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The short-sleeve shirt doesn’t have the best reputation. And that’s largely because so many men get the fit wrong. Worn too big, they conjure up visions of your archetypal 80s film nerd, complete with a pocket protector and thick-rimmed glasses. Too small and you’re in Love Island territory.

But you shouldn’t let either of these extremes colour what is, ultimately, one of summer’s wardrobe essentials. “If you get the fit right, short-sleeve shirts are stylish and easy to wear,” says Thread stylist Alexander McCalla. “They’re a smart-casual winner that you can wear all summer.”


“The seam of the shirt should sit on the edge of your shoulder, on or slightly above your shoulder point. You won’t be wearing anything thicker than a tee underneath it, so you want a proper fit and for it not to be too loose.”


“Should fit close to your biceps. If they billow out, it’s too big. That said, it shouldn’t feel like a compression vest. In terms of length, you want just above the elbow around the mid to lower triceps area. Too short veers into Love Island territory, and too long will make you look like you’re still at school.”


“The hem should reach the middle of your trouser pockets. This means if you’re wearing a smarter style, you can tuck it in without bunching, but it’s long enough to be worn untucked.”


“Fitted, but not tight. The buttons should not pull and you should be able to move your arms freely – if you lift them above your head and the fabric tugs, you need to size up. About half an inch of room means you can breathe and move freely, but won’t look too boxy.”


“You’re not going to wear a tie with a short-sleeve shirt – seriously, it’s not a good look – but the fit should be the same as a smarter shirt; when it’s buttoned, you should be able to fit two fingers between your neck and the collar of your shirt.”

Words: Nadia Balame-Price
Photography: Jon Cardwell
Styling: Alexander McCalla