Introduction

After my last article on the winter shirt upgrade, I thought it was about time that I covered what to do when the sun eventually rears its beautiful head again. We should all know that the spring/summer months provide the perfect opportunity to integrate shots of colour into your wardrobe, but sometimes shirts can get left behind when compared to other pieces such as shorts and polo shirts.

I can understand why. With the climate seemingly getting hotter and stickier by the minute during summer, it can be hard to face the prospect of pulling on that pink Oxford cloth shirt with your navy wool suit. The easiest way to remedy this is to start buying pieces with the seasons in mind.

As soon as it’s officially summer it’s time to move out of your thicker materials such as wool, corduroy and flannel. You should be looking to replace these pieces with materials that are lightweight and breathable like linen, lightweight cotton and thin merino wools. I tend to change my basic shirts (i.e. white, blue and pink) from Oxford cloth to the thinner broadcloth or – if I can find it – a cotton and linen blend.

You now know what material to buy your new summer shirts in, so what colours should you be buying?

The Green Shirt

First on the list should be a green shirt. However, similar to the winter shirt upgrade article, we should be looking for a colour that mirrors the season – so aim for a green that isn’t too offensive and loud. A lightweight pastel green is all you need and allows you to complement the relaxed vibe of summer.

Green itself is a very underestimated colour (check out the article I dedicated to it if you don’t believe me) and can be paired with pretty much everything that is already in your wardrobe. It looks great under a navy suit or paired with jeans, and it even looks good with a pair of red shorts and a few buttons undone.

Editor Note: As we are yet to appraoch spring/summer, it has been hard to find product picks in summer materials and/or colours. We have tried to provide examples that can be utilised in both current and future seasons.

  • Gap Slim Two-pocket ShirtGap Slim Two-pocket Shirt
  • Thomas Nash Light Green Essential Formal ShirtThomas Nash Light Green Essential Formal Shirt
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Custom-fit End-on-end PocketPolo Ralph Lauren Custom-fit End-on-end Pocket
  • Black Fleece Button Down Collar ShirtBlack Fleece Button Down Collar Shirt
  • Topman Green Flannel Cotton ShirtTopman Green Flannel Cotton Shirt
  • Rrl Striped Broadcloth Dress ShirtRrl Striped Broadcloth Dress Shirt
  • Allsaints Stafford JacketAllsaints Stafford Jacket
  • Asos Dark Blue Skinny JeansAsos Dark Blue Skinny Jeans
  • Topman Burgundy Cooper ShortsTopman Burgundy Cooper Shorts
The Yellow Shirt

After green look to invest in a yellow shirt. Trust me on this, it will quickly become one of your favourite shirts to wear in the summer. Again, it looks perfectly placed when mixed with pieces that are red or green but really works best when anchored with a monochromatic colour such as navy or grey.

It’s my go-to shirt when wearing a suit during the summer and transitions well into the evening when paired with some navy chinos and a lightweight grey cardigan. As long as you go for a pastel yellow so as not to overpower the rest of your look, you can’t go wrong.

  • Howick Tailored Classic Spread Fomal Plain ShirtHowick Tailored Classic Spread Fomal Plain Shirt
  • Ben Sherman Eton ShirtBen Sherman Eton Shirt
  • Polo Ralph Lauren Slim Fit Oxford ShirtPolo Ralph Lauren Slim Fit Oxford Shirt
  • Thomas Nash Light Yellow Plain Poplin Short Sleeved ShirtThomas Nash Light Yellow Plain Poplin Short Sleeved Shirt
  • Topman Lemon Smart Slim Fit ShirtTopman Lemon Smart Slim Fit Shirt
  • Double Two Long-sleeve ShirtDouble Two Long-sleeve Shirt
  • Allsaints Growl ChinoAllsaints Growl Chino
  • Ben Sherman Eton ShirtBen Sherman Eton Shirt
  • Asos CardiganAsos Cardigan
The Lilac Shirt

Finally, and not for the faint of heart, you may want to try a lilac shirt. Again, it is part of the underrated purple family and can be a very versatile shirt when paired with the right colours – try green, navy, grey and black.

If you are a fan of wearing more muted colours in the evening (such as black and grey), a lilac shirt can be a great way to liven up and breathe new life into any of your go-to night out options.

  • Fine Striped ShirtFine Striped Shirt
  • Paul Smith Oxford Slim Fit Single Cuff ShirtPaul Smith Oxford Slim Fit Single Cuff Shirt
  • Lambretta Lilac Check ShirtLambretta Lilac Check Shirt
  • Purple Hairline City ShirtPurple Hairline City Shirt
  • Eton Plain Herringbone ShirtEton Plain Herringbone Shirt
  • Scott & Taylor Lilac Semi-plain ShirtScott & Taylor Lilac Semi-plain Shirt
  • Smyth & Gibson Bengal Stripe Regular Fit Single Cuff ShirtSmyth & Gibson Bengal Stripe Regular Fit Single Cuff Shirt
  • Osborne Lilac Plain Oxford ShirtOsborne Lilac Plain Oxford Shirt
  • Ralph Lauren Purple Label Button-down Collar ShirtRalph Lauren Purple Label Button-down Collar Shirt
Summer Shirt Look Book

Obviously there will be much more vareity and example outfits incoirporating key pastel shades as the spring/summer months appraoch, but for now take a look at these superb examples below from the guys at StreetEtiquette and TheSartorialist:

Men's Summer Shirt Lookbook

Conclusion

Hopefully, after these two articles on upgrading your shirt collection, you will now have have eight new shirts to put into your rotation depending on which season it is and the mood you are in.

If there was any colour I missed off, why not let me know and tell me why you think it’s important and the ways to wear it?

Matt Allinson