Is This The Stretchiest Dress Shirt Ever?!?! Manual Outfitters In Review
Disclaimer: Manual Outfitters was kind enough to send this shirt to The Peak Lapel for the purposes of this review.
As you no doubt know, we’re big fans of “performance” clothing around these parts. We are consistently on the hunt for the next great article of “tech” clothing. There is just nothing that compares in terms of comfort, movability, and overall ease of use when it comes to cleaning, drying, and dealing with wrinkles. Some days, you just want to feel like you’re wearing sweatpants to work, but you can’t quite look like it. Which is of course what makes the best performance gear so great — it stretches and moves with you, but looks like any old pair of pants or shirt.
Enter Manual Outfitters. They make a performance dress shirt ($155) that promises more stretch and better performance qualities (like sweat resistance and moisture wicking, etc) than its competitors. In truth, while I own a couple of shirts with a bit of stretch in them — and deeply love them — I do not know of all that many shirts that in and of themselves focus on stretch and performance. That tends to be more the department of pants our trousers, so it is quite cool and good to see that this shirt is focusing on those same capabilities.
So, how is it in person? Well, we must say that the shirt is indeed super stretchy and moves amazingly. They claim a 4-way stretch (meaning the stretch fabrics are sewn into both the warp and weft of the fabric), and you can totally tell. This shirt moves way more than my other dress shirts with just a hint of stretch to them. Manual claims that this is something that is exclusive to them and their production process, and, if so, they have a great thing going here.
The shirt’s performance is also wonderful. It dries quickly, wicks moisture, and seems to never pick up a smell no matter how long you wear it. But coolest of all is that the fabric truly resists water. If you spill any liquid on the shirt it just beads up and rolls right off. It’s truly like magic, and is something that we could try to show in a video or series of photos, but you’ll never get the real effect unless you try it in person. It truly seems to defy the laws of physics right before your eyes. It’s incredibly, and is a real way to put your mind at ease throughout the day as you eat or drink not needing to worry about a stain or spill. This resistance to liquids has not seemed to reduce after a couple wash cycles, but it’s possible that it could wear down with time. The company claims that it should not though, and so far, this has indeed been the case as far as we can tell.
One thing to note is that we found the shirt to feel quite “scratchy”, for lack of a better term, especially out of the wash. It breaks in a bit with wear, but certainly for the first little bit it might not be as soft or as comfortable as you would expect.
As to the details of the shirt, it comes in either white or blue, and both colors are quite nice and classic. Though, of course, we think they should add more as they expand as a company. There is chest pocket which we find a bit big, and think the shirt could do without. The collar is also quite small, but it has a very nice hidden button down which keeps it neatly in place. There is a bit of pleating by the cuffs, but otherwise, this is a pretty typical shirt design.
What we don’t love, really, is the fit. As you can see from the pictures, it’s not a very slim fitting shirt, or at least could be offered in a slimmer cut additionally. There are also only neck sizes, and no sleeve length sizes. The armhole also, to point out specifically, is oddly shaped. It is placed rather high and cuts into my armpit causing discomfort, but at the same time the sleeve itself is not very slim. Overall, the fit is okay, but has huge room for improvement, at least on my frame. (Note: I am 6’1” and 170 lbs. and usually wear a 15.5” / 34 shirt in a slim or extra slim fit.)
All in all, at $155, this shirt is incredibly steep in price. Still, most performance clothing is very expensive, and so the price is not outrageous for what you’re getting. In truth, we have not really seen anything super comparable, so if this is the sort of thing you are looking for, then this is an excellent option fulfilling most requirements. We still think the fit can be improved, with some more options offered, and a refinement to their cut. Overall, though, this is a solid product that is worth checking out.