Spring and summer have a lot to offer in the way of outdoor adventure, destination vacations, and social gatherings, but when it comes to style, our options can seem limited. When temperatures rise, it’s easy to fall into a cycle of varying combinations of t-shirts and shorts.

While this approach is not inherently wrong, it’s not appropriate for all occasions and, frankly, gets boring quickly. So, how do we add a little panache to our warm-weather outfits? The answer is camp collar shirts.

fit model sitting wearing The Harwich Shirt in Surf Green Tipped Pique

What Is A Camp Collar Shirt?

Camp collar shirts, characterized by their open, flat collar, notched lapel, and straight hem, are a spring/summer staple with deep roots in menswear history. The style is sometimes called a Cuban collar shirt or simply a camp shirt. While styles vary, they usually boast short sleeves and are crafted from lightweight, breathable fabric like linen, hemp, or cotton. As the style that led to the advent of the Hawaiian or “aloha” shirt, it’s common to find camp collar shirts in bold patterns, but there are plenty of more versatile, solid color options out there.

The History Of The Camp Collar Shirt

Most sartorial scholars trace the camp collar shirt back a few hundred years to the Mexican Guayabera, a humble, collarless workwear garment designed to help field workers stay cool in the hot South American summers. Later, the style would find its way to Cuba, where the addition of the characteristic notched lapel and open collar brought it into broader popularity. Finally, a surge in immigration from Cuba during the reign of Fidel Castro would introduce the style to America, where its casual yet put-together looks and practical warm weather application would earn it popularity amongst presidents, pop-culture icons, and working-class citizens alike. For the full story, check out our in-depth article on the history of camp shirts.

How To Wear A Camp Collar Shirt

Camp collar shirts are some of the most versatile pieces you can have in your wardrobe. Basically, if the sun is shining and the temperature is high, a camp collar shirt is the right move. They strike a supremely versatile balance between the casual comfort of a T-shirt and the polish of a polo, all while adding a bit of vintage charm that can make the most run-of-the-mill outfit stand out from the pack.

Whether you opt for a casual look with jeans or shorts and a pair of sneakers or dress it up a bit with chinos or linen trousers and some leather loafers, the camp collar shirt exudes a timeless class that traverses high or low looks with ease.

While usually worn untucked, tucking in your camp shirt is a totally timeless look. This is especially helpful if you’re a shorter guy, as the clear break at your hip will elongate your legs, making you appear taller.

As far as style “don’ts” are concerned, the list is pretty limited. If you opt for a patterned camp shirt, we recommend wearing more muted pants or shorts to avoid clashing colors. Camp collar shirts are meant to be loose enough for movement but tailored enough for a clean silhouette, so avoid excessively baggy or skin-tight options. Go for quality. While a low price tag can be alluring, a cheaply made camp shirt will betray its poor quality quickly. Synthetic blends have a shiny finish that reads gaudy, and that fast-fashion “craftsmanship” will fall apart in time, usually after just a season or two of wear. Invest in quality from the start, and you’ll have a summer staple piece that will only look better as the years stack up.

fit model walking wearing The Conrad in Black Coffee Stripe

Camp Collar Outfit Inspo

As we mentioned earlier, your imagination is the limit when it comes to rocking a camp collar shirt. That being said, we’ve got our favorite combos. Here are a few outfits that are sure to turn heads at beaches, backyard barbeques, rooftop gatherings, or any other summer occasion.

Clean & Casual

Wear your camp collar shirt untucked with a pair of selvedge denim or chinos and finish off the look with either sneakers or (for a bit more polish) loafers. If you want to make the outfit even more casual, wear your camp collar shirt unbuttoned over a classic white cotton t-shirt or tank.

Cool Summer Nights

Thanks to its casual cut, a camp collar shirt is similar to a tee when layered. On cooler summer nights, we like to wear it under a trucker jacket or chore coat.

fit model posing next to a flatlay wearing The Short Sleeve Hawthorne in Vintage White Embroidered Eyelet

The Vacation Look

For the full resort look, match up your camp collar shirt with some linen trousers. You can wear it tucked or untucked depending on how relaxed you want to look, but in either case, the lightweight, breezy fabrics will keep you cool and comfortable. Finish the look with some leather loafers or sandals if you’re planning on being near the water.

fit model posing wearing The Short Sleeve Hawthorne in Dark Navy Floral

Dockside Dapper

Taking style notes from weekend sailors on the New England coast, the timeless combo of a camp collar shirt and chino shorts is welcome in almost every casual setting. We recommend pairing this look with boat shoes (no socks) and your favorite pair of shades.

Beach Wedding

Tuck your camp collar shirt into some linen trousers, layer a matching sportcoat over top, and finish with loafers, dress shoes, or huaraches. This look is perfect for any formal gathering and will keep you cool and comfortable all day and night.

An Iconic Roster - Shop Taylor Stitch Camp Shirts

Inspired by some of our favorite vintage pieces, our lineup of men’s camp collar shirts offers a wide selection of timeless silhouettes, each rendered in premium materials and built to get better with age. Check out the collection and gear up to tackle the next ten summers in style. Cheers.

fit model walking next to a flatlay of The Conrad Shirt in Fired Brick Dobby

Shop The Camp Collar Collection

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