The Best Performance Dress Shirts for Men


Oftentimes dressing up and being comfortable require 2 different forms of attire. This can cause issues when worlds collide and you need the flexibility of a t-shirt with a button down look. This is where performance dress shirts come to the rescue. Not only do they offer a slim fitting and athletic look they also offer increased mobility from regular button downs without sacrificing any of the formal appearance. Luckily, we have done the research and scoured the web for the best performance dress shirt options out there and put them in one easy to scroll list!

What is a Performance Dress Shirt?

Performance dress shirts are designed with the unexpected in mind. Ever been at a wedding, work event, or other social gathering where you needed to look good but didn’t want to be uncomfortable? Performance dress shirts are designed just for that! They typically are made of stretchy, high quality, and slim fitting material to ensure a great look plus loads of comfort and mobility.

Why dress for performance?

Being prepared for your day involves more than just looking your best. You must also be comfortable and ready to move at any moment. This combination of flexibility, comfort, and style will boost your confidence and make sure you perform your best on any given day. If you are ready to dress for success then check out our list of 2022’s top performance dress shirts. 

1. Best Overall – “The Declan” Blue Cross Stitch by State & Liberty

Top Key Features: Flexible polyester fabric, included collar stays, hidden collar buttons, semi spread collar, wrinkle free, and machine washable.

Returns: Will accept any return that is unworn and resellable, within 90 days of purchase

Price: $95

What’s Good about State & Liberty: State and Liberty is a brand that was built around a need in the market for dress shirts that actually fit men with an athletic build. Co-founders, Steven Fischer and Lee Moffie, dealt with this issue themselves and set out to fix it. Their personal experience brought a unique perspective to the industry and their passion can be felt in the quality of their clothing. State & Liberty performance dress shirts are perfect for those with an athletic body type who want a shirt that fits and looks great without sacrificing comfort.

The flexible polyester / spandex fabric in these shirts allows for an unmatched fit while also delivering moisture wicking, lightweight, and anti-odor qualities. This fabric is machine washable and wrinkle free so you save tons of time and money as there is no need for dry cleaning or ironing.

What’s Not So Good:  When it comes to the quality of the product and the price point you will not find a better performance fit dress shirt brand than State & Liberty. The only thing to be conscious of is that these shirts are athletic fitting, so if you don’t have an athletic build then you might want to look at an alternative option.

The Verdict: Overall, State & Liberty hands down makes the best performance fit dress shirts for guys with an athletic build. They have a premium product with tons of awesome styles that are fit for any occasion. 

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2. Light Blue Stain Resistant Performance Dress Shirt by Woodies

Top Key Features: Stain resistant, athletic fit, customizable

Returns: Will remake any unworn shirts for free

Price: $125

What’s Good about Woodies: For 125 dollars Woodies offers a great amount of customization. Each of their shirts is made to order with your selection of collar, sleeves, pocket, and monogram. They also claim to be stain resistant which is a nice touch.

What’s Not So Good: Their performance shirt 2.0 is primarily a cotton blend so it won’t be as comfortable or stretchy as other performance dress shirts. They also offer very limited color options, which means the perfect fit may come at the sacrifice of not having the right option for a particular occasion. Also, because Woodies only offers an online sizing process, you will need to be confident in taking your own measurements. There is nothing more frustrating than getting a shirt that doesn’t fit right and this is something that could happen when purchasing a shirt from Woodies.

The Verdict: Overall, the Woodies performance shirt 2.0 is a solid performance dress shirt if you are okay with spending the extra money and are willing to wait for them to create your shirt. The color options are limited but if you are just looking for staple colors then you should be alright.

3. Jetsetter Stretch Dress Shirt by Bonobos

Top Key Features: Stretch material, many different color options, Machine Washable

Returns: For unworn items you have 45 days available to return for a refund and 90 for store credit.

Price: $129

What’s Good about Bonobos: Bonobos is a brand focused on offering quality clothing with an almost overwhelming range of color and style selections. Their Jetsetter stretch dress shirt is made of a 3 part stretch material that allows it to be machine washable, stylish, and flexible.

What’s Not So Good: Although they are one of the most recognizable brands on our list, Bonobos does have its issues. The shirt comes in a slim fit, however, does not appear as athletically focused or muscle displaying as others on this list. If you are looking to pick up multiple shirts Bonobos price of $129 may also be unappealing to some.

