The short-sleeve shirt is an oft derided member of the menswear family – unfairly, we reckon. True, there’s a fine line between Cannes-bound Ryan Gosling and gaudy Ace Ventura Tribute act, but get it right and they can be your number one summertime companion.
An explosion of Hawaiian-inspired short-sleevers may have defined the last few seasons, but there’s as much to be said for keeping it simple, too. Keeping an eye on fit is so important with these shirts, particularly where the sleeves are concerned. You don’t want to go too tight; nobody has purchased a ticket to the gun show, mate. Put them away. On the other side of the scale, too loose and you risk unfavourable comparisons to Nigel Thornberry, or worse still, a style-based compliment from six-pints-deep-at-the-family-get-together Uncle Rick.
Rather than shunning the short-sleeve shirt this summer, we want you to embrace it. Liberate your arms and your soul will duly follow, or something like that.
We’ve tried to cater for all tastes here. Whether you’re after a bit of floral flamboyance to ensure it’s near impossible for anyone to lose you at Glastonbury, or it’s just a case of a few low-key evening options for that Barcelona city break, we have you sorted right out.
FARAH Sydling short-sleeve striped shirt in blue
Farah’s s/sleeve Sydling is slim-fit and so appealing on the eye – especially with that collar buttoned and paired with some dark trousers – that it’ll become your Al Fresco go-to. Until you spill spaghetti bolognese on the front, you silly mug.
Y.M.C. Malick shirt in pink organic crinkle cotton
Y.M.C’s breezy Malick shirt is made from crinkle cotton, which is perfect for when you can’t be bothered to dig out the iron. You’re meant to look like a dishevelled rapscallion who forgot to check the tumble dryer for three days in this salmon pink number. A great wardrobe pick for last-minute barbecues and bicycle kicks on the beach.
Carharrt S/S Orlando shirt in blue/white
Yeah, it shouts “I HAVE STRIPES”, but Carharrt’s Orlando shirt gets its stripes bang on. A comfortable regular fit with that signature Carharrt durability that guarantees it will last you years. And while we’re not suggesting for a second that there’s a sailor vibe going on here, we can definitely see you driving a speedboat in this. Just keep it in mind.
Edwin Nimes shirt SS in beige/black print
You had no idea that you deeply desired a shirt with an all-over palm tree print until this corker from Edwin came into your life. Featuring a statement black/beige colourway and smart collar, we would say it’s best suited to those warm summer evenings, but you also need to pair it with your very best wayfarers in the lunchtime beer garden. Just don’t let your dad near it.
Soulland Cornwall stripe revere collar shirt in blue
I’m willing to bet money that nobody in the history of the world has looked as laid-back as you’re going to look in this, Soulland’s all over stripe Cornwall shirt. You’re going to wear it with at least three of the buttons undone (fine in this case) and turn every head with your newly adopted sexy pyjamas aesthetic. Remember when shirt sleeves ended at your wrist? Ha!
Portugese Flannel Bananas shirt
You’re not doing summer properly if you haven’t purchased at least one piece of fruit-printed clothing. If everyone’s at it, though, you need to make sure yours is the best. King of the fruit bowl and all that.
We’d point you towards this one, titled “Bananas” to immediately clear up any queries. We’re big fans of Portuguese Flannel’s output here at ShortList. There’s meticulous care in everything they weave, the kind of cosy materials you’d happily wear every day. Add to that a very generous helping of intricately stitched bananas and you’re laughing.
Stussy short-sleeve classic Oxford shirt in white
The white Oxford shirt is the most versatile thing you own, so versatile in fact, that you can just lob the sleeves off in the balmier months. Grab this one from Stussy so you can look classicly sharp on the outside but feel like a certified OG hypebeast underneath.
Lee short-sleeve shirt in denim
No word of a lie: Lee have named this their “Short Sleeve Shirt”. No fucking around whatsoever with that title. Stall unequivocally set out. We respect this.
Heavy denim shirts in the summer can be a bit counter-intuitive; the aim of the game is to reduce your sweating after all. Still, it’s a worthy addition your arsenal, and Lee’s offering ticks all the boxes: nice wash, non-offensive brand tag, sizeable chest pocket that you’ll never use. We’re also very much into the baseball jersey-style stitching on the front.
Cos oversized short-sleeve shirt in grey
Oversized short-sleeve shirt. Hmmm, ringing alarm bells isn’t it? It shouldn’t, though, at least not in the case of this sophisticated design from Cos. We’re drawn to a few things here: the so-pale-it-might-as-well-be-white-but-it-isn’t-so-stop-saying-it-yeah grey, the pointed collar, a chest pocket so comically enormous you could probably carry your dog in it.
We get the feeling people will presume a certain level of intellect if they see someone rocking this shirt. Not that that’s an issue for you or anything – just keep reading those books.
Obey Paradise print shirt
Don’t bottle it. You bought this shirt on a whim, so enamoured you were by the birds and the pink and the flowers. But now you actually have to wear it. Don’t bottle it. Wear it unbuttoned over a white vest if you must – maybe with some loose-fitting chinos – but don’t bottle it.
Folk short-sleeve Pop Piano shirt in navy
If your sartorial preference is understated cool, then look no further than the Pop Piano Shirt from British brand Folk. Not a whole lot to say about this one. It’s that nice shade of navy that goes with almost everything, pleasingly lightweight and finished off with a retro camp collar. Everyone loves a floppy collar.
Polo Ralph Lauren button-down collar floral-print cotton Oxford shirt
Floral-print shirts have become boringly abundant – particularly at festivals – in recent years, but we’ll make an exception for this half-placket Oxford from Ralph Lauren. It’s cut with airy cotton and the cuffed sleeves are a nice touch. There’s nothing brash about the pale colours – pink, green and blue – either, so don’t worry about chucking it on for any occasion. Just keep the pant selection dark.
Uniqlo men linen cotton short-sleeve shirt in blue
Uniqlo will always have your back for competitively-priced basics. From their linen range, try this short-sleeve summer essential. Available in a range of colours (pictured here in light blue), it’s light, soft and comfy. Wear it until August and restock next year. Easy.