Summertime may seem like t-shirts and tanks weather, but you shouldn’t turn your back on button-down shirts. Sure, a collared shirt with buttons might not seem like the ideal summer fit, but you’ve got to realize there are plenty of excellent options. If the thought of wearing button-down shirts in the sizzling summer heat makes you cringe, then keep reading—because we’re about to change that mindset.
Fabrics to Look For
When picking out a summer button-down, focus on the fabric. In really muggy weather, or whenever you think you might get sweaty, you want to avoid attire that’s made with 100-percent cotton. The problem with cotton is that it tends to absorb moisture instead of venting it, likely resulting in a pool of sweat underneath your arms. That’s not such a great look for the office or the weekend barbecue with friends.
Fabric blends, like a stretchy, breathable combo of polyester and cotton, are a much better bet. Other natural fibers, like linen and chambray, are lightweight and breathable, so they’ll help you stay cool, and merino wool is breathable and anti-microbial, so it’ll ward off odors. You might also find shirts with more technical fabrics designed to dry quickly and wick moisture; they’ll vent any sweat that manages to sneak out. In addition, not all cotton is bad: Light cotton or soft-washed varieties are cooler and more comfortable in the heat. Even traditional cotton fabrics can work fine as long as the weather isn’t too steamy.
Finally, look for button-down shirts in lighter colors; they reflect light instead of absorbing it, keeping you cooler.
How to Style a Button-Down Shirt
Of course, that brings up the question: How do you style button-down shirts for summer? Since they come in a variety of colors and prints, button-down shirts give you the chance to incorporate some pattern into your shirts rotation, which is always a solid style move. But when in doubt, go classic and casual.
Heading to a weekend barbecue? Look for classic chino shorts with a seven- or nine-inch inseam (so they hit above the knee) and pair them with a button-down and white canvas sneakers for a laid-back look. Want to amp things up a bit for a rooftop happy hour? Swap your shorts and sneakers for breezy linen or linen-blend trousers—or comfortable, lightweight, and tailored stretch chino pants—then add suede loafers for a dressy finish.
Long-sleeve button-down shirts are usually dressy enough for the office and can be worn with a lightweight summer blazer. Others, like patterned short-sleeve button-down shirts, are more casual and best suited for weekend wear.
Still scratching your head about what to buy? No worries: We’ve rounded up the best button-down shirts on the market. Bold patterns, solid colors, short and long sleeves—these are the best men’s button-down shirts (from quality brands like Bonobos, Rhone, and more) for every budget.
The Best Men’s Button-Down Shirts for Summer 2022
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