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Is there any other item that is as overlooked, but so integral to men's wardrobes, as the humble shirt? Even the plain white t-shirt gets more airtime than the shirt. And yet, look into the wardrobe of any man around the world, and chances are you will find at least one shirt – likely, a plain white Oxford collar – and probably a handful more. So why do we overlook the shirt, and is it about time that every man upped their game and embraced the statement shirt?

The idea of the statement shirt can sound a little scary, conjuring up images of novelty prints or loud Hawaiian shirts in clashing colours, and those are options, but not ones we’d recommend. Instead, think of a statement shirt as setting an intention – you’re here and you’re happy to be noticed for your style (in a good way).

If you’re not sure where to start, colour is a good place. It’s easy to use colour to make a statement (think about in life – green for go, red for danger) and it is also easy to add into your existing style. A bold shirt in one colour, like this mustard shirt from Percival, instantly brightens up your outfit. You can even work your way up to super bold by playing with shades of colour that you know you already suit, like blues or greens.  

Already discovered the joy of the colour wheel? Then go for a print or pattern. How bold you want to go is up to you. A wide stripe like this monochrome Reiss shirt can make as much of a statement as a loud space print, like this Paul Smith one, when worn in the right way. If you are going for a really wavy pattern, then keep everything else simple, blue jeans or neutral trousers will let the shirt really stand out.

You don’t just have to make a statement through colour or pattern, you can also try different styles of shirt. The camp collar shirt is everywhere this summer and shows no signs of disappearing. “I think camp collar shirts are great to add a little personality,” says stylist Toby Standing. “But if you’ve already tried them and you want to switch things up, then I’d go for the slightly oversized bowling style. It’s a bit Tony Soprano, but in a good way, and feels like the next step for this style of shirt.” While the bowling shirt shares many similarities to the camp collar shirt, like the open neckline and relaxed cut, they’re generally on the larger side and play with tonal shades. This one from Nudie Jeans is a great place to start.

Whether you're ready to go fully bold or just want to start softly, it's time to bring the shirt out from the back of the wardrobe and give it the attention it deserves.


Words: Nadia Balame-Price
Photography: Andras Hari
Styling: Brooke Philips
Styling assistant: Toby Standing