The Best Men’s Short Sleeve Buttondown Shirts for Every Occasion

From the lake to summer weddings, from your backyard barbecue to your vacation, we’ve got a SSBD for all your adventures
July 11, 2019Words by Jon Gugala

Much like watermelon and swimming holes, few things embody the summer months quite like a short sleeve buttondown shirt. This staple in menswear is a lot like your favorite pair of shorts: more casual than its full-length relatives, but when worn right, can set you apart while ensuring you don’t suffocate in the heat. 

How do you pair a short sleeve buttondown shirt to the occasion? What instances warrant patterns, and what situations call for a solid? To make it easy on you, we’ve picked out our best short sleeve buttondowns for each of our favorite summer activities—backyard barbecues, vacations, formal parties, and outdoor adventures.

Backyard BBQ short sleeve button down shirt

Backyard Barbecue

The backyard barbecue calls for shirts both comfortable and casual. Patterns, checks, and stripes are all fair game, as well as more generous cuts that allow enough range of motion to whip a baseball or throw a tight spiral. Wear them with your favorite shorts and throw on a pair of slip-on shoes to complete the package. Our go-to casual SSBDs go as well with pork bottom as they do with Sunday afternoons. Just add the smell of charcoal and the feeling of a cold bottle in your hand.

Wellen Cotton-Linen Short Sleeve Shirt

Wellen Cotton-Linen Short Sleeve Shirt

Linen has been a staple in warm-weather wardrobes for generations, and Wellen’s Cotton-Linen Short Sleeve Shirt utilizes this classic fiber to keep you cool in the summer heat. Its Oxford-style button-down collar adds a touch of class, while the stripe pattern is faded to perfection for easy wearing. They’ve even thrown in a dash of organic cotton, which adds durability and softness that’s only going to get better with age.   



Portuguese Flannel Nash Short Sleeve Button Down Shirt

Portuguese Flannel Nash

 No one knows the demands of Northern Portugal quite like its native craftsmen, who have learned a thing or two about tailoring fabrics to the country’s hot climate over the decades. Their expertise shows with the Portuguese Flannel Nash. Made from viscose, a blend of natural and synthetic fibers, the silk-like material breathes exceedingly well on hot summer days, which is further bolstered by the shirt’s loose, breezy cut.


Vacation short sleeve button down shirt


When packing for your summer holiday, think versatility. You’re looking for shirts that can be dressed up or down depending on occasion, as appropriate at Versailles as they would be at a Left Bank café. Furthermore, they have to withstand the rigors of being balled in a bag when you’ve overslept and are running late for the last train out of Paris. 

Wellen Printed Short Sleeve Shirt

Wellen Printed Short Sleeve Shirt

The palm-tree pattern of the Wellen Printed Short Sleeve Shirt is classic Americana look: on the nose with its throwback styling but not in your face. The all-cotton fabric is a dependable material in steamy climes, while the comfortable cut isn’t so slim that you can’t move when the moment strikes. We love its button-down collar, which makes this easy to dress up with a pair of khakis when necessary, though it’s just as easily worn untucked with your favorite shorts.



Rhythm Vintage Aloha Short Sleeve Button Down Shirt

Rhythm Vintage Aloha

Hawaii’s spirit of aloha has long been exported to the mainland through her colorful shirts, and Rhythm’s Vintage Aloha men’s buttondown short sleeve shirt pays homage to the iconic style. Made from smooth, silk-like Rayon, it’s endlessly breathable and wrinkle-resistant. Unlike the classic shirts, however, the Australian company has updated it with a slimmer, more modern cut that’s flattering on any guy. The lay-flat camp collar ensures you’re never messing with what’s around your neck.


Dress short sleeve button down shirt

Formal Party

Summer nights and more formal occasions—even weddings—aren’t out of reach for the humble short sleeve buttondown for men. A few tips to remember: If your top skews more casual (as short sleeves usually do do), bring your whole outfit into balance with more formal footwear like a smooth leather loafer. Furthermore, leave the patterned fabrics for more casual occasions—solid colors are your safest best for keeping your short sleeves dressy. Finally, if you’re wearing denim, go dark, or switch it up with a neat-pressed pair of chinos. Following our guidelines, you’ll be the most stylish man in the room—and the most comfortable.

Wellen Double Cloth Short Sleeve Shirt


Wellen Double Cloth Short Sleeve Shirt

As its name suggests, Wellen’s Double Cloth Short Sleeve Shirt uses two layers of cotton for a more robust shirt that looks appropriate in dressier occasions and around the office. Still, it’s not so thick that you’re losing oxygen on balmy days. The hemmed sleeves are great down, but turn them up just like you would your regular button-downs for a more casual man-of-the-people vibe.



Taylor Stitch SS Jack

Taylor Stitch SS Jack

No company does West Coast classics as well as California-based Taylor Stitch. Its SS Jack sources sustainable Better Cotton Initiative fabric for its three-dimensional waffle weave, which lightens up its robust and durable weight. The button-down collar and placket are secured with dark horn buttons for a subtle glint that plays off the indigo fabric. Its classic look and slim fit are appropriate for nearly every occasion.


Outdoor short sleeve button down shirt

Outdoor Adventure

There are some shirts designed to look pretty, and there are those designed for a purpose. Whether it’s an afternoon double-header at the ballpark or a shirt for exploring the outdoors, these short sleeve buttondowns are made to be an afterthought, a dependable companion that allows you to truly live. Wear them with hybrid shorts or technical pants and your favorite approach shoes or vintage runners. However you wear them, your goal is to be out there—so grab one and go.

Howler Brothers H Bar B Snapshirt

Howler Brothers H Bar B Snapshirt

The aquatic experts at Howler Brothers know the demands that you put your shirts through during adventures, and it created its H Bar B Snapshirt to withstand them all. The Huckberry-exclusive pattern is made from a cotton and poly blend to dry quickly, while the generous fit allows you to move freely whether that’s casting a fly rod or squeezing through slot canyons. Wipe those mud-splashed sunglasses with the shirt’s microfiber-lined hem.



Reyn Spooner New York Yankees Aloha MLB

Reyn Spooner New York Yankees Aloha MLB

While it may not be the Bronx Bombers’ trademark pinstripes, Reyn Spooner’s New York Yankees Aloha MLB is a must for any sports fan. Including the team’s classic logo and name script interspersed with tropical flowers and foliage, it’s more subtle than a jersey but with all of the hometown pride. Not a fan of the Yanks? We’ve also got collabs with the Dodgers, Cubs, Giants, and Red Sox.



>>Next: Best Men’s Slip-on Shoes for Summer


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