More than most wardrobe items, your opinion on short sleeve shirts is likely highly influenced by whether or not your dad is a fan. If, growing up, yours was the type to favour gaudy Hawaiian styles on holiday and ill-fitting M&S numbers at weekend barbecues, chances are you’re not a fan. It’s a sentiment that certainly holds true in the GJ offices, where we’ve always preferred a casually rolled sleeve to one intentionally cut to mid bicep.
But it’s time for a rethink. Whether it’s Ryan Gosling at the Cannes Film Festival or David Beckham showcasing his latest tattoo, short sleeve shirts are making a comeback – and we’re converts. There are some rules of course. Fabrics must always be of the highest quality while a slim-fit with great construction will stand the test of time. Try to cheap out and you’ll end up with a shapeless, unflattering button-up after the first wash. Also be wary of anything overly patterned; florals, palm trees and polka dots are best left for the beach. Here are the best short sleeve shirts for men to buy now…
You can’t go wrong with a classic white shirt
You’ve been pulling on a white shirt every morning since you started school so, even with a short sleeve, they should be well within your comfort zone. Fabric quality is particularly important here – transparent is a good look on no-one. Sunspel’s off-white offering is made from fine Japanese chambray with a slightly longer cut in the sleeve (so you can still achieve that all-important turn-up) while the ombre buttons on Paul Smith’s linen style add an extra element to this otherwise minimalist shirt. Finally, Hartford’s linen shirt is finished with a camp collar, giving it a more relaxed feel ideal for wearing with chinos or jeans at the weekend.
Sunspel Japanese chambray shirt
Paul Smith tailored linen shir
Hartford camp-collar linen shirt
A navy shirt will never not look good
Take a brief glance over your wardrobe. Seeing a lot of navy in there? There’s a reason: it is unfailingly flattering on everyone – which is going to come in handy when you’re reintroducing the much maligned short sleeve shirt. Love Brand’s linen Arawak design is the timeless option here, with its slightly open casual collar and contrasting buttons, while Frescobol Carioca’s take is crafted in sustainably sourced Tencel that looks as good as it feels. For something slightly more contemporary look to Onia, which has opted for a T-shirt style linen-blend jersey and a smart narrow collar on its Dylan shirt.
Love Brand Arawak linen shirt
Frescobol Carioca Tencel shirt
Onia Dylan linen 0blend jersey shirt
Brighten up your weekend wardrobe with a block colour
Now we’ve covered the basics it’s time to explore the real advantage of a short sleeve shirt. The cut means they will always be more casual than their long sleeve counterparts – and largely worn only during the summer – but this also means they are ripe for experimentation with colour. Ease yourself in with something neutral, like Odyssee’s cotton canvas offering finished with a Cuban collar, before working up to more highly pigmented styles. The jewel tones of these camp collar shirts from Oliver Spencer and Ermenegildo Zegna will look great with dark denim or lighter tailored chinos.
Odyssee Maulen cotton shirt
Oliver Spencer seersucker shirt
Ermenegildo Zegna linen shirt
Smarten up with a striped shirt
Like we said, bold patterns probably aren’t your friend when it comes to a short sleeve shirt – with the exception of stripes. A subtle stripe reminiscent of classic tailoring can actually serve to smarten up a short sleeve shirt making it a great option for casual Fridays or weekend brunch. Stick to lighter colours and timeless colour combinations. Nanushka’s boxy cream design is a lesson in understated details while Ralph Lauren and Universal Works both offer takes on the perennial blue-and-white stripe that are about as versatile as they come.
Nanushka Adam striped shirt
Ralph Lauren seersucker shir
Universal Works Road shirt