Short Sleeve Shirts Guide

Written by Dan | 15/05/2023


Ultimate Guide

Seasonal wardrobe essentials, short sleeve shirts are a must-have for anyone hoping to survive the heat and humidity of a Great British ‘summer’. The short sleeves and versatility in being able to button down your shirt make this type of top a fantastic option. There are several types of short sleeved shirts to choose from, so we’re going to run down several different types to help you style yourself this season!

Plain shirts

The most popular type of short sleeve shirt – plain colour schemes go with almost anything so long as the colours don’t clash. They’re great for any style as their plain colour makes them a ‘blank slate’ piece of apparel, allowing you to draw more attention to other aspects of your outfit, be it a hat, accessories, or some new Nike airs. A plain short-sleeved shirt in navy blue for instance will match equally well with jeans or smart trousers. Below are some great options, all of which can fit any occasion.

A white short sleeve shirt by Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren Oxford Slim Short Sleeve Shirt



If you’re more courageous in your clothing choices then printed shirts are sure to depict your colourful character whilst remaining practical and trendy. Jazzy, lively, vibrant or eye-catching; whatever your description, these printed shirts are the sort to have you standing out from the crowd. Great options for evening BBQs that are later taken into town, these shirts can be paired with anything from shorts and sandals to smart black chinos and shoes for a more formal feel.

Versace Jeans Couture Short Sleeve Shirt

Versace Jeans Couture Short Sleeve Shirt



A halfway house between plain and printed styles; tartan, checked and gingham shirts are a great choice for any and everyone. Whether you’re reserved in your fashion sense or a man of many colours, tartan/checked/gingham short sleeve shirts never look out of place in the summer and are very casual. Being a mid-way option, these types of shirts can be worn on a great variety of occasions, from daytime barbecues and picnics in the park to times when a collar is needed for going out for dinner and nights out on the town.

Barbour Gordon Short Sleeve Shirt

Barbour Gordon Short Sleeve Shirt

The next thing to consider is the length of the shirt’s sleeves. This all depends on your arm size (and shape) and how much sun you want them to be exposed to! If you are self-conscious about your arms, then it might be worth opting for a shirt with long sleeves in order to cover up. On the other hand, if you’re proud of your gains or just want to keep cool, then shorter sleeves that fit close and end mid-bicep are the way to go.

The appropriateness of the sleeve length also depends on the formality of the event. For example, a casual beach party would be much more relaxed than a summer wedding, so you can afford to be more daring with your sleeve length choice in the former. In general, though, it’s always better to err on the side of caution – you can always pull up your sleeves if it gets too hot, but you can’t unroll them if they’re too short!

A white shirt by Fred Perry

Fred Perry Oxford Short Sleeve Shirt


Choose the right material

When the temperatures start to soar, you’re going to want a shirt that’s going to keep you cool and comfortable. The most important factor in achieving this is the material of the shirt.

The two main types of fabric used in shirts are natural fibres and synthetics. Natural fibres such as cotton and linen are breathable and will help to wick away any sweat, keeping you feeling fresh even in the hottest weather. Synthetic fabrics such as polyester and nylon are also good at wicking away moisture, but they don’t tend to be quite as breathable as natural fibres.

The other thing to consider is the weight of the fabric. A shirt made from a light, thin fabric is going to be much cooler than one made from a heavier fabric. If you’re not sure what weight of fabric you need, have a look at the ‘gsm’ (grams per square metre) rating – the lower the gsm, the lighter the fabric.

Armani Exchange Short Sleeve Logo Shirt

Armani Exchange Short Sleeve Logo Shirt


Pick the right pattern

The final thing to consider is the pattern of the shirt. As a general rule, shirts with smaller patterns are going to be more formal than those with larger prints. This is because small patterns tend to be more subdued and don’t stand out as much.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, and it’s ultimately up to you what print you choose. If you’re in doubt, though, err on the side of caution and go for a shirt with a small pattern.

PS By Paul Smith Floral Short Sleeved Shirt

PS By Paul Smith Floral Short Sleeved Shirt


Tuck in or wear untucked?

Short sleeve shirts look great when worn untucked. If you’re going to tuck your shirt in, make sure you choose the proper shirt length – you don’t want it hanging down past your waist!

Long sleeve shirts can be worn both tucked in and untucked. If you decide to tuck your shirt in, make sure the sleeves are the right length – you don’t want them to be so long that they bunch up at your wrists.

Slim fit, tailored or regular cut shirt?

The fit of the shirt is also important. A slim fit shirt is going to be more fitted to your body, whereas a regular fit shirt will be looser. A tailored shirt is somewhere in between – it will still follow the contours of your body, but not as closely as a slim fit shirt.

In summary

Above is a brief rundown of the main things to consider when wearing short-sleeved shirts. As the weather warms, the perfect short sleeve shirt should be light, breathable and comfortable. It should also be the right length – not too short and not too long. And finally, it should be in a pattern that you like! Whether you choose a small or large pattern, tartan, checked or gingham shirt, remember to enjoy the summer sun in style.


Discover the full range of short-sleeved shirts at Mainline Menswear

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