Is it ever acceptable to wear a short sleeved shirt?

To embrace or not to embrace the eternally debated short sleeved shirt?

Eternal debates between sartorially savvy men (and those not so) everywhere tend to come into fruition in the warmer months. Should I be wearing flip flops? What about shorts in the office? Linen? And then comes the question that has been on everyone’s minds ever since the modern King of Cool aka Ryan Gosling adorned the look a couple of years ago: should I be wearing a short sleeved shirt?

Before you close your browser and immediately dismiss this as a ridiculous question to even ask, hear me out. Sure, the short sleeved shirt has been dragged through the hedge and come out the other end with some pretty hideous experiences, the Hawaiian shirt being one of them. They’ve also been traditionally reserved – until now – for middle aged men trying to look ‘casual’ on the weekend, adorning their hideously oversized short sleeved shirt with a pain of knee-length cargo shorts and the foulest of inventions: the sandal.

Is it ever acceptable to wear a short sleeved shirt?

Perhaps the short sleeved shirt has so many questionable connotations because, actually, men are scared of it. As a guy, you stick to what you know; you wear your white shirts and navy suits to work, your t-shirts and jeans on the weekend. But when it comes to stepping out of your comfort zone a little bit, things start to go sour. You associate pieces like the short sleeved shirt with being obtrusive and ‘weird’, because you haven’t seen one that you would wear – because you haven’t been looking.

When you think about it, functionality is key when it comes to dressing for the summer months. Style is obviously essential, but the ultimate end game is to not end up completely overheated. Sure, a lightweight t-shirt can do this for you, but why not take things a little further and test out the short sleeve shirt. Loudness in colour and pattern is commonly associated with the style, but avoid that to begin with. Try something white or blue a la Gosling.

So yes, it is acceptable. Like everything in life, the short sleeved shirt has had a welcome resurgence and my advice is to embrace it. Think forward and not back, gentlemen. So what if a few rogue men have donned it before you – this is your time to turn it into your new summer staple and to wear it with pride.

Never, ever button it all the way to the top. Ever.

The fit is everything: get this wrong and you look immediately ridiculous and the backlash from your colleagues or friends will be welcome. Don’t ever buy something too tight, too short, or too short sleeved. Tuck it in and you’re doomed. And if you want to keep your dignity and others’ respect for you intact, never, ever button it all the way to the top. Ever.

Good luck out there.

Further Reading