Summer is here –
and with it events that require sharp outfits…
that won't have you melting.
Outdoor wedding? Company picnic?
Dinner al fresco with a lovely lady?
Don't go one step closer to that t-shirt.
You have BETTER options, gents.
Read on and learn.
With summer just around the corner, we've put together a list of stylish summer shirt options to keep you looking and feeling cool from commencement till Labor Day. Paired with a breathable linen suit or fitted khakis, these shirts will keep your style game intact without causing heatstroke.
These 5 classics will keep you looking cool (no matter how hot it is):
1. Plain White Dress Shirt
You may already have a white dress shirt. It's a staple of menswear: if a man only has one formal item in his wardrobe, it's probably this. They're versatile and classic all year, but especially good for summer: white keeps you cool and pairs well with summer suit and trouser colors.
It's easy to dress up or down as well.
Light blue, light grey, and khaki all pair beautifully with a white shirt. Add a fresh-colored tie, a belt and some loafers and you're in business.
2. Solid Pastel Color Shirts
Pale blue is probably the second most common men's shirt color – once again, you may already have one. It's a little more casual than white but still quite acceptable wherever business attire is expected. Blue is a psychologically impactful color – signaling friendliness and trust – and every bit as easy to pair with summer clothes.
Pink is the unsung hero of men's wardrobes. As a pastel, it looks good with most skin tones and complexions. It also warms up the color scheme of an outfit and helps you stand out in a sea of blue, black, and grey.
Pink dress shirts – and other pastel dress shirts – can dress up jeans, dress down suits, and harmonize perfectly with business-casual looks. Experiment and don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone.
3. Subtle Patterned Shirts
For formal events such as weddings, classy patterns like pinstripes and herringbone keep your outfit sharp while lending a slightly more festive summer feel – breaking up the solid blocks of color makes it clear you're not dressed for the office.
Slightly more casual options – stripes, ginghams, plaids – are perfect summer shirt styles for alfresco social or business events. Stick to paler colors to keep it seasonal. Leave the tie off and keep the top two buttons undone.
Shirts with bolder patterns look great dressed down even further – e.g. with jeans or a nice pair of khaki shorts. They basically carry your look, so there's no need to overdo anything else.
4. Bold Patterned Shirts
Bolder patterns are still more casual than the options above. They turn a dress shirt from serious and businesslike to fun and expressive. For this reason, they're NOT ideal for formal office wear – but they are a good option for more relaxed office environments. They're also excellent for summer nights or days out – think parties and barbecues.
Paisley, florals, and other large prints count as bolder patterns. So do some ginghams and stripes – bigger stripes and checks, brighter colors, and more varied colors all make the pattern more casual. Again, stick with pale pastels for summer shirt styles – save dark green paisley for Christmas.
5. More Casual Summer Shirt Styles
Any or all of these details will make your shirt look more casual but still sharp. If you're getting a shirt made to measure – here's where you really get to have some fun. Ever bought a shirt with any of these bells and whistles?
-Bottom hem cut straight across (so you can wear it untucked!)
-A breast pocket
-Contrasting fabric for placket and cuffs
-Contrasting buttons or button thread (bolder colors of either are more casual)
If you're looking to up your style game when it comes to summer casual, give some of the above options a try.
You can also make a dress shirt more casual by dressing it down. Jeans and sneakers go perfectly well with a dress shirt – as long as the dress shirt is reasonably casual and the jeans and sneakers are reasonably smart. A smart pair of jeans is dark, well-fitted, and not ripped or faded (either by accident or by design.) The sneaks don't have to be expensive – just clean and not too worn.
Smarter shorts (like khaki or chino shorts) also go fine with a dress shirt. Stick to short-sleeved shirts when you're wearing shorts – otherwise you'll look unbalanced.
What to read next? See our ranking of best men's summer fragrances.