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Style Advice

Three ways to wear a camp collar shirt

Three ways to wear a camp collar shirt

Summer’s warming up and we’re stepping out of lockdown, which probably means you’re looking to refresh your warm-weather wardrobe. When it comes to the most versatile trends for 2020, there’s one piece we recommend investing in: the camp collar shirt. 

A relaxed take on a classic button down, camp collar shirts can easily be dressed up or down for day-to-day occasions. The chilled out, warm-weather look is no longer reserved for bowling enthusiasts or tropical island getaways – it’s the perfect way to strike a smart casual balance without sacrificing the light, loose-fitting feel you need in summer. 

Coming in strong with proof of the shirt’s versatility, Thread stylist Millie Rich fitted out three guys in various camp collar styles. 

“The camp collar shirt is unstructured, making it a great choice for warmer weather, and an easy piece to style for almost any dress code,” Millie says. The loose cut and open collar, which is designed to be worn slightly unbuttoned, feels effortlessly casual but still cuts a smart silhouette when the occasion calls for it.

A smart casual take

Neeraj, a 20-something who works in customer service, wears his camp collar shirt open over a white tee with smart trousers and black derbies. His look proves that the camp collar works as a smart casual piece in an outfit that can easily transition from the office to post-work drinks. 

“Neeraj’s personal style is slightly street-inspired, yet still versatile,” Millie says. “So styling a camp collar like you would an overshirt in colder weather is an easy way for him to dress things up.” Worn open or closed, a plain textured shirt is elevated yet simple, adding detail to a casual look without falling back on bold prints. The finished result is sophisticated and seasonal, with the relaxed fit feeling smart but more toned-down than a slimmer, more formal shirt.

A bolder take

Niyi, a 30-something who works in consumer insights, shows that you can wear a bold camp collar shirt without appearing garish. “A lot of people immediately think of Hawaiian tropical prints when they think of camp collars, but you don’t have to go for the novelty option when choosing a pattern,” Millie says. “Niyi embraces prints in his everyday wardrobe and isn’t afraid of clashing and bright colours, so this shirt was perfect for him.”

Paired with mid-wash denim and a blue jacket, the colours in the shirt are simultaneously complemented and toned down, making this bold look easier to pull off in a contemporary off-duty way.

A formal take 

David, an author in his 50s, shows how a camp collar shirt can be worn in a more formal setting.

“David had never worn – or even heard of – a camp collar,” Millie says. “But he tends to lean towards smart dressing and would normally wear his shirt undone, making the camp collar shirt a great choice for him.” 

Short-sleeved shirts can sometimes look stuffy in smart outfits, but the loose fit of a camp collar makes this shirt feel fashionable without losing any of the formality. It’s naturally open at the top which is flattering and sits neatly under blazers, so it’s great for summer weddings and other formal occasions. 

Stick to a light colour and layer over a t-shirt for a refined finish if you’re conscious of the low neckline, or style without the blazer for a look that nods to summers on the Italian Riviera – even from the comfort of your back garden. 


Words: Ella White
Photography: Jack Batchelor
Styling: Millie Rich