One of the most commonly repeated style axioms is to never wear a short sleeve button up shirt. You'll look like a middle-aged man. You'll look like a big box store employee. You'll look like the sartorially-challenged guy from your company's IT department.
Well that style rule isn't completely wrong. You definitely should avoid short sleeve shirts that look and fit like the photo above.
But if you're applying that rule across the entire spectrum of “shirts that have buttons on the front that also have short sleeves,” you're not only limiting your summer shirting options to t-shirts and polos – you're missing out on a super easy way to add some color and visual texture to your hot weather outfits. Which is especially important since as guys our summer Getups almost always comprise of: shirt, shorts, watch, footwear. If you're one of the million guys who invariably leaves the comment, “Not in the south,” on any mid-year Getup that I post that has either long pants, long sleeves, or a light jacket, then you know exactly the frustrating limitation I'm speaking of.
Over the last few years, men have been given a new trove of almost limitless options. Not only have clothing brands rethought the fit on their short sleeve shirts, the “patterned” short sleeve shirt has become a summer essential. These patterns aren't limited simple to dots, stripes, and plaids (though these are great too) modern takes on florals have become the go-to stylish option spanning streetwear to conservative prep.
However, it can be hard to determine which will make you the best dressed guy in a casual room or make you look like:
How to Wear A Patterned Short Sleeve Shirt
In general, you'll want to remember three things:
- The shirt should be fitted – avoid the baggy bowling shirt look
- If the shirt has a flat hem it's almost certainly not a younger man's shirt
- The pattern should balance intricacy, size, and color vibrance. A more intricate design should be of a smaller pattern. A larger pattern should be more sparse, and so on. If you're nervous, start with a pattern that is muted, such as this subtle blue-on-blue option from CottonOn.