You’ve probably started to see the camp collar shirt pop up more and more on stylish guys in your city — at your favorite bar, on your latest vacation — but the essential questions remain: how and why? What exactly is a camp collar shirt, and better yet, do you need one? The answers are easy: A camp collar shirt has the potential to be nothing less than your new summer go-to.
A camp collar shirt immediately calls to mind the type of bygone style that used to only show up in old movies. You might think of a classic Hawaiian shirt, but there’s a good chance the camp collar shirt silhouette comes to mind.
It’s cut to fit relaxed yet look relatively tailored, a straight cut with a straight bottom hem, with sleeves that used to be baggy but are now slimmed down for the modern man. The collar itself is also only one piece —no button-down here. The style finds its roots in the 1950s, at least as far as early appearances in the U.S. are concerned. Think of it as the epitome of luxurious leisure wear for the refined man (or perhaps more accurately, a man rounding up his family on a summer beach getaway).
The history of the camp collar shirt is intertwined with Hawaiian fabrics as produced by pioneering brands like Reyn Spooner, but the camp collar shirt is also known as the “Cuban collar” shirt. It’s a callback to the fact that a breezy shirt and open collar are perfect for hotter climates such as in, well, Cuba. Early camp collar shirts — even some newer counterparts — featured soft fabrics like rayon, but modern iterations also feature linen or linen-cotton blends.
So, how does one wear it? That’s easy (or at least, easygoing). Keep it simple to start, with linen trousers or chino shorts, mixed and matched with leather loafers for a suitably summer-ready vibe. Go more upscale with a khaki cotton suit and those same leather loafers — it’s a do-it-all type of shirt. Of course, you should feel free to pair it with your favorite pair of chinos and some white canvas sneakers for a decidedly more casual vibe.
And last but not least: Which camp collar shirt is right for you? See our favorites below.
Banks Journal Olsen Short-Sleeve Woven Shirt
Featuring a pleasingly versatile olive color (heightened by textured cotton), this affordable camp collar shirt is a West Coast-inspired take on the style. It’s perfect for wearing with light wash jeans and canvas sneakers.
O.N.S. Clothing Ryde Camp Collar Shirt
A callback to the luxury of the first camp collar shirts, this refined take on the style from O.N.S. Clothing is made with silk, cotton, and rayon. In short, this is the camp collar shirt to try wearing with a khaki cotton suit.
Portuguese Flannel Nash Shirt
Wearing a camp collar shirt, which by its very nature is more laid back and casual, should be fun. This printed take on the camp collar shirt embodies that nicely.
Todd Snyder x Reyn Spooner Short-Sleeve Shirt
Go big or go home with your camp collar shirt, is what we think. What better way to do that than with a splashy, classic summer shirt made by a lauded American menswear designer, Todd Snyder, and an iconic brand like Reyn Spooner? You can read more about the collab here, but this is our camp collar favorite from the collection.
Blue Blue Japan Matsuba Camp-Collar Indigo-Dyed Linen Shirt
Again, we said you’d do best to go all out. Blue Blue Japan delivers on a richly crafted, eye-catching take on the style.
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