8 Cool Short-Sleeved Shirts All Men Should Own For Summer 2022

From the button-down to the Cuban collar, these short-sleeved wonders are essential for hot weather dressing.

Of all the garments in the canon of menswear, few better serve stylish men in summer than the short-sleeved shirt. We’d even go so far as to say it practically defines a summer wardrobe because it’s rare to wear one at any other time of the year. As a category of clothing it’s about as broad and diverse as it gets, spanning the smart-to-casual spectrum thanks to a range of fabric options, silhouettes and collar details, alongside a plethora of classic and contemporary designs.

From boxy old-school cuts like the Hawaiian shirt to modern textural types and pattern-rich options, the short-sleeved shirt is non-negotiable summer style currency, and here’s how you cash in…

Cuban collar short-sleeved shirt

Also known as the camp collar shirt, the origins of the Cuban collar are disputed. Some claim it comes from the Philippines, but in all likelihood it’s an offshoot of the Cuban guayabera shirt, sans pockets, pleats and embroidery.

Its defining feature is of course the collar, which is typically a soft one-piece sewn directly to the body of the shirt so that the collar lies flat against one’s chest, unlike the traditional western collar that stands.

What to look for

Fabric and pattern are the two main considerations. Textural cotton and linen styles make for great summer cloths and in plain block colours are very easy to style with shorts or chinos. Patterned designs are often floral or verging on Hawaiian and can actually be really effective worn with tailoring for a vibrant tropical look, although a plain white, black or tan style can look equally as effective.

How to wear it

How a Cuban Collar shirt should fit

Todd Snyder

Casually, the Cuban collar works well with a pair of tailored shorts and loafers for a dressed-down sartorial look that wouldn’t be out of place at trade show Pitti Uomo, but you’ll also see plenty examples of discerning gents wearing more flamboyant Cuban collars with suiting at the aforementioned menswear event.

They go especially well with tobacco and cream linen suits when worn with the Cuban collar sitting atop the jacket lapels.

Guayabera shirt

The guayabera shirt is the official shirt of Cuba and is thought to have originated some time in the 18th century in the city of Sancti Spiritus where a wealthy landowner asked his wife to create him a shirt with multiple pockets cut from a lightweight cotton called ‘batiste’.

His fruit-picking employees took a shine to his shirt, making their own and naming them ‘yayabera’ after the river that ran through the estate. There’s another theory that the name comes from the four large pockets of the shirt which were used to carry the fruit guayabas (guavas as we know them today).

The traditional styles feature four front pockets, vertical pleats and in many cases decorative embroidery.

What to look for

If you’re ever in Cuba, then you’d be mad not to buy the real thing, but failing that there are a few brands who have created commendable guayabera shirts, British brand Oliver Spencer being one of them.

Most contemporary labels seem to ditch the four-pocket configuration and any elaborate embroidery, so often what you’re buying is a Cuban collar shirt by any other name. Lightweight cotton and linen styles are the way to go, in white or pale pastel tones.

How to wear it

Men's Guayabera short sleeve shirt with shorts and loafers outfit

PuroEGO

With tailored shorts, a cigar and a cuba libre in your hand a la Ernest Hemingway. But seriously, pleated shorts or flat-fronted tailored styles pair well with the guayabera, while on your feet think classic summer shoes: a pair of loafers for a smarter finish or espadrilles to dress it down.

Button-through short-sleeved shirt

The classic button-through short sleeve shirt is a non-negotiable addition to any vacation wardrobe, offering style and versatility in equal measure.

The options on the market today are literally endless, from simple cotton styles with spear collars to flashy silk and sophisticated linen creations. The great thing about these shirts is that they dance between casual and smart depending on how you style them.

What to look for

Cotton, linen and silk tend to be the most popular fabrics, and typically ascend in price in that order. Linen has a less formal edge thanks to the lightweight slubby texture, therefore we’d suggest a more casual approach to using it, whereas cotton will have a slightly more structured collar that you can wear in a smarter way.

Silk is the baller option (luxury French brand Casablanca has pretty much monopolised the men’s silk shirt scene in recent seasons) and as such you can wear it however the hell you like.

How to wear it

Men's knitted shirt, khaki chinos and black leather loafers outfit

J.Crew

Block-colour styles are extremely versatile and can be worn with everything from shorts to tailored trousers. You also have the option to wear the shirt open, layered over a simple white tee with shorts or chinos.

As alluded to above, the fabric will dictate the formality: silk styles are better suited to smart summer looks, while cotton and linen can be more easily dressed down.

Floral/Hawaiian print short-sleeved shirt

If you’re not old enough to remember Tom Selleck as Magnum P.I wearing all manner of Hawaiian shirts, then you’re surely of the age to recall Leo DiCaprio’s sublime version in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet.

