Men’s Style Guide: Best Short Sleeve Button-Down Shirts

The best short-sleeved button-down shirts are the go-to uniform in warmer months. Check out what makes one great.

Source: Bonobos

Ahhh, that sweet, sweet time of year. Pool parties, nights out on the town, and perhaps even a boating trip or two. Warm weather calls for comfort, coolness, and swagger.

That’s where the best short-sleeved button-down shirts come into play. They’re reliable and versatile if you want a neat, clean look without the boringness of polos.

Of course, there are millions of button-down shirts available and they come in all different shapes, sizes, fit, and sizes. The question is, how will you find the best button-down short-sleeve shirts for your personal flair?

Quick Take

Here are our recommendations from the list:

Our Pick

Budget Pick

Upgrade Pick

Read on for more info and the complete list…

Setting the Scene for Stylish Comfort

Short-sleeved button-downs pair with almost everything — from shorts to jeans, and sometimes, even dress pants. You can even layer them up with a sweater or jacket.

Before you go shopping and grab the first shirt you see, you need to take a step back. To get the best out of your fashion investment, consider the length, fabric, and fit of the clothes you’re buying.

Explore Breathable Fabrics

Most button-down dress shirts are made from soft fabrics like cotton, silk, and polyester. So it all boils down to your preference and the season you want to wear them in.

For me, 100% cotton is the way to go if you want a durable piece. I like to go with a poplin weave during warmer months, as it’s more lightweight.

Photo by Karina Benfica /

Silk on the other hand is for guys who prioritize comfort more than anything else — they’re lighter and smoother than cotton. But, they’re more expensive and quite fragile, they wrinkle easily and can’t be machine-washed.

Polyester shirts may appeal to your wallet more as they’re the cheapest among the three and while have wrinkle-resistant, breathable features, they are prone to look cheap and trap in moisture. As a rule of thumb, choose a blend of cotton and no more than 20% polyester, so you don’t compromise too much.

The Size of Your Shirt Matters

You need to factor in size too when choosing your new button-down shirts. The correct sleeve length needs to end at either the middle or bottom of your bicep.

Additionally, you need to make sure that the sleeves do not swing at an angle. They have to be narrow enough to not flap around, but also not too tight.

Collar height is another size aspect you need to check because it affects the shirt’s proportional look. Get somewhere between 1 ½“ to 2 ½”.

Shirt collar fitShirt collar fit

Another cool technique to try is to put your finger on the back of your neck between your shirt and skin. There should just be enough room for your finger to fit. A gap larger means the shirt is just too big.

Prioritize the Right Body Fit

You’re wearing a short-sleeve button-down shirt so you can move around comfortably, but you still need to keep an eye on your shape.

You don’t want a boxy silhouette, so choose items that match your body type perfectly. For an optimal look, try a slimming shirt that’s flattering to your body.

Shirt length is just as important as it matches the proportions of your body. Use your pants’ fly to gauge the proper length. If you plan on wearing your shirt untucked its hem should end between the middle and bottom of your fly.

Best Short Sleeve Button-Down Shirts: Guy’s Top Picks

Listed below are the best button-downs that are fit for many seasons.

Photo by Alvin Caal /

They vary in fabric, function, and color selections, but ultimately, they’re top-quality items that will match your style.

Best Short Sleeve Button Down Shirts for Summer

When buying the best men’s short-sleeve button-down shirts fit for summer, you’ll likely want to prioritize comfort. It’s better to select shirts made of cotton, so you don’t feel stuffy under the sun.

Everlane Short-Sleeved Linen Shirts

Everlane embodies the perfect fusion between elegance and sustainability. They know when to use tried-and-tested fabrics and when to incorporate new ones.

Everlane Linen Short-Sleeve Shirt

A testament to their brand’s identity, their linen short-sleeve shirt provides a refined look through its breathable linen fabric. Pair these with dress pants or jeans; you get a breezy top you can wear under the scorching heat.

Robert Barakkett Sports Shirts

If you prefer cotton more than linen, then the Robert Barakket Sports Shirt may be right up your alley. Made from USA-grown Pima cotton, it provides a luxurious soft texture that’s also hypoallergenic — perfect for sensitive skin.

Robert Barakett Sport Shirt

Its fabric has a longer life expectancy than other cotton fabrics, with anti-wrinkling and fade-resistant features.

Amazon Essentials Pocket Oxford Shirts

If you’re tight on the budget but want an equally comfortable and versatile shirt to wear on the beach, then try Amazon Essentials’ Oxford shirt.

Amazon Essentials Pocket Oxford Shirt

It’s not bulky around the waist, so it’s great for men with a slim figure.

Best Short-Sleeve Button-Down Shirts for Spring

Spring may not be as hot as summer, but it’s warm enough for you to have a change of style. You can now wear lighter clothes with just enough fabric to keep you warm against the breeze.

Photo by cottonbro studio /

Unlike its summer counterparts, the best men’s button-down short-sleeve shirts for spring are those that provide a little bit of warmth on top of comfort.

SG Camp’s Collar Shirts

First up on the list is the SG Camp’s Collar Shirts. Their printed design gives a bold flair that matches well with jeans and hats. Its spread collar gives it a modern fit and a contemporary feel.

SG Camp Collar Shirts

Made from polyester and spandex, this cool shirt is a great staple for a casual date in the springtime.

Dockers Signature Comfort Flex Shirts

If you’re a fan of reliable garments with a classic fit, then Dockers has your back. Their Signature Comfort Flex Shirt can make you look sharp and feel good outdoors.

Dockers Signature Comfort Flex Shirt

Made from recycled polyester, it provides extra room for the body to breathe and isn’t tight around the shoulders. it comes in shades of blue, black, and white — making it versatile enough to pair with your dress pants, khakis, or even chinos.

Bonobos Riviera Short Sleeves

Bonobos prides itself as a pioneer of tailor-made clothes. They craft their shirts and pants with the idea that no two men are ever alike.

Bonobos Riviera Short Sleeve Shirt

Their best-selling Riviera Short Sleeve Shirt comes in a wide range of fits from slim to athletic. Buyers can even choose the hem length, ensuring that you get the shirt that’s just right for you.


What Is the Best Material for Short Sleeve Shirts?

The most popular short-sleeved shirts are made from cotton due to their soft, lightweight, and breathable texture. It keeps you cool during warm weather. Synthetic fabrics also offer durability and wrinkle-resistant features.

Should Men Wear Short-Sleeve Button-Downs?

It’s acceptable for men to wear short-sleeved button-downs for casual events, like attending a friendly reunion or a weekend date. For formal events like business meetings, it’s better to go for long-sleeve button-down dress shirts.

What Is the Difference Between a Button-Up Shirt and a Button-Down Shirt?

The key difference between a button-up and a button-down shirt is the collar. Button-up shirts don’t have buttons, while button-down shirts have buttons near the collar to keep it down, hence the name.

Elevating Your Wardrobe With Short Sleeves

Dress shirts are a common staple in a man’s wardrobe, but you don’t have to stick with long-sleeved button-ups. Expand your outfit options by including the best short-sleeved button-down shirts as part of your daily attire.

After all, more than sporting a handsome look, you need to feel great while wearing them, too.

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