On more occasions than I’d care to admit I’ve skinted myself buying jackets and coats. I was sad because I was poor but happy because I looked great – I just about muddled through.
But what happens when the weather starts to change? When the days grow long and lazy and pub gardens are lush and vibrant and you start to feel the first burst of sunburn on your T-zone’s once supple patina. Your jackets can’t save you here.
That’s where the overshirt comes in: cheaper than a jacket and even more versatile – wearable all year round with a few subtle layer tweaks. (Spring: wear under a light jacket; Summer: wear over a t-shirt; Autumn: wear under a light coat; Winter: wear it buttoned up over some long-johns and under a thick duvet of a coat with a little bottle of Navy Rum tucked into the inside pocket, just like your old man used to do.)
Here are our picks of the thirteen best overshirts for you to buy and wear and love this spring-slash-summer:
Norse Projects Villads Twill Shirt
A subtle play on the classic white shirt, here with extra pockets for filters and a nice ecru lilt to the colourway to give your style an extra safari vibe.
Polo Ralph Lauren Overdyed BD Shirt
Either you are a rich old white dude without a mortgage, a classic motor in the garage, and the world at his wrinkly feet or you’re a normal bloke with no savings but a really nice line in very practical, well-made long-sleeves in bottle green that’ll literally never go out of style. Take your pick.
Jean Shop Garth Slim-Fit Denim Western Shirt
Like the classic jean jacket but it’s a shirt. That’s it. That’s all you get. It works, though: works an absolute treat. Little white t-shirt under this, some chino Dickies. You’re laughing.
MHL by Margaret Howell Rever Collar Shirt
High quality atelier Margaret Howell’s MHL line is a perennial favourite at ShortList, known for its slung-across tailoring and fashion/form gap-bridging style. It’s everyday wearable, expensive, very fashionable shit and we’re just fuckin’ bang into it tbh, basically. This regular-cut shirt is made of cotton poplin and is equally suited to a night out down The Dolphin or the long walk of shame in the morning.
Topman Globe Check Overshirt
Kurt Cobain never actually died. He’s you. You’re the lead singer of Nirvana. You wear your moody grunge shirt open with a white t-shirt and black jeans. You look great.
Vetra Linen Stripe Shirt
Another keen variant on the classic French work jacket, built from linen, with a fine pinstripe in light blue, this is the logical conclusion of the overshirt: it looks like a jacket made from a shirt.
Adsum Work Shirt
A little bit of seventies plaid for the hard-working American dad in you, who just wants to listen to a rock song about driving into the sunset in a Chevy and work with your hands. Its curved hem and wide-ish collar are flattering to even the least beach-ready of bodies, worn open over or – dare we even say it – slung nonchalantly across your shoulders as the sun sets over the beer garden.
Barbour International Hyatt Overshirt
It’s always important to remember, from time to time, that Barbour are more than just outfitters of quilted jackets for blokes at the football and waxed jackets for Freshers in Camden. Here they’re in full swing, with a heavy Hyatt overshirt in an inky navy cotton that can be worn casually with summer garb or even a lil’ bit of sportswear.
Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren Military Overshirt Jacket
YOU’RE IN THE ARMY. LOOK AT YOU GO. Only you’re not: you drink Punk IPA and have Spotify Premium and don’t get shot at. Like Hannah Montana, you’ve got the best of both worlds.
Cos Button-Down Stripe Shirt
Let’s call Cos’ taste “futuristic minimalism” and this white-and-grey button down works perfectly as a standalone shirt, a mid-layer under a jacket, or to be thrown haphazardly over whatever it was you were wearing before. We’re not even sure if this counts as an “overshirt” but we know it’d definitely work as one. That’s the thing with white and grey, isn’t it: like your mum, it just goes with anything.
Uniqlo Linen Cotton Stand Collar Shirt
Once called the “granddad collar”, the stand collar can work equally well as a light overshirt when the going gets mild: wear with a similarly fresh white t-shirt and you’ll have a nice I’m In Heaven At A BBQ look in check.
APC Liquette Duke Indigo Delave Pull-Over
APC are the best at making you, a normal man, look good. They do basics at non-basic prices, yes, but with extremely non-basic attention to detail, and that’s what is the real elevator: you get what you pay for. This half-button denim smock is beautiful, with its dyed indigo hue, made to grow with you, and age like a French leading man, and it’s also called “Liquette Duke” which is hilarious. What more do you want?
ASOS Regular Fit Buffalo Check Shirt In Burgundy
At the other end of the spectrum, this is just a bargain: set in vineyard hues and buffalo plaid with a boxy cut, perfect for wearing until it falls to pieces. And then, because it’s a bargain, you can just buy another one.
(Main Image: “Deck Out No. 303” by Oi Polloi, Topman, and Cos)