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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi,

So I found a company that makes great dress shirts for athletes that fit almost perfectly right off the rack. But the material composition of their shirts is 62% Nylon, 32% polyester, and 6% spandex and I've read that people on this forum really dislike synthetics. Why is that? It stretches well in the bicep , fits great in the shoulders, drapes well, and feels decent, so it solves most of my problems. I understand that bacteria can easily grow on synthetics causing it to smell but is there another material composition that stretches that is better than the synthetic material in this shirt? Would any plant based fabrics be any better? The shirt was $90 which I thought was expensive for a synthetic dress shirt.
 

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People here dislike synthetics for daily wear, not necessarily for sports use: I think most people who actually sweat (sports, HIIT, strength training, etc) will concede that cotton is just about the worst thing to wear. Synthetics definitely win the day in the gym.

One exception I would say, for some applications, is merino wool baselayers, which I definitely prefer over synthetics for hiking, mountaineering, etc. I wouldn't wear it in the gym, though, since even merino (miracle wool that it is) doesn't have the evaporative (ie. cooling) qualities that synthetics have.

As for $90, technical and fitness clothing can certainly get on up there (my wife is a devotee of Lululemon or how ever you spell it), but honestly I just grab the stuff deep-discount at Ross; the clothes I wreck with CrossFit, 5Ks, and Spartan races is $5 shirts and the like (though they might be $50 suggested retail, who knows?)

DH
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
People here dislike synthetics for daily wear, not necessarily for sports use: I think most people who actually sweat (sports, HIIT, strength training, etc) will concede that cotton is just about the worst thing to wear. Synthetics definitely win the day in the gym.

One exception I would say, for some applications, is merino wool baselayers, which I definitely prefer over synthetics for hiking, mountaineering, etc. I wouldn't wear it in the gym, though, since even merino (miracle wool that it is) doesn't have the evaporative (ie. cooling) qualities that synthetics have.

As for $90, technical and fitness clothing can certainly get on up there (my wife is a devotee of Lululemon or how ever you spell it), but honestly I just grab the stuff deep-discount at Ross; the clothes I wreck with CrossFit, 5Ks, and Spartan races is $5 shirts and the like (though they might be $50 suggested retail, who knows?)

DH
I actually meant dress shirts for the office. Many people who lift regularly have difficulty finding dress shirts that fit well in the shoulders and chest but that are also tapered in the waist. Synthetic gym shirts definitely get expensive, I was just wondering why people were against the material for suits they wear to the office.
 

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I don't find synthetics comfortable, and they never look as good. Why do you need stretch in a dress shirt? They aren't meant to fit tightly, and you don't need to be flaunting your physique all the time. The office is especially not the place to be showing off your muscles. However, you would certainly need to spend more than $90 to get a well-fitting cotton shirt. You need a talented bespoke shirtmaker who knows how to not only fit a shirt that follows the shape of your body but also fit a shirt that allows a comfortable range of movement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I don't find synthetics comfortable, and they never look as good. Why do you need stretch in a dress shirt? They aren't meant to fit tightly, and you don't need to be flaunting your physique all the time. The office is especially not the place to be showing off your muscles. However, you would certainly need to spend more than $90 to get a well-fitting cotton shirt. You need a talented bespoke shirtmaker who knows how to not only fit a shirt that follows the shape of your body but also fit a shirt that allows a comfortable range of movement.
I'm not showing off my muscles. I'm just saying that shirts that fit well in the chest and arms are too big in the shoulders and waist. A lot of people (including some women who wear dress shirts) have this problem. stateandliberty.com shirts fit great off the rack and I don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on them. I was just wondering why they used a stretchy synthetic fabric. I actually talked to the owners once and they are planning on making suits in this stretchy fabric as well.
 

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Have to chime in here.

I've lifted for years (and years...) and have a 10 inch drop. The only solution, for off the rack, I've found to this fit problem is to be sure the chest and shoulders fit, then have the tailor fit the rest.

This can still be a problem, however, with the neck size, depending upon the shirt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Have to chime in here.

I've lifted for years (and years...) and have a 10 inch drop. The only solution, for off the rack, I've found to this fit problem is to be sure the chest and shoulders fit, then have the tailor fit the rest.

This can still be a problem, however, with the neck size, depending upon the shirt.
I had the same problem until I found the state and liberty shirts. I couldn't believe how well they fit all around off the rack. It's still borderline on the biceps but still much better than anything else I've found off the rack.
 

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I think the there are two main 'objections' to synthetics for dresswear (shirts in particular). First is the argument that they don't 'breathe' like cotton, which I would redefine in this day and age, given the advances in textiles and the earlier-mentioned comments regarding activewear, that synthetics breathe differently than cotton, and for some/many that difference is uncomfortable. Second is, no surprise, tradition, and in this case synthetics are really the next step away from 100% cotton, with non-iron being the go-between. It's my prediction as tech advances that we'll see the transition to better, more, and ultimately cheaper synthetics that breathe well and are wrinkle-free. Critics (I may be one of them) will pine for a time where the wrinkled shirt at the end of the day is a sign of hard work. The younger in the audience will move on, more quickly adopting the enhanced fit options and wrinkle-free care. But hey, that's how some will define progress.
 

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I'm going to agree with @medhat.

Objections stem from
  • Tradition / Purests
  • The fact that a custom bespoke shirt should fit perfect
  • While no longer the case across-the-board, "polyester" dress shirts used to unbreathable & mostly unbearable to wear
To point #2, I have a couple of bespoke dress shirts (not MTM).

