton chino. The closer knit the fabric, the softer it is.

Cotton, a fabric hailed for its softness, isnt as smooth and silky as the polyester on the left.

So if cottons not necessarily softer, whats the point?

And as you can see again, the performance fabric comes out much neater and less wrinkled than standard cotton. For the pants, its not a massive difference, but its the details that count.

Who Should Wear Clothes that Use Performance Fabrics?

Really, performance fabric clothing is for everyone. But if any of these describe you, youll definitely want to check out performance menswear now.

Guys who sweat a lot

Sweat much? No more dark circles under your arms thanks to the fact that performance fabrics dont absorb moisture. Itll wick sweat away from your body and release it.

Slim Fit can be too snug, Regular Fit is too loose

Are you athletic and normally feel restricted in slim fit cotton dress shirts? You know, like youre afraid youll bust out of your shirt if you sneeze?

Mizzen + Mains shirts offer four-way stretch, so you can sneeze all you want. Heck, you can even throw in a round-house kick if youre so inclined.

Youre a bigger guy in general

Bigger gentleman? One of the toughest issues larger guys face is a lack of mobility when it comes to their clothing.

With the amount of stretch possible in performance fabrics, youll keep full range of motion, plus your pants wont stretch out nearly as much at the knee as regular 100% cotton does.

Why does performance clothing work so well in the office?

Performance clothing is perfect for the office because it stays crisp throughout the day, but also throughout the months and years you own them.

The wrinkle-resistance ensures that you dont get that weird, accordion-patterned back wrinkle situation you sometimes get with cotton shirts when you sit for too long.

The colorfast nature keeps your clothes looking new even after thirty to forty washes. And the durability means youll have them for years.

And unlike cotton, they wont bacon-out or stretch in strange places. Performance fabrics fit like new every time you wear them.

Mizzen + Main PERFORMANCE + COMFORT ALL DAY: Mizzen + Main's wrinkle resistant, four-way stretch, moisture wicking fabric keeps you in style & comfort all day long. Mizzen + Main

Ready to Revolutionize your Wardrobe?

If you ever feel restricted in your work clothes, or if youre just tired of smoothing out the wrinkles in your dressier outfits, definitely give performance fabrics a try.

And definitely start with Mizzen + Main; they can outfit your office-friendly wardrobe with performance dress shirts, midlayers, and now, chinos.


Youll love their sleek, modern silhouettes, and youll be hard pressed to find any other professional and business casual items that are as comfortable.

The Baron chinos have become the most comfortable pair of chinos I own, and I love the tapered look. While theyre excellent pants for the office, dont forget that chinos look great in your casual wardrobe, too.

You can wear them as-is with a pair of minimalist white sneakers or cuff them at the bottom for a super-relaxed look.

Over to you: Have we convinced you to try a few shirts and pants made from performance fabric? Let us know on Twitter or Instagram.

A note from Barron:Thanks to Mizzen + Main for partnering with us on this article about performance fabrics in office-friendly clothing. Ive worked with M+M a few times over the years and they continue to be a great option for guys who want an alternative for their business casual clothing. Check out more at Mizzen + Main.

The post Is Performance Fabric Transforming Mens Business Casual Office Wear? appeared first on Effortless Gent.