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8 best men’s summer shirts to rock on any occasion, from the beach to a family BBQ

Refresh your wardrobe with one of these timeless, budget-friendly, statement styles

Richard Jones
Wednesday 15 June 2022 10:28 BST
<p>Certain types of fabric can be the difference between keeping you cool and walking aroung with sweat patches</p>

Certain types of fabric can be the difference between keeping you cool and walking aroung with sweat patches

From knitted mid-century polos to patterned shirts so intricately decorated you’ll want to hang them on your wall, the range of quality summer shirt options out there is a veritable minefield, albeit one that presents itself with many an opportunity to stay stylish through the impending heat.

First considerations must go towards occasion, and the fit is important here – slimmer fits and longer sleeves are naturally smarter than the more casual boxy fits that have been a catwalk staple in recent seasons.

Print is another defining characteristic of this modern summer shirting era, but it needs to be styled with care and balanced out by keeping the shirt a focal point, matched with dark, neutral-colour bottoms. Smaller prints also tend to ring more formal, which is something to bear in mind if you’re looking to pair your patterned shirt with a suit – an A-list style move if ever there was one.

Finally, there’s fabric, which is often the difference between keeping calm and cool and, well, sweat patches. Linen has long been the summer fabric champion, but it is being caught up by more recent inventions, tencel and viscose.

So, ready to take on the minefield? Start here with our tried-and-tested guide to the best shirts for summer.

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How we tested

Versatility, quality and price were just some of the things we looked at when judging where these summer shirts sat on this list. How comfortable they are to wear in warmer weather was, of course, essential.

We also tried to cover all bases when it came to both style and occasion, checking off the main summer shirt styles, while also building a rotation that would see you through the majority of the social engagements summer holds.

The best summer shirts for men for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Scotch & Soda short sleeved shirt: £125, Scotch-soda.com
  • Best for evenings – Mango striped shirt: £49.99, Mango.com
  • Best patterned shirt – Sirplus japanese minka cuban shirt: £125, Sirplus.co.uk
  • Best knit – King & Tuckfield long sleeve knitted shirt: £265, Kingandtuckfield.com
  • Best for post-pool lounging – Weekday austin terry shirt: £35, Weekday.com
  • Best on the high street – M&S geometric print shirt: £35, Marksandspencer.com
  • Best for a slimmer fit – Reiss caspa jersey cuban collar shirt: £68, Reiss.com
  • Best for skatewear style – Dickies kelso short sleeve shirt: £55, Dickieslife.com

Scotch & Soda short sleeved shirt

Scotch & Soda short sleeved shirt.png

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

Amsterdam-based Scotch & Soda is known for its playful take on classic, wearable fashion. This organic cotton shirt from the brand is a great example of this with a subtly eye-catching pattern that carries universal appeal paired with a fit and feel that’s precisely what you would want from a summer shirt — flattering yet roomy and comfy to avoid the risk of overheating.

The flashes of neon green and pink in the inner stitching are a tad jarring but are Scotch & Soda trademarks and a customary part of the brand’s off-kilter style. They’re also unseen when wearing, so don’t let them put you off what is a stylish, high-quality summer shirt.

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Mango striped shirt

Mango striped shirt.png

Best: For evenings

Rating: 10/10

The menswear side of Spanish high street giant Mango often gets left in the shade of its womenswear offering, but for those in the know, it’s a real treasure trove and a dab hand when it comes to linen. This is a perfect summer fabric, thanks to its extremely breathable and moisture-absorbing properties.

This shirt is just as cool on a hot summer’s day as its short-sleeved competitors on the list, and the versatility of longer sleeves will stand you well when the sun goes down. The hazy colour palette is also prime summer holiday vibes – we’re getting sangrias on the beach with this one.

  1. £49 from Mango.com
Prices may vary
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Sirplus japanese minka cuban shirt

Sirplus Japanese style print shirt.png

Best: Patterned shirt

Rating: 9.5/10

The patterned shirt has become a menswear staple in recent years and a must-have in your summer wardrobe. As such, there are plenty of fantastic options out there, but arguably some of the best are coming off the factory floor at London menswear spot Sirplus.

