It’s rare that we test mostly cotton clothing here — while cotton can be performant and is comfortable, it struggles to beat out many other materials both natural and synthetic. But, today we are testing Everlane’s Performance Dress Shirt, because this shirt packs a bold claim. Here is the description directly from Everlane:
The Performance Shirt has the performance of a technical fabric—stretch, wrinkle-resistant, sweat-wicking, quick-dry, anti-microbial, and with stain-resistant cuffs and collar—with the look and feel of cotton. From long commutes to even longer meetings, this shirt looks good all day long.
And you get all that for the low price of $68, a generally good deal for a cotton dress shirt, but an outright steal if the performance claims are met. So not to keep you in suspense any longer: the performance claims are not met. It’s not a complete bust of a shirt, but that description is highly disingenuous.
First this is a wrinkle-free shirt, it’s the second claim made, and yet when I pulled it out of the packaging it was a wrinkled mess. So yeah, not a good start, but let’s dive in.
As I mentioned this is a high cotton shirt at 97% cotton, 3% elastane. There must also be chemical treatments to the fabric to even blink at some of these other claims, but none are listed and none are readily apparent to this layman reviewer.
Overall this feels like a cotton shirt, and has mild stretch which will allow you a greater range of motion than you would otherwise get in a slim shirt. And because it is cotton it looks like a normal shirt, so aces there. Lastly the shirt itself is very thin, so beware if you run into any, well, nipple issues generally in shirts.
I am just going to run through the bullet points of the claims:
- Technical Fabric Level Stretch: False. It does have stretch, but if we are comparing it against some of the best stretching dress shirts, your Ministry of Supply Apollo, or Bluffworks Zenith (our review) — it doesn’t hold a candle to it. The shirt does have stretch, most noticeable horizontally across the back as you reach forward. But it is modest stretch. Is it better than a standard cotton shirt? Yes. Is it on par with the other technical dress shirts I test here? Not even close.
- Wrinkle-resistance: as I said at the outset, this shirt looked like a mess when it came. But it washes and hang dries and comes out looking mostly wearable. A quick touch with a steamer and you have a wearable shirt — I have technical shirts which need that after washing too. But I think the key tell here is that the elbow areas of this shirt become a rumpled/wrinkled mess over the course of wearing it in just a few hours. This shirt is not what I would call wrinkle-resistant.
- Sweat-wicking: it’s cotton, so no. I mean, no, just no.
- Quick-dry: it dries faster than other cotton, but I can’t tell you why. I suspect that the thinness of the shirt is what is causing the dry times here and nothing else.
- Anti-microbial: they must have a coating on this, because you can sneak almost two days of wear out of the shirt, but you will need to iron/steam it in between and I am not sure if you want to do that to a shirt you have worn for a day already. Coatings also likely wear off over time. But I think the most important thing here is that you can wear this all day without smelling like body odor. And that really is the claim Everlane is making. So I’ll give them that.
- Stain resistant cuffs and collar: honestly I have no clue. I know the stains they are talking about, but that is going to require months of wear and testing before I would expect to see any of it. I haven’t seen anything to doubt this yet though.
Is this a performance shirt? No, not by Everyday Wear standards.
Fit & Style
The fit is almost perfect on me, which I am quite happy with. The one miss is the location of the top most button: it sits much too high. While this helps to keep the collar from laying down flat, it is rather uncomfortable for me — in the sense that I notice it and don’t like it.
Style wise, is it generally better than your average cotton shirt? No, it lacks the style of something like an OCBD, and lacks the general texture. So if you are going to wear cotton, why not wear cotton? And while this is a dress shirt, the collar is not thick enough to wear a tie with, so it’s not going to make for a good suit & tie shirt by any means.
This is a dress shirt you wear without a tie, and not with a suit, something to dress up chinos or jeans. In that sense, sure, the style is fine.
If you want a cotton shirt which has a little more movement and is overall crisp: this is a great price and a nice thin shirt for the summer office months. But if what you want is true performance you are better offer with something else, and you can get true performance shirts for close to this price during sales.
For $68, it is an ok offering, if you get it on sale it becomes even more attractive — but it’s not something that I recommend.