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Summer Essentials The Short Sleeved Shirt

Summer Essentials: the short-sleeved shirt


I recently came to an appreciation of the short-sleeved shirt, as part of a fashion re-awakening I was experiencing, and in large part, continue to experience. 


The somewhat younger, more naive, cousin to the mens fashion staple, the long-sleeved shirt, the short-sleeved shirt has received an ominous reputation of late and is outrightly loathed by some fashion purists. This is most probably due to it being incorporated into many corporate workwear strategies, but also due to its popularity as a go-to piece when men were first hit with the concept of casual Fridays.


Check out a previous post of mine that looked at joggers, where I paired them with a short-sleeved shirt.


Be that as it may, forewarned is forearmed I always say, and with a little bit of common sense and some basic guidance, you can easily rock a short-sleeved shirt as part of your essential summer wardrobe.


Summer is hot on our heels this side of the globe, so lets consider some of that guidance, right here, right now!



Let’s start at the beginning and get one thing straight: short-sleeved shirts are casual, and smart-casual at their smartest – meaning you’ll probably only get the appriopriate weather to wear them during late spring and into summer.


With this in mind, cotton and linen should be your first ports of call when considering fabric options. Cotton styles are more structured, making them ideal for smart-casual looks. Linen, however, is relaxed and unbeatably breathable – perfect for staying cool while you cruise along Camps Bay during your December break.


Short sleeved shirts fabrics and styles


Polyester, poly-cotton blends and any other synthetic fibres are best avoided if possible. You’ll find plenty of poly-cotton shirts available but despite their reasonable price tags, these won’t drape well and will not offer a good degree of breathability.



Equally important as sound fit, is selecting the right style of short-sleeved shirt. Understated neutral designs and subtle prints work well for teaming with classic looks made up of, for example, chinos, boat shoes or sandals and a lightweight blazer.


Simply structure in short sleeved shirts


All is not lost for louder prints and bolder block-colour styles, however, these work best as the focal point of an otherwise pared-back look.


Bold colours and patterns in short sleeved shirts

Bold patterns in short sleeved shirts


Rolled sleeves, with or without a button fastening, are a classic and look best on neutral or plain styles where their inclusion lends an otherwise fairly plain shirt a pop of interest.

Chest pockets are worth looking out for, too, but it’s probably best to avoid contrast pockets if you want keep your aesthetic timeless and sophisticated. 


How to wear it

The key to wearing a short-sleeved shirt well is keeping the term ‘smart-casual’ front and centre. That means understanding that it simply doesn’t sit well with other firmly casual pieces like distressed jeans. Not that it’s an out and out no-no, but it’s definitely tricky to get right. Check out this post of me jumping around a forest with a bag on my head, in a short-sleeved shirt, such is the versatility of the short-sleeved shirt!


Smart casual look for short sleeved shirts


For a fail-safe ensemble, team with chinos or tailored shorts; pair with great summer footwear like boat shoes, sandals, loafers or minimal trainers. Button to the top if you want to look especially sharp, or leave one or two undone for a more relaxed effect.


On trend for short sleeved shirts

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 18.57.32


Short-sleeved shirts hold the potential to take your spring/summer fashion look to a new level, whether it be neutral, classic colours or bold prints. The short-sleeved shirt presents a great way to express your unique and every changing mood to a world often lacking in originality and inspiration. Go be the change that you want to see!


Do you already own short-sleeved shirts, do you incorporate them into you warmer months fashion wardrobe? Share your thoughts below and your style advise on Instagram and Twitter, I would love to hear from you!


Based on the article “In defence of the short-sleeved shirt” which first appeared on, including imagery.



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My name is Ryan and I am a work in progress.

(hello Ryan)

I blog about aspects of life that interest and excite me, those issues that make me think and reflect. These musings I look forward to sharing with you on the blog, as they happen.

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