The Verdict: Bonobos is a good quality dress shirt that can fit almost any occasion with its stretch material and color options, if you are willing to spend the money. Also, if you hit the gym regularly, other shirts on this list will show your gains more prominently without sacrificing the classiness of a good old fashioned dress shirt.  

4. Angelo Bamboo White Shirt by ESQ Clothing

Top Key Features: Authentic bamboo material, moisture wicking, machine washable.

Returns: May return unworn items anytime within 30 days after delivery 

Price: $178

What’s Good about ESQ Clothing: ESQ is a brand that aims to have the most luxurious clothing possible. Their Angelo Bamboo shirt is exactly what it sounds like, a dress shirt where the primary fabric is bamboo. Their expert tailors manage to use this to make a very comfortable and durable athletic fit dress shirt.

What’s Not So Good: Unfortunately, the high quality construction of these shirts comes at a cost, a $178 cost to be exact. Meaning, those looking to buy multiple shirts will need to shell a good chunk of cash. On top of that, their color options are quite limited so if you are looking for patterns or sophisticated colors you will need to look at other options on this list. 

The Verdict: Although the performance of these dress shirts is not bad, it is hard to justify the price for the average consumer. However, if you don’t mind spending the money and don’t need anything other than white, blue, or purple, you will likely enjoy this shirt’s construction. 

5. Performance Dress Shirt by J. Crew

Top Key Features: Comfortable, affordable, convenient

Returns: May return unworn items anytime within 30 days of purchase.

Price: $35.99-$53.99

What’s Good about JCrew: The cheapest item on our list this J. Crew performance dress shirt is the easiest to get your hands on. It is machine washable, always in stock, and offers a comfortable yet slightly slimming fit.

What’s Not So Good: Being the cheapest does come with sacrifices. Low cost means low quality and minimal durability. So, although the shirt might be cheap, it’s not going to last nearly as long as others on this list which will cost you in the long run. The performance shirt from J. Crew is also not going to provide the same quality fit that a brand like State & Liberty offers. If you are looking for a more athletic fit with better mobility, this is not the one for you. On top of that the sizing options are slightly limited and there are no tailoring option available online as other brands offer.

The Verdict: For those looking to save money or just need their shirt for a short period of time this shirt is a good option. However, if you care about quality material and want a shirt that is going to look great then you should explore other options.

Questions about Performance Dress Shirts for Men

Still uncertain about picking up your first performance dress shirt? Read some of our answers to the most commonly asked questions below.

What are performance fabrics?

Performance fabrics typically consist of some blend of nylon, spandex, and polyester that allows for a great range of motion and comfort. Other fabrics may be thrown in to help with additional things like stain resistance.

Why should I buy a performance dress shirt?

Performance dress shirts are simply more comfortable than traditional dress shirts. The 4 way stretch allows for men to wear a better fitting shirt while still being comfortable. The fabric also is great for keeping cool because it is more breathable. Finally, performance fabric is wrinkle free and machine washable which means there is no need to dry clean the dress shirts which is a huge cost saver. 

What’s the difference between an athletic fit dress shirt and a performance dress shirt?

Athletic fit shirts are simply designed to fit an athletic body type. Performance dress shirts don’t necessarily have to be athletic fitting but they have to utilize stretchy moisture wicking fabrics. Some brands, such as our top pick State and Liberty, choose to merge the two shirt types. This allows for a great athletic fit while also providing the flexibility and comfort of a performance dress shirt.

Who can wear performance dress shirts?

Anybody who wants a comfortable, breathable shirt can wear a performance dress shirt.

What type of events/occasions are appropriate for performance dress shirts?

If you are planning to wear a dress shirt there’s typically no reason why you can’t go with a performance dress shirt. Performance dress shirts offer the same elegant look without all of the discomfort of traditional cotton dress shirts.

Do performance fabrics need to be ironed or dry-cleaned?

This depends on the blend of fabrics the brand chooses to use. Many brands offer the option to machine wash their performance dress shirts while others recommend dry cleaning and some strictly prohibit ironing. Whatever brand you choose it will be important to read their care instructions for their shirts.

Where is the best place to buy performance dress shirts?

There are plenty of good options on this list but it really comes down to your personal taste. Our personal favorite performance dress shirt brand is State and Liberty as they offer the best fit, styles, and comfort compared to any of the others. Plus, they are one of the best priced shirts allowing for you to purchase multiple variations.

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