I wear short sleeve shirts in summer, in a very casual way, despite what the style conscious gents consider an abomination. It’s very practical especially taking into consideration the humid and hot weather one has to endure for most of the year. I think what’s given short sleeve shirts a bad reputation is the gentlemen who wore it with a tie. I remember in high school, our deputy principal wore his short sleeve shirts with a necktie. Dare I say it, back in those days, the 80s to 90s, Afrikaner men were known to dress up short sleeve shirts. Whether it was in short khaki suits, safari suits or combined with dress pants, Afrikaner men were the purveyors of this style. I say they’re an abomination because very few men venture into this territory, many get it wrong and some just stick with the status quo, which is baggy, ill-fitting and billowy short sleeve shirts. It needn't be that way though.
I recently had a few shirts altered and tailored to get the correct fit for them. This pink and white candy stripe shirt had a long hem, baggy sides and sleeves. Since I’ve wanted to wear it in summer, the alterations were fortuitous. I shortened the hem and brought it half-way up my pants zipper, the length and width of the sleeves was also reduced.
I had the length taken up to almost mid bicep. I also had it taken in the sides and had darts inserted. Even though this shirt is a button down, I think it doesn’t have any dressy qualities. That’s why I insist on wearing it without tucking it in. I think that the hem is also so short that tucking it in would lead to too many instances of it coming out of place.
This charcoal striped shirt goes way back to about 2006. when I first bought it, it had long sleeves however because I was wearing it less I decided to give it the chop because I thought it would make great garment for summer. It’s also button down and that justifies it being tucked in. It has also undergone the same alterations as the first shirt.
The wonderful folks at CAT Apparel were gracious enough to send me this short sleeve shirt which was part of their summer range. It’s gingham, comprising blue, red and white checks. This makes it very versatile with a number of coloured chinos.
I don’t think I’m brave enough to try a short sleeve shirt with a tie nor under a jacket. It works differently when wearing a t-shirt with a jacket. However, in my case, I think that a shirt sleeve shirt can work as long as you’re wearing it in the right context. For me it was matter of stepping out to the local mall or casual Friday at work. And given the high temperatures I’m of the firm belief that a short sleeve shirt is practical. Hopefully this post inspires you to wear it the right way.
PG: Man to man, generation to generation.