While they are incredible works of art, and do fit well, they generally look and feel their best when I'm standing upright. If I sit down, or move around, they can feel tight around my mid-section or even chest, and as such, I tend to feel a bit more uncomfortable than I'd like.

For that reason alone, I don't wear them very much. Also, if I go up in weight some (even slightly), which is an issue I've dealt with since a child, the shirts fit too tight in the midsection.

My most favorite button-up shirts are those that have a blend of either cotton/lycra or cotton/nylon/lycra. I've had them for 8+ years, and they've always fit well & been comfortable to wear, regardless of any modest weight fluctuations.

IMO, I believe the holy grail is/will be MTM & Bespoke shirts with Lycra/Spandex/Stretch.

I don't believe I'll ever be able to buy an off-the-rack long sleeve shirt that will fit me really well, even one with stretch.

The good news is that there are new stretch dress shirt options, some of them using performance fabrics, such as State & Liberty (Nylon, Polyester, Spandex), Ministry, XSuit (stretch suit), Mizzen+Main, Bonobos, Calvin Klein "X" Stretch, etc.

Some of those above are also MTM.

Regarding performance fabrics in dress shirts -- tides will certainly change, and they will be come more universally accepted.

One of the best features of a more natural feeling performance fabric, is that it dries incredibly fast.

That characteristic alone can be really helpful, especially for people who have more notable underarm or back sweating.

Instead of sweat patches being there & visible for long periods of time, the sweat dries faster.

@stixm - Many of the newer performance dress shirts options have anti-microbial properties, so you won't have to worry about them smelling, especially if you care for them properly.
 

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I'm going to agree with @medhat.

To point #2, I have a couple of bespoke dress shirts (not MTM).

While they are incredible works of art, and do fit well, they generally look and feel their best when I'm standing upright. If I sit down, or move around, they can feel tight around my mid-section or even chest, and as such, I tend to feel a bit more uncomfortable than I'd like.

For that reason alone, I don't wear them very much. Also, if I go up in weight some (even slightly), which is an issue I've dealt with since a child, the shirts fit too tight in the midsection.
If your shirt is uncomfortable when you are sitting or moving around, it doesn't fit perfectly. Your shirt should be comfortable throughout the normal range of movement that you would expect to encounter when you are wearing a dress shirt. You don't need a performance fabric, you need a shirt that fits correctly.
It's a dress shirt, not a superhero costume.
 

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@barca10 - Well, I had a pretty well known bespoke tailor make my two custom shirts, so I'm not sure why they wouldn't fit as "they should".

They are my only two bespoke shirts, so either:
1. They aren't ideally cut
or
2. I don't like the way [these particular] bespoke dress shirts fit me

Also, I don't see any reason why a proper fitting shirt couldn't also be made with performance fabrics and/or have spandex/lycra.

There are valid reasons why performance fabrics could be welcome for some over other fabrics, as I stated in my last post.

Clothing and fabrics continue to evolve, and one man's definition of comfortable or proper fit isn't absolute -- it's subjective.
 

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@barca10 - Well, I had a pretty well known bespoke tailor make my two custom shirts, so I'm not sure why they wouldn't fit as "they should".

They are my only two bespoke shirts, so either:
1. They aren't ideally cut
or
2. I don't like the way [these particular] bespoke dress shirts fit me

Also, I don't see any reason why a proper fitting shirt couldn't also be made with performance fabrics and/or have spandex/lycra.

There are valid reasons why performance fabrics could be welcome for some over other fabrics, as I stated in my last post.

Clothing and fabrics continue to evolve, and one man's definition of comfortable or proper fit isn't absolute -- it's subjective.
Or maybe the tailor made the shirt the way you told him to make it. Proper fit is subjective - to a point. If a shirt is uncomfortable when you are sitting because it is too tight in the waist, it doesn't fit.
If you have a shirt made out of spandex that is tight around the waist, I would bet that the buttons are going to gap before the spandex stretches.
 

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@barca10 - If you actually new me, you'd know that if I told the tailor to make my bespoke shirts a certain way, I would certainly be happy to admit that.

I have no experience with bespoke clothing or shirts, other than the first two I have mentioned. So, I left it in the hands of the tailor to fit me as they thought would be their recommended fit.

Maybe you're right, and they didn't fit me properly. Possibly next time I get a bespoke shirt, I'll have a better experience.

Until then, I'll happily wear my spandex-infused dress shirts that I feel most comfortable in.

Thanks for the discussion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@barca10 - If you actually new me, you'd know that if I told the tailor to make my bespoke shirts a certain way, I would certainly be happy to admit that.

I have no experience with bespoke clothing or shirts, other than the first two I have mentioned. So, I left it in the hands of the tailor to fit me as they thought would be their recommended fit.

Maybe you're right, and they didn't fit me properly. Possibly next time I get a bespoke shirt, I'll have a better experience.

Until then, I'll happily wear my spandex-infused dress shirts that I feel most comfortable in.

Thanks for the discussion.
Thanks for your post. I wasn't aware of some of those other stretch shirt options. The advice on this forum is always very helpful, but I think what people don't get is that people that do regular strength or bodybuilding have periods throughout the year where their weight and muscle mass will fluctuate depending on their goals. The stretch fabric gives a little bit of room for growth so that we don't have to constantly buy new shirts.
 
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