Wear This, Not That: Short-Sleeved Dress Shirts

Short-sleeve dress shirts are in again. Again? Were they ever in to begin with?

Yes, there was a time – the 1960s and ‘70s to be specific – when the short-sleeved dress shirt was all the rage for summer office wear. After a while, though, they became an unstylish joke. Think Dwight Schrute from The Office.

Don’t be a Dwight. The 2013 look for short-sleeved button-down shirts is sleek and stylish. Do it right and you’ll look like a million bucks. Do it wrong … well, don’t do it wrong. Here are five tips to help you.

Wear a fitted shirt, not a baggy shirt


The number-one rule for rocking a short-sleeved dress shirt is to make sure it fits you well. Many stores offer a slim fit or modern fit – that’s what you want. The sleeves should fall to the middle of your bicep, not come down to your elbow. If you’re wearing the shirt untucked, the hemline should fall to the middle of your groin.

Wear with tailored jeans or shorts, not cargo shorts or pleated dress pants

If you go to the trouble of fitting your shirt properly, don’t ruin the look with baggy bottoms. You want a slim, clean line from top to toe.

Wear a solid or classic preppy pattern, not Hawaiian prints


It should be said that a short-sleeved dress shirt is not the same as a Hawaiian shirt. Hawaiians are too baggy and the prints too garish. Stick to solid colors in classic fabrics (nothing with too much shine), a cool pinstripe or a preppy check.

Wear without a tie, not with a tie


This summer, you’ll see the occasional  dude sporting a tie with a short-sleeved dress shirt and making it look good. Some guys can pull it off – most guys cannot. It’s too easy to end up looking like an accountant from the 1960s. Stay safe: skip the tie.

Bonus tip


For a more casual option, wear your shirt unbuttoned with a t-shirt underneath. The same rules apply though – the shirt and t-shirt should be fitted. If your shirt has a pattern, stick with a solid for your t-shirt. If you shirt is a solid color, a subtle stripe in your t-shirt adds nice contrast. Avoid graphic tees! Rolled sleeves look particularly good when wearing a shirt/t-shirt combo.

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