What to Wear With Men’s Short Sleeve Button up Shirts

What to Wear With Men’s Short Sleeve Button up Shirts

What to wear with this classic summer staple
short sleeve button up shirts men

By Gabi Meyers | Last Updated: Aug 4 2023 | 6 min read

Rising temps mean rising sleeves, amirite?

In the dog days of summer, it’s time to stop rolling those OCBD’s up over your elbows and get those guns out.

It’s time…for short sleeve button up shirts.

Before we get started, let me be clear: this a pretty broad term that can encompass everything from a camp collar shirt in a (sleazy-sexy) silky material, to a more traditional button-up in a sturdier material like oxford cotton.

And with all that variation, it’s no surprise the internet disagrees over what we even call this type of shirt!

I’ve seen “button up” and “button down” in equal measure.

Some sites even default to “casual short sleeve shirt” which, personally, I find even more confusing! Isn’t that just a t-shirt??

The point is, you need one.

Wait, no. The point is you need a few for summer, and I’ve got ideas on how to wear them in a stylish way.

But first? Let’s break it down.

How a men’s short sleeve button up shirt should fit

As with (most?) everything in your closet, you want to aim for a streamlined fit for your short sleeve button up shirts.

Tops should skim your torso, not billow out away from it.

But! Your shirt also shouldn’t be so tight it feels like the buttons could fly off when you bend over. The secret to looking like you’re wearing a cool short sleeve button up shirt and not say.. a Dwight Shrute short sleeve button up?

This is key.

Also important? The sleeves.

This is a time to put your hard work at the gym on display without being obnoxious about it, guys!

Forget boring your friends and family with tales of brutal WOD’s…it’s so much more powerful to show than to tell.

As the folks at Well Built Style put it, “A good fit for a short sleeve button up shirt means having the sleeves hit you right around the mid bicep area (just like a well fitting t-shirt or polo).”

A note: this tweak may require a visit to the tailor.

Pinching a little material on the sleeves will take your short sleeve button down from just okay to great.

If you’re worried that this item is too casual to take to a tailor, don’t be. I promise the improved fit and how you feel in it will be worth the extra investment!

Check out outfit ideas of what to wear with a short sleeve button down shirt:

ryan gosling wearing casual short sleeve shirt at airport
via Pinterest

Wear a short-sleeve button up shirt with chinos

SG Says: If you’re a regular reader you might already own a men’s short sleeve button up shirt, a favorite of stylish guys like SG Madness winner Ryan Gosling.

I love love LOVE how he wears his white short sleeve button up tucked in with casually cool chinos and beat-up (but still stylish) brown boots.

Shop the outfit

button up short sleeve shirts for men
Instagram: @motiankari

Wear a short-sleeve button up shirt with light wash jeans and loafers

SG Says: Your short sleeve button up shirt doesn’t have to feel buttoned up.

I love the way men’s style blogger Moti Ankari wears his bright-colored camp collar shirt, above. The light wash jeans are a strong summer move (see here), as are the driving shoes he’s wearing.

Into the look, but feel like it’s maybe a little much for you?

You could keep the off-duty vibes and tone down the colors with a shirt and shoes in more subdued colors, or keep the contrast to black and white.

Shop the outfit

short sleeve button up shirt with a suit
via Bonobos Globetrotters blog

Wear a short-sleeve button up shirt with a suit

SG Says: Yes, you can wear a short sleeve shirt under a suit without giving off “I.T. guy in a ’90s movie” vibes!

Here at SG HQ, we love Bonobos’ Riviera short sleeve shirt style, seen above.

It’s totally office-ready, pairing just as stylishly with cotton shorts on the weekend as with a suit.

And no, this isn’t #spon, we just like the shirt on guys that much!

mens short sleeve button up outfit
Instagram: @jimchapman

Wear a short-sleeve button up shirt with dress pants

SG Says: This is a great way to split the difference with a corporate casual outfit.

The trousers say, “Yes, I’ve got that expense report on my desk here for you, Linda.”

While the shirt’s fun print and tasseled loafers say, “First round’s on me at happy hour.”

Shop the outfit

how to wear a short sleeve button up shirt
l to r: Modest Man Style, Notoriously Dapper

And yes, you can…

Wear a short-sleeve button up shirt with shorts

SG Says: Of course you can wear your short sleeve button up shirt with shorts, guys!

This is such an easy way to feel more stylish on your off-duty time and wear a casual short sleeve shirt look.

Just swap one in for a t-shirt when you want to look and feel just a little more elevated in your down time, and wait for the compliments to come rolling in.



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Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Gabi Meyers went from Team SG's first-ever intern to a trusted fashion editor and stylist. She currently lives in Chicago with a very cute dog.