How to wear the short-sleeved shirt

With summer here and the heat on the rise, it’s time you learnt how pull off one of the most reviled items in menswear.

July 18, 2016

Let’s talk about the short-sleeved shirt. Considered to be one of the most reviled items in menswear, the uninitiated are blindly advised to stay away from it if they are to maintain a stylish wardrobe.

It conjures up mental images of NASA scientists and grocery store supervisors who have taken a liking to pairing it with a red tie, and that’s really not a nice look to have. But is this aversion justified, or a mere shortcut to avoid tricky pieces and instead work with fool-proof ones, just to be safe?

Worn correctly, this type of shirt is a great style to have, especially during this season when thermometers read out numbers more comparable to highway speeds than temperature. It’s a fantastic alternative to the boring formal long-sleeved variety, and can give more ventilation than the former even with its sleeves rolled up. If you want to embrace the short-sleeved shirt, here are some tips on how to wear it right this Summer.

Mind the fit

It’s not the 70s anymore, no matter what the runway folks are telling you. Baggy is never a good look. Find a shirt that fits you right all over – shoulders, chest and torso. The better fitting shirts should ideally taper towards the mid-section. There should be a finger’s width of play along the hem of the sleeves – no more, no less. If they’re too tight, the only permissible reason is because you have big biceps.

One correct way to button up

Wear the shirt with the top two buttons unfastened. All buttons closed means you’re a swag boy. One button open makes you look stiff. Two is just right and any more than that is really just asking to be called a douche.

Longer isn’t better

The length of the shirt should stop around two inches from your waist. It shouldn’t be long enough that you can tuck it in. Don’t get me wrong, you can wear it tucked, but you should have the option not to without looking like you took one of your dad’s shirts. The sleeves should also stop mid-bicep, because summer is all about showing off your guns!

Strictly casual

This type of shirt is designed to be a casual one, so don’t go buying designs cut from awkward shiny fabrics meant for evening occasions. None of that weird, lingerie kind of fabric please!

Patterns are good

Don’t be afraid of prints and patterns. Go for stripes, checks, gingham and everything in between. There is but one specific design forbidden by the Geneva convention of menswear – the island shirt (the one worn by Hawaii vacationers that looks more like a beach towel). Also when wearing a busy print, make sure that your bottom half is plain, or you’re going to risk looking like a clown.

Never add a tie

Unless you’re going to use that same tie to hang yourself afterwards.

This article originally appeared on and is reposted here with the author's permission.