After what felt like a much longer, colder and darker winter than normal, the mercury level has finally started to creep skyward once again.
With that in mind, now would be a good time to take stock of your wardrobe, casting aside those heavy cold-weather garments in favour of something lighter, breezier and more colourful.
Arming yourself with a good summer shirt or two is the natural place to start. We’re talking short sleeves, lightweight fabrics, pastel shades and eye-catching prints aplenty.
The best summer shirts are loose-fitting without straying into baggy territory. They’re also made from breathable fabrics, like linen, poplin and Tencel, and can be the perfect vehicle through which to inject a splash of personality into an otherwise understated outfit.
To help you find yours, we took a closer look at some of the best men’s summer shirts on the market this season, judging them on fit, quality and style. From high-end to cheap and cheerful, these were the best options we found.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
NN07 miyagi camp-collar shirt
Few brands know their way around a shirt like Copenhagen’s NN07. The label is known for its understated, contemporary and distinctly Scandi take on many of menswear’s best-loved silhouettes, and while this particular shirt is by no means minimalist, it does have the brand’s trademark quality and attention to detail in spades. We were immediately drawn to the watercolour print, which lends itself well to light colours. But what really sold us was the lyocell and linen blend fabric, which is about as light and breathable as it gets.
Buy now £120.00, Mrporter.com
Uniqlo auspicious symbol short-sleeve shirt
Not only is this printed camp-collar shirt from Uniqlo phenomenally good value, it’s also made from rayon fabric, making it super lightweight and breathable for the warm weather. The all-over print is eye-catching without being headache inducing – perfect for those who want to dip their toe into patterns without going full-blown grandma’s curtains.
Buy now £24.90, Uniqlo.com
Asket linen shirt
Swedish direct-to-consumer label Asket doesn’t mess about. It makes only the true essentials and invests the rest of its resources in making them as good as they can possibly be. We’re talking true premium quality at legitimately competitive prices.
This striped linen shirt is a summer classic, and while it isn’t the cheapest option here, the quality is unmatched for the price. It’s made in Portugal from French linen and is available in several length options to ensure the perfect fit.
Buy now £90.00, Asket.com
Norse Projects carsten vacation shirt
Struggling to alight on the right striped short-sleeve shirt to carry you through the summer months? No problem. This patchwork number from Danish purveyor of understated luxury Norse Projects offers the perfect solution. It’s a quirky twist on a summer classic and even features an open collar design for an added dose of poolside breeziness.
Buy now £130.00, Endclothing.com
Onia Ben zip-up shirt
NYC’s Onia is America’s first name in premium resortwear. This is clobber purpose built for tackling beaches and pools in style and this zip-up shirt is a prime example. Cut from super-soft linen that’s airy and breathable, it offers a contemporary twist on a traditional Oxford button-down or polo by substituting the buttons for a quarter-length zipper. It’s something a little out of the ordinary, but not too head-turning.
Buy now £117.03, Onia.com
Dion Agius tasi SS shirt
Designed by Tasmanian surfer Dion Agius, this classic-collar short-sleeve shirt features an all-over print by LA-based artist and skateboarder Nathan Kostechko. It’s lightweight and airy for the summer months, and is cut from organic cotton with a touch of stretch for added comfort.
Buy now £64.46, Globebrand.com
T.M.Lewin royal Oxford slim-fit shirt
Maybe bright colours and flamboyant prints aren’t really your thing. Perhaps you’re more the type of guy who prefers his shirts simple, classic and easy on the wallet. If that’s the case, you could do a lot worse than this traditional Oxford shirt from British shirting mainstay T.M.Lewin. There are no all-over Hawaiian prints here, but there is still a bit of pattern courtesy of that distinctly summery blue and white stripe. Plus, at £19 you can probably afford to stock up.
Buy now £19.00, Tmlewin.co.uk
Umbro factory records home football shirt
Paying homage to the Madchester scene of the Eighties and Nineties, Umbro has teamed up with Factory Records to bring us this dose of throwback Mancunian goodness. Team it up with a bucket hat and a pint of lager for best results.
Buy now £50.00, Umbro.co.uk
Hamilton and Hare pique travel shirt
Combining the fabric of a pique polo with the silhouette of a formal button-up shirt, this laid-back hybrid from Hamilton and Hare is comfortable and cool in equal measures. Designed in London and assembled in Portugal, it’s a convenient and stylish solution to some of the most common problems caused by wearing a traditional long-sleeve shirt in the summer months. No more sweat patches, no more overheating in the office and plenty of style points to boot.
Buy now £115.00, Hamiltonandhare.com
Universal Works Fuji road short-sleeve shirt
Universal Works is always a safe bet when it comes to slouchy, semi-tailored garb that’s comfortable and looks the part, and this mountain-print camp-collar shirt is no exception.
The road shirt is a summer stable for the Nottingham-based brand and is cut in a boxy fit which is great for keeping the air circulating on hot summer days. It’s available in all sorts of colours and prints, from plain pastels to wild all-over patterns, but it was this Japanese-inspired version that caught our attention. Wear it with simple, toned-down pieces and allow it to take centre stage.
Buy now £155.00, Thehipstore.co.uk
Lyle & Scott short-sleeve oxford shirt
Pastel tones are a great way to add a splash of colour to your summer wardrobe without straying into “jazzy” territory. This peach-coloured shirt from Scottish menswear mainstay Lyle & Scott isn’t too “out there” as far as summer short-sleeves go, but it’s still lively enough to bring a focal point and a touch of personality to BBQ and beer-garden outfits.
Buy now £50.00, Lyleandscott.com
The verdict: Men’s summer shirts
There’s no substitute for a patterned camp-collar shirt when it comes to summer style. We love the all-over painted design on NN07’s miyagi shirt and think the combination of looks and summer-friendly fabric goes a long way towards justifying the admittedly lofty price tag.
If you’re working on a smaller budget, look no further than Uniqlo’s auspicious symbol short-sleeve shirt for a great-looking printed option at a much more palatable price point.
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