The intricate Japanese-inspired pattern on this summer shirt is hypnotic, while the feel of the viscose material is smooth and luxurious. The fit is noticeably roomy on the sides, so those looking for a neater, sharper silhouette may need to tuck, but there’s a versatility here that’ll mean it’ll look just as good paired with an all-black suit as it would with some thigh-skimming shorts.

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King & Tuckfield long sleeve knitted shirt

King & Tuckfield knitted shirt.png

Best: Knit

Rating: 9/10

Made by King & Tuckfield, another brilliant independent British menswear brand, this summer shirt is a mid-century beauty. Knitted from moisture-wicking merino wool, it is remarkably light and airy, while the look is part Talented Mr Ripley, part Edwardian cricketer.

The long sleeves might distract some, but they look great when pushed up, and the fit and feel tread the line between relaxed and dapper exceedingly well. The price tag might raise eyebrows, but you’re paying for timeless style here and the sort of shirt that’ll never not look sophisticated and stylish.

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Weekday Austin terry shirt

Weekday Austen terry shirt.png

Best: For post-pool lounging

Rating: 9/10

Made from the absorbent cotton used in towels and robes, a terry cloth shirt is a stylish, practical solution to a common summer problem and offers poolside salvation when needed most.

This shirt from Weekday allows you to dip your toes in the style without breaking the bank. It is offered in an attractive off-white that evokes images of sandy beaches, and the oversized fit is nicely proportioned, especially if you have big shoulders. This is a summer shirt primed and ready to help you dry off after a cooling dip, and it still slots in nicely to an evening look.

  1. £35 from Weekday.com
Prices may vary
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M&S geometric print shirt

M&S geometric print shirt.png

Best: On the high street

Rating: 9/10

The bastion of the great British high street that is Marks & Spencer is always a failsafe source of summer wear, and this season’s summer shirt roster is notably stylish and easy to wear.

The knitted polo selection is eye-catching, but you can’t go wrong with this geometric patterned effort for a stand-out summer shirt that will cover several social occasions. It is made from breezy Tencel in a flattering slim fit that is especially well-cut around the sleeves, showing off just the right amount of bicep without threatening to cut off circulation.

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Reiss caspa jersey cuban collar shirt

Reiss Caspa jersey cuban collar shirt.png

Best: For a slimmer fit

Rating: 9/10

The summer shirt style certainly seems to be boxy and casual this season, leaving those looking for a slimmer, sharper fit at a bit of a loss. Luckily, there’s Reiss to the rescue, and this tidy Cuban collar shirt, crafted from a slightly stretchy mercerised jersey.

While rather slim and nicely tapered, the fit isn’t constricting, even if the sleeves might sit a little too high for some, and the extensive choice of colours makes this a real summer outfit foundation – the sort of piece that can be worn easily again and again.

  1. £68 from Reiss.com
Prices may vary
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Dickies kelso short sleeve shirt

Dickies Kelso short sleeve shirt.png

Best: For skatewear style

Rating: 8/10

Like fellow workwear-meets-skatewear brands Carhartt, WIP and Stan Ray, Dickies is known for making comfortable and hard-wearing pieces, and this short-sleeve shirt from the American brand is no exception.

Made from extremely crisp cotton that is noticeably more substantial than other patterned shirts on this list, the fit is boxy and casual. And the subtle use of the Dickies name within the sun pattern is a nice touch, even if the lime green colourway might not be to everyone’s taste.

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The verdict: Men’s summer shirts

While we rate every one of these summer shirts highly, what stood out about the Scotch & Soda and Mango shirts was their versatility. Interesting enough to catch the eye at a festival, yet safe enough to wear to a family barbeque, they’re both well-made, comfortable shirts that carry a wide appeal at sensible prices.

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