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Mens Short Sleeve Dress Shirts: A Summer Fashion Guide

JW Lewis

We’re approach­ing the sum­mer, where mens short sleeve dress shirts should be a wardrobe goto. Many men choose not to incor­po­rate short sleeve shirts with­in their attire as obtain­ing the right fit / look can be dif­fi­cult.  Short sleeve shirts also get a bad rap as being strict­ly for casu­al wear — a myth which we’ll seek to dis­pel.  In this episode of UNFUSED, we arm you with the intel­li­gence to know what type of short sleeve dress shirts to wear (and not to wear) and where to find them.  Worn cor­rect­ly, a short sleeve dress shirt is a sleek yet ele­gant piece that you’ll be able to pull off in a vari­ety of set­tings.


Some Basic Fit and Style Rules for Mens Short Sleeve Dress Shirts

perfect mens short sleeve dress shirt

A few basic rules to a per­fect fit­ting mens short sleeve dress shirt


1 — Know the Proper Shirt Length

In our opin­ion, styl­ish mens short sleeve dress shirts look best when they’re worn with an untucked shirt length.  Most men do not real­ize that a shirt meant to be tucked is dif­fer­ent than an untucked shirt.  As we cov­ered pre­vi­ous­ly in UNFUSED, untucked dress shirts have a few dif­fer­ent fit and style con­sid­er­a­tions that you need to look out for.  To sum­ma­rize, if you intend to wear the shirt untucked make sure that 1) you have a straighter cut hem vs. a clas­sic (curved) hem and 2) the length of the front of the shirt does not dip past your mid-fly.


mens short sleeve dress shirt length

Short sleeve shirt that’s cut far too long to be worn untucked


If your inten­tion is to wear the shirt tucked in, the oppo­site of the advise shown above should be fol­lowed.  Obvi­ous­ly, if you’re in an office / work envi­ron­ment, a tucked in look is going to be a pre-req­ui­site.

mens short sleeve dress shirts proper length

The prop­er short sleeve tucked in look


2 — Know the Proper Short Sleeve Length

The sleeve length can be a tricky one.  If it’s cut too long, the whole arm will have a boxy / loose look.  How­ev­er if it’s cut too short you end up with a shirt that looks more like a cut­off.  Last­ly, if you go too tight your upper arm and bicep have lit­tle to no move­ment.  As a rule of thumb, the sleeve should end mid-bicep, and you should only be able to fit a fin­ger between it and your arm.

mens short sleeve dress shirt sleeve length

The per­fect sleeve length for a short sleeve dress shirt


3 — Know the Proper Cut

More-so than a tra­di­tion­al dress shirt, short sleeve shirts look sig­nif­i­cant­ly bet­ter when cut close to the body.  As there is obvi­ous­ly less sleeve fab­ric, loos­er / fuller cuts tend to not look very flat­ter­ing as there is less sur­face area for the shirt fab­ric to drape.  A trim­mer, slim fit cut tends to flow bet­ter through the arms.  To get that per­fect fit­ted, slim fit look, we rec­om­mend a con­toured cut from chest through the waist as well as through the sleeves.  If you’re buy­ing an off the rack shirt, you’ll notice the dif­fer­ence if the shirt has high­er arm­holes (slim­mer chest open­ing).

mens short sleeve dress shirt torso

Per­fect tor­so and sleeve cut for a short sleeve dress shirt


mens short sleeve dress shirt poor fit

An exam­ple of a poor­ly sized short sleeve dress shirt — too long and too bag­gy


Where to Buy Mens Short Sleeve Dress Shirts

In terms of off the rack / store options, you have many.  We’ve out­lined a few of our favorites from entry lev­el basics to pre­mi­um, lux­u­ry brands.  Addi­tion­al­ly, if you have an out­lier size or want a spe­cif­ic cut not avail­able with reg­u­lar store siz­ing, check out Deo Ver­i­tas’ shirt design­er, which allows you to cre­ate a 100% cus­tom dress shirt online, with style options such as short sleeves amongst a dozen oth­er cus­tomiza­tion options avail­able (e.g. col­lars, cuffs, plack­ets, but­tons, mono­gram­ming, etc…).  As the siz­ing is cus­tom, you’ll receive shirts that are made to fit your body pre­cise­ly.


Best Entry Level Short Sleeve Dress Shirt (<$50)

Top Man Muscle Fit White Oxford ($35)

Sleek and slim-fit­ting, this styl­ish stretch-cot­ton shirt boasts min­i­mal­ist vibes with a handy chest pock­et and cuffed short sleeves.  This is a great look that will look great in a casu­al or semi for­mal envi­ron­ment that boasts a slim fit and con­toured cut.  If you’re look­ing to attend a casu­al / beach wed­ding, this could be the shirt for you.


Best Mid Level Short Sleeve Dress Shirt (<$100)

Bonobos — Riviera Slim Fit Pineapple Print Sport Shirt ($98)

short sleeve dress shirt slim fit

Fes­tive pineap­ples ener­gize a leisure­ly cot­ton sport shirt tai­lored slim to achieve a mod­ern pro­file.


Best Premium / Luxury Short Sleeve Dress Shirt

Ted Baker — Rattie Slim Fit Pinstripe Cotton & Linen Shirt ($149)

mens short sleeve dress shirt by ted baker

A light­weight blend of cot­ton and linen fur­thers the casu­al, com­fort­able appeal of a shirt pat­terned in hor­i­zon­tal pin­stripes.  It has a per­fect slim fit con­tour that will give you the fit­ted look that you’re after.


Check out some of our other Popular Guides…

The Men’s White Dress Shirt — A Defin­i­tive Buy­ing Guide on our Favorites

Neck­tie Knots — A Defin­i­tive Guide to Wear­ing the Prop­er Knot

Untucked vs. Tucked In — A Guide to Dress Shirt Length


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