What to wear to weddings in every setting
Spoiler: there’s not a stuffy suit in sight
Get your own personal stylist to help you find clothes you love. All online, completely free
As soon as summertime comes around, it’s officially time to refamiliarise yourself with some shirts. After all, at this time of year, they pretty much work for all sorts of occasions. Wedding? Check. Pub lunch? Check. Beachside break? Check. All you have to do is make sure you’re picking the right style.
We spoke to menswear stylist Freddie Kemp who’s managed to narrow it down to just three shirt styles that should have you covered for all bases. From the camp collar shirt everyone will be asking about, to the linen number that was made for layering, keep scrolling to discover what you need to add to the basket.
You probably expected to see a camp collar shirt on this list – after all, it’s been a staple in men's summer wardrobes “for around 5 years now,” Freddie estimates. While a lot of menswear trends can take quite a while to cement themselves, this one has really landed and we suspect, is here to stay. Right now, so many brands are leaning into bolder patterns and colours which are an easy way to elevate any warm-weather look.
However, it’s important not to choose your shirt based on the pattern or colour you like. Instead, really focus on what’s going to complement your skin tone best as well as what sort of outfits you’re planning on wearing it with. Here, Freddie styled it simply with some plain summer trousers and a minimal shoe – albeit the minimal shoe is in a bold colour but you can get away with that during this season, we promise.
In terms of fit, you don’t want this to feel tight or, for that matter, overly baggy. All the best summer styles have a bit of looseness that allows them to maintain a good amount of breathability and movement – especially in the sleeves. Choosing a cotton fabric will ensure that the shirt keeps its structure – in the sleeves and elsewhere – while also making sure it's versatile for all sorts of occasions. Think under your suit at a wedding or open with swim shorts on the beach.
A button-down Oxford shirt is something almost every guy has in his wardrobe, so it’s a piece you can afford to get a little experimental with. With that in mind (and the preppy trend being pretty huge right now), Freddie says a pastel iteration is the way to go for this season. While the colour does make it feel seasonally appropriate, you’ll soon find you can wear this way beyond summer – it’ll even work in the office.
Now, you might be worrying that the long sleeve aspect will cause you to overheat. But, a fun fact we learned from Freddie is you actually retain a lot of heat in your wrists, so as long as you roll your sleeves up a bit, you should be all good. “In other words, don’t feel like you need to reach for a short-sleeve button down, they just feel a bit too ‘dad on the beach’.”
This piece is definitely a stand-alone layer as the button down detailing means it fits right in in the casual world, whereas a shirt with an open collar can feel like it’s missing a layer. A great way to style is (of course) as Freddie has done here, with jeans and kept untucked. But it equally looks great with some linen trousers in the evening time.
Turns out, layering isn’t just for the cold-weather months. In fact, if you style it right, layers can actually be really successful in keeping you cool. Don’t believe us? Freddie, who proclaims he often “runs hot”, says a soft cotton base layer will always keep you cool. Not only this, but it also means your outfit will retain a bit more structure. Take this linen shirt for example, really you’d want to style this with a few buttons undone, but without a base layer, it’d probably show too much skin. As well as this, the nature of the fabric is super soft, so it’ll just cling to your body in perhaps not the most flattering way if you wear it alone.
Another summer myth broken with this shirt is that this season has to be all about colour. But if that’s not really your thing, you can easily create a seasonally appropriate look without anything bright. It’s all in choosing the right fabrics (like a linen) and styling them in a laid-back way that will ensure you don’t look like you’re holding onto winter.
Words: Yasmine Kennedy
Photography: Jack Batchelor
Styling: Freddie Kemp