Saturday, December 5, 2020

Short Sleeve Shirt

Short Sleeve Shirt  

Not so long ago, there were few things more vociferously loathed in menswear than the unassuming short sleeve button up. This men’s separate has long been the butt of many a sartorial joke.

Though this garment might for some still bring to mind a certain global fast food chain’s uniform or the questionable wardrobe choices of provincial clubbers circa the early aughts, it’s recently been given a whole new lease of life thanks to reinterpretations from designers and high-street retailers alike.

In recent years, and in line with menswear’s general shift toward all things casual, tropical prints, geometric patterns, flowing silk and Cuban collars have made arm-bearing shirts the natural choice for warmer weather. Because they’re not just stylish, but practical too. As the heavy heat of summer hits, a shorter sleeve keeps you adequately aerated – meaning no more unsightly sweat patches ruining your carefully considered look. That’s a win-win.

A Short (Sleeved) History

A bit of an anomaly when compared to other contemporary wardrobe staples, short sleeve shirts didn’t really gain any traction in the menswear market until the early 20th century, when outfitters started to suggest them to customers as stylish kit for a spot of tennis.

Fast-forward to the fifties and sixties, and the button up has made the transition from athletic wear to something much more smart casual – thanks in no small part to trendsetters of the time, including Elvis Presley, Billy Fury, Marlon Brando and James Dean, sporting the style.

What happened in the years that followed can pretty much be summed up as heinous style crimes we’ve only recently managed to forget. Gradually pushed further and further out of its elegant mid-century context, the short-sleeved shirt fell from favour dramatically, becoming the go-to piece for unimaginative corporate types on casual Fridays.

Now though, menswear’s powers that be have succeeded in dusting off the short sleeve shirt, striving to erase our memories of terrible cuts and graph paper checks in a bid to encourage us to consider this wardrobe classic anew.


When it comes to short-sleeved shirts, there are two main areas you need to focus on: the sleeves and shoulders. The shirt should fit well across your shoulders without being too tight around your chest or through the sides. If you start to see any pulling or creasing in material – chest buttons and the upper back are two hot spots – think about sizing up or trying a different cut.

As for the sleeves, they should finish around mid-bicep and allow a single finger between the fabric and your arm, unless you’re going for a deliberately baggy Cuban style (in which case, caution is advised).

How To Wear

The key to wearing a short sleeve shirt well is keeping the term ‘smart casual’ front and centre. That means understanding that this wardrobe essential doesn’t sit well with other firmly casual pieces like distressed jeans or joggers (you might just get away with side-stripe trousers depending on the style of shirt).

For a fail-safe ensemble, team with chinos or well-cut trousers (or tailored shorts in warmer climes) and summer-ready footwear like suede espadrilles, sandals or loafers.

No comments:

Post a Comment