Floral print short-sleeved shirts and true-to-heritage Hawaiian styles have been popular on spring/summer runways for the past number of seasons, oscillating between bold and bright and dark gothic designs. Whatever you prefer, they offer a welcome injection of colour and pattern to your summer wardrobe.

What to look for

Shirts that more closely follow the original Hawaiian motifs tend to be boxy and not shy with the colours, which makes them ideal for day wear, whereas more contemporary styles in dark tones are great options to wear with relaxed summer tailoring.

Look out for vintage Hawaiian styles if you want to shop more sustainably.

How to wear it

Men's floral short sleeve shirt with white trousers and espadrilles outfit

Reiss

At the beach. The Hawaiian shirt, with its boxier dimensions, is a great laid-back shirt for holidays or a really dressed-down chinos look for the weekend.

A more fitted floral shirt will be better deployed in a smarter format, with tapered cotton or linen trousers and loafers, or even worn beneath an unstructured linen blazer for a confident summer evening look.

Oxford button-down short-sleeved shirt

Usually the preserve of preppy style, slice the sleeves off a classic Oxford cloth button-down and you have a short-sleeved summer shirt that is both work appropriate and perfect with your weekend wardrobe. The button-down collar ensures the casual credentials while a slightly more fitted body keeps the silhouette svelte and smart.

What to look for

The quality of cotton is your main consideration – our preference would be a good midweight organic or pima cotton so it feels soft but not too heavy. Make sure the collar has a soft roll to it, too, as you don’t want anything too stiff and formal.

How to wear it

Men's short slevee button down shirt, shorts and sneakers outfit for men

GANT

Armie Hammer in Call Me By You Name is a pretty spot-on vibe for summer, where he wears a pale green pinstripe version with cream tailored shorts, white socks and sneakers. Super preppy, which is right up the OCBD street.

Striped shirt

Striped iterations of the short-sleeved shirt are striking in their simplicity, whether vertical pinstripes or of the horizontal persuasion. Personally, we prefer the vertical stripes for a slightly smarter, preppy aesthetic.

The stripes are an effective way to add colour and pattern to a casual outfit without looking like you’re trying too hard. They’re eye-catching in their uniformity and easy style with pretty much any neutral tone in your wardrobe.

What to look for

The type of striped effect is totally subjective but thinner pinstripes are certainly more subtle and often look like a block colour at distance, whereas wider stripes pack more visual punch.

Multi-coloured stripes are also a good option for making a statement with your shirt. Think pastel tones if you want a softer effect and wider darker colours for more impact.

Horizontal stripes have more of a preppy look to them, referencing vintage rugby tops and such like, and are thus much more casual then their vertical cousins.

How to wear it

Men's short sleeve striped shirt, white tee, chinos and sandals outfit

Todd Snyder

Go full preppy mode with horizontal stripes, complementing them with chino shorts and loafers or boat shoes, while vertical stripes can be more versatile depending on the type of stripe.

Stick to neutral tones in your look, such as beige linen trousers or navy chinos, to let the colour of the stripes do all the talking.

Checked short-sleeved shirt

One of the more common patterns you’re likely to see on short-sleeved shirts is the check. Whether in Prince of Wales, Madras or gingham form, checks have always been associated with casualwear, since the days when the lounge suit was considered sporting attire.

Today, it spans both smart and casual menswear, and which side of the fence it falls on is usually (but not always) determined by the boldness of the colours involved.

What to look for

With seemingly infinite colour and plaid configurations, there’s no shortage of great options. Given that the short-sleeved shirt leans on the casual side, then you can afford to seek out more colourful checks such as the Madras, or if you want to tone it down, look for more muted micro checks.

How to wear it

Men's check short sleeve shirt, shorts, sandals outfit

House of Fraser

Don’t overcrowd your checked shirt is the governing principle here. No matter how bright and bold or muted and understated, the pattern is busy so give it some space.

Pair it with neutral tone legwear such as sand, white or khaki pants and layer with a similarly neutral blouson such as a Harrington.

Textured short-sleeved shirt

The short-sleeved shirt lends itself well to textural fabrics, from waffle knit cotton to seersucker and terry cloth. Opting for textural interest rather than patterns or bold colours is a good idea if you prefer a more pared-back, minimalistic summer look and it gives your ensemble some three-dimensional depth, too.

What to look for

Some great textures that we’ve seen recently include waffle knit cotton, terry cloth, corduroy, cotton seersucker, slubby linen and glossy silk, as well as some old favourites in the shape of open weaves and other textural knitted styles.

How to wear it

Men's textured short sleeve shirt, black trousers and shoes outfit

Vince

Textural short-sleeved shirts are best worn in a tonal or monochrome look so that the various fabrics you’re wearing create a subtle contrasting canvas that doesn’t compete on colour.

Add bolder hues and you risk losing the nuances of the texture so keep the palette restricted and minimal for a sophisticated look.