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This Summer, Let Long Sleeves Back Into Your Life

Esquire (UK) logo Esquire (UK) 14/05/2019 Charlie Teasdale
a man wearing sunglasses and standing in front of a body of water: Your old pal the shirt will have its day in the sun once more © Eric Ray Davidson Your old pal the shirt will have its day in the sun once more

How many short sleeve shirts with loony prints have you got by now? A hundred? Two hundred? Eleven thousand? I’m approaching the half-million mark and am starting to wonder if actually, maybe, they’re just not the garm for me. Each one is a touch too boxy, or the sleeves are just too long, or the body is too short, or the fabric is too thin and you can see my nips or it’s too thick and I look like your dad at a barbecue.

It seems insane to even think this, but there was once a time when shirts were plain, or almost plain, and sleeves went all the way to the wrist. A simpler time. When summers were long and wine was sweet and Hinge-ghosting was just the dystopian dream of some evil app developer. Once, all men wore shirts all the time. And not Cuban collar shirts or bowling shirts or piped pyjama shirts – just shirts made from regular shirt material that looked like the shirts their dads wore. When it was hot, they rolled the sleeves up. When it was cold, they double checked it was tucked in at the back. When they needed to be smart, they lashed a tie around the collar. When they didn’t, they didn’t.

a group of people standing around each other: You and the fellas © HBO You and the fellas

Sorry to get all nostalgic about it (#MAKESHIRTSSHIRTSAGAIN), But I’m quite into a long sleeve shirt right now. They’ve been left behind, put out to pasture, dumped by text and replaced with a younger model. But there is a rebellion.

I stopped in at Swedish brand A Day’s March the other day, and amongst their small but considered range of basics (which they aim to ‘perfect’) was a very simple, very well-cut garment-dyed linen shirt in a pale silvery green. It’s not quite tough enough to be worn under a suit jacket, and not designed to draw gaze at a day festival in East London. It’s just a really easy shirt that looks good and wears even better in the summer. Imagine it after a few washes, all soft and battered. And then imagine you wearing it, three pints into the afternoon, waltzing around a hazy beer garden, one too many buttons undone. Summer, bebe! They also offer denim and candy stripe button-downs, simple plain oxfords and even a seersucker number in navy or olive green. Ironically, their short sleeve, Cuban collar shirts are cut from Tencel, a wood-based fabric that drapes very well. No baroque ‘n’ roll prints though, thankfully.

Good use of linen continues at Flax London, a fledgling British brand that espouses the virtues of the fabric. They use heavier weaves for a series of ‘railway’ jackets, and lighter ones for shirts, which are just the sort of thing you should be putting on your back this summer, I think. (The signature shirt in particular. Think Balearic and bohemian, but not culty or telecoms-billionairy. Mega.) The half-placket popovers are great, too, and if you went for the short-sleeved version, I wouldn’t be mad.

If you’re still not sure what I’m getting at (it’s just shirts, mate) look across the Atlantic. Preppy Americans mastered the look long ago. Billowy (moving in a wind whipping through Martha’s Vineyard), untucked, carelessly buttoned, unevenly rolled sleeves, wonky collar. Looks good with Wayfarers, chino shorts and boat shoes on the deck of a skiff. The only scenario where that full-look (‘Warm Weather Winklevoss’?) is OK. Ralph Lauren should be your go-to for button-downs, but there are few brands eyeing the throne. Union is one, and Rowing Blazers is another. They even distress their shirts to make them look like they’ve been through the boarding house laundry room a few times.

Now don’t consider your short-sleeve pulling shirt to be dead. It isn’t. It still looks great. It’s just a bit over exposed. Instead, consider sleeves. They’ve been out in the cold - let them bask in the warmth of the British summer. But roll the sleeves up will you? It can get a bit hot.

Gallery: The Best-Dressed (and Campiest) Men of the 2019 Met Gala [POPSUGAR]

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