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Performance Shirts: What Are They Made of, Uses and More

Everyone loves the feel of their favorite workout shirts – light and soft, they really allow your body to breathe during a workout. But what if I told you that you can have all of these features in a dress shirt as well?

Odds are that you don’t just sweat at the gym, and there’s nothing more embarrassing than having armpit sweat stains on your dress shirt at work. Whether you specifically deal with this problem in the summer when commuting to work or if your office is overly heated in the winter, a performance dress shirt is a great alternative to traditional dress shirts.

What Are Performance Shirts Made of?

While the exact composition of performance shirts varies by brand, generally they are made up of a combination of polyester, cotton, and spandex. Performance shirts are found in both long sleeve and short-sleeve t-shirt styles. The main material is often polyester that is equipped with an amazing feature called moisture wicking technology. This wicking technology has gone through rapid advancements in recent years, making it more effective than ever!

How Do Performance Shirts Work?

It’s not enough to just tell you that performance shirts are amazing – you need to know how they work to really appreciate how incredible this technology really is. Moisture wicking essentially means that the material of the shirt is able to take any sweat from your body, absorb it into the fabric, distribute it throughout the garment, and allow it to then evaporate off of the shirt. Imagine wearing a long sleeve t-shirt that keeps you cool! Moisture wicking technology such as cool dri makes sure that the sweet remains invisible and that the material remains nice and cool so that you don’t sweat even more!

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When and Where To Wear Performance Shirts?

While some uses of performance shirts are obvious – like in the gym – advancements in technology have led to performance shirts being best-sellers outside the gym as well! In fact, there are even performance dress shirts now that have all the benefits of your favorite performance tee in a comfortable and breathable dress shirt! And while you might think that there’s no way that the same cool-dri material of a typical performance t-shirt would look professional enough to be used in a dress shirt as well, that’s not the case at all. In fact, performance dress shirts look just as good as traditional dress shirts and the moisture wicking technology totally eliminates any anxiety about sweat stains throughout the day or right before your big meeting. 

What’s the Difference Between Other Shirts?

When it comes to dress shirts, there are three main types of materials: cotton, blended, and performance. We will talk about all three so that you can see the pros and cons of each kind.

  • Cotton: Cotton is probably the material that you first think of when you think of a traditional dress shirt. Cotton has always been the most popular material for dress shirts and is popular in tons of other garments as well because of its feel and function.

    • Pros: Cotton is a great material that is popular for a lot of reasons.

      • Cotton is a soft and breathable fabric that feels good on your skin - think of your favorite Hanes crewneck t-shirt and how it just seems to get more comfortable over time
      • Cotton is considered hypoallergenic and won’t cause any skin irritation, which can be a concern if you have sensitive skin
      • Cotton is naturally odor resistant by absorbing odors into the fabric and keeping them there until it is washed
      • When it comes to washing, cotton is an easy-care fabric and is very easy to wash - it's also versatile, and many styles from polo shirts to pullovers can be found made with cotton
      • Cotton shirts are resistant to static electricity which can be really annoying – and sometimes painful when you get shocked because of it
      • Finally, cotton shirts don’t pill easily after washing which can be a major inconvenience to deal with

    • Cons: Even though cotton is definitely a great material with a lot of benefits, there are some issues that commonly occur when using the fabric that are worth mentioning.

      • Even though cotton is easy to launder, it also wrinkles very easily and often requires things like steaming or ironing in order to remove those wrinkles. This can be difficult to do when traveling or if you are trying to remove wrinkles that have built up throughout the day before a midday meeting
      • Cotton is breathable but it is also very porous which means that any sweat on your body will be absorbed into the shirt and show up as sweat marks
      • A big problem with washing cotton is that it can shrink a lot if you aren’t careful. No one wants an unwearable sweater that is too small because it accidentally shrunk in the wash! 
      • Cotton shirts also tend to be on the more expensive side when compared to other materials
  • Blended: Blended dress shirts consist of a blend of cotton and polyester. The exact makeup of blended shirts varies but the most common is a 50/50 blend of cotton and polyester.

    • Pros:
      • Blended shirts aren’t as wrinkle-prone as cotton alone. Therefore, you don’t have to worry as much about having a steamer or an iron on-hand in case of pesky wrinkles
      • Blended shirts can provide more insulation and keep you warmer if you live or work in cold environments
      • Blended shirts don’t shrink as much as 100% cotton
      • Blended shirts are often more affordable than traditional cotton shirts

    • Cons:

      • Blended shirts might not have the super soft feel of 100% cotton shirts
      • Blended shirts might provide too much insulation if you live or work in warmer environments
      • Blended shirts can still shrink a little bit in the wash, especially over time throughout multiple washes
  • Performance: As we have previously discussed, performance shirts often contain a specific blend of cotton, polyester, and other materials that utilize moisture-wicking technology. Often this means that even if you're wearing a button-down long sleeve performance shirt, you'll get many of the benefits you often only associate with a short-sleeve t-shirt!

    • Pros:

      • The unique composition of performance shirts makes them totally breathable and allows any moisture to be absorbed and distributed throughout the fabric until it can evaporate into the air. This means no sweat marks! 
      • Performance shirts do not wrinkle at all
      • Performance shirts do not fade whatsoever
      • Performance shirts do not shrink and are very stretchy while still returning to their original shape. This can be a fantastic feature for outerwear and pullovers that may be stuffed into a luggage or backpack while traveling.

    • Cons: There are very few cons to performance shirts but like anything, there are a few minor drawbacks.

      • Performance shirts might have a tendency to pill but some types have been specifically made to avoid this issue so be on the lookout for anti-pill varieties. Often you can find this feature discussed in the "product detail" page before you make your purchase and checkout.
      • Performance shirts are made of synthetic materials that aren’t biodegradable 

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Final Thoughts

As we can see, there are pros and cons to every single type of shirt material. Depending on what you are looking for, the specific occasion you are looking for, and your budget – the best type of shirt for you will vary. However, performance shirts definitely combine the best features of cotton and blended while avoiding most of the fallbacks, and can be found in several types of shirts such as hoodies, long sleeve t-shirts, and sleeveless shirts.

And while enjoying these benefits, performance shirts still have the potential to look nice and professional enough to wear in the office! Performance dress shirts come in an amazing variety of this material that eliminates so many of the issues that working professionals often run into with their traditional cotton dress shirts.  You don’t have to worry about creating wrinkles throughout the day or dealing with sweat stains either. When you find a performance dress shirt like a Twillory performance dress shirt, you’ll feel comfortable and confident thanks to the stretchability and style of performance shirts offered. 

Plus, performance dress shirts aren’t just limited to use inside the office either! They would also work great for fancier outdoor events like weddings or parties where you would normally be super prone to sweat stains. Overall, whether you choose a dress shirt, a long sleeve performance shirt, sleeveless shirt, or a short-sleeve performance t-shirt,  performance shirts are a great new possibility that you can incorporate into your wardrobe for any occasion! 

There’s no mention here of the stretchability of Twillory performance shirts. Does it matter?

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