If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: while we all love the heat and haze of summer, it’s the toughest season for a modern man’s wardrobe. Style goes out of the widely-opened window, and we spend most days sweating it over sweating. But there are certain garments that can help you keep your cool — and the best of these is the humble, lightweight shirt.
And shirts are versatile. As temperatures rise, our necklines fall — as we master the art of tactical unbuttoning. We tuck them back in for evening dinners — and even pop the collars when our necks begin to prickle with sunburn. Shirts can do it all; the most multipurpose mainstays of our summer wardrobes.
But there’s also an issue of style. Practicality may be all well and good — but you should try to make a splash with your choice of summer shirt. Here, we’ve rounded up the best options to turn heads this summer; statement, signature shirts perfect for a heatwave…
Go for a bright — but light — shirt
Making a statement is important, but your first concern should be choice of fabric. Bearing this in mind, linen is the only material that makes sense this summer. At once lightweight and resilient, linen is the undisputed, breathable king of your summer wardrobe, and fares no better than when stitched into your shirting. Lock in linen — and then opt for bright, bold colours.
From shirtmaker Emma Willis comes this extraordinary blue hue — ‘Kingfisher’. Cut for effortlessly elegant summer style, it’s the azure colour of those Aegean, Caribbean or Mediterranean waters we’re all longing to dive headlong into. A little like Turnbull & Asser’s offering; soft of colour and touch — and in a lazy, cloudless sky blue. Or, for a sunnier look, turn to New & Lingwood, and this lemon-yellow, tailored-fit classic.
Emma Willis Kingfisher Blue Shirt
New & Lingwood Classic Linen Shirt
Turnbull & Asser Linen Shirt
Short sleeves and stripes make for summer staples
Maybe it’s because we spend so much time by the sea during the summer months, or perhaps it’s because the smallest, shortest sleeves ensure the least chance of overheating. Whatever the reason, the short sleeved, striped shirt has become a staple of any modern man’s summer wardrobe — thanks to its nautical styling and relaxed Cuban collar.
There are plenty of options out there, with Orlebar Brown’s Connery-approved ‘Thunderball’ design perhaps the best take on the traditional look. But there are plenty more short-sleeved shirts worth buttoning up — from Frescobol Carioca’s linen offering in a subtle pink shade to this Sir Plus shirt, with cream stripes and corozo nut buttons.
Orlebar Brown ‘Thunderball’ Stripe Shirt
Frescobol Carioca ‘Leblon’ Stripe Shirt
Sir Plus Striped Cuban Shirt
Keep it tight with a subtle print
Stripes may be unbeatable by the sea — but nothing signals a hot, heavy summertime like a tight, artistic print. Whether its a motif local to a far-flung destination or an abstract spin on a classic design, these softly patterned shirts will turn heads and start conversations in equal, sun-soaked measure this summer.
Firstly, Sunspel’s camp collar shirt is crafted from lightweight cotton — and adorned with a travel-ready ‘Ikat’ print. Wax London’s ‘Didcot’ design is as laidback as its loose, wavy watercolour pattern; cut in a relaxed fit and finished with eco-friendly corozo nut buttons. Or, for something a little louder, why not look to LOVE BRAND & Co, whose natural navy print riffs on the shape of banana leaves.
Sunspel Printed Camp Collar Shirt
Wax London 'Didcot' Shirt
LOVE BRAND & Co. ‘Arawak’ Linen Shirt
Become a Gentleman’s Journal member. Find out more here.