Short-sleeve shirts are supposed to be the most sophisticated top in a man's warm-weather wear arsenal. But it is definitely not one of those you can put with anything and have it work well for you. When it's done right, there is a cool, confident guy smiling from across the bar on the beach. When you don't know what you are doing... Well, let's just say it's a little obvious. The good news is it doesn't take much to know what you are doing. Here are tips on how a short-sleeve shirt should fit you and some starting point ideas for outfits.
You have to make sure your shirt fits you correctly, or no amount of brand names will save you. According to The Effortless Gent, the fit of your short-sleeve shirt should be slim but not too tight. You can check this by sitting down while trying on the shirt and seeing if the buttons start to pull apart or if the shirt is still as comfortable as it was when you were standing.
The shoulder seam should line the tops of your shoulders and end as close to your shoulder bone as possible, and the sleeve should be comfortable but not so loose as to be able to put a hand in. The length should fall past the waistband of your pants but no further than mid-fly. You want to be able to wear it tucked or untucked, so it has to hit you right.
One of the easiest places to try out a short-sleeve shirt is in a more casual setting. If it is warm out, going to the beach is a nice way to enjoy the sun while also connecting with people. There are several nautical type combinations you can create with a short-sleeve shirt. A navy short-sleeve with white or khaki men's shorts is a very good look. You can even work with a simple pattern, like stripes, if you want to really go for it.
If you are looking for something that makes you look like you are walking the coast of Italy, a white short-sleeve shirt looks very refined when matched with khaki shorts or men's chinos. You could also switch out white for a light blue to change things up. Add some sunglasses, and you are definitely cool.
Another great match for a short-sleeve shirt is men's jeans. Jean shorts are probably not the way to go unless you know what you are doing, but regular jeans get just the right lift from a short sleeve to elevate you to the level of a gentleman in a world of t-shirt-wearing dudes. Darker or black jeans are your best bet here, and a belt can be a nice addition. As for your shirt color, neutrals always look great, but the combination also works quite well if you want to wear a shirt that branches into colors beyond your neutrals.
When you've tried the short-sleeve shirt in your casual setting, it's time to move it to the office so you can avoid the heat of a long-sleeve while still presenting a professional image. Tuck this shirt into your men's dress pants and show off a nice dark men's belt if you have one. A strong watch is great for this look because the short sleeves expose your arm, plus it gives off the impression of a competent person with an important schedule. Neutral colors work best for keeping things formal, and darker tends to be more formal than lighter, so keep that in mind.
Also, you can probably leave the top button unbuttoned; you aren't going to the opera.
A Hawaiian shirt can look good as long as they fit you well, and you aren't just throwing it on because you have nothing else to wear. Make sure it fits you well, and the pattern isn't too busy. Look for designs with thin lines or designs that have their repeating pattern spaced well. Hawaiian short-sleeve shirts with both dark and white bases generally look good with light khaki shorts. A nice straw hat can add to this look, as well as give you a little protection from the sun.
Stay away from patterned shorts and bright swim trunks on this one. If there's too much going on, it can overwhelm the eye and make it hard to look at you. Keep it classy.
Short-sleeve shirts should be in every man's wardrobe, but only the ones that make you feel confident and look suave. When you choose your shirts with that in mind, you'll definitely be dressed for success.