The most common complaint that people have about their offices is that they are too cold. The second most common complaint? That they’re too hot.
So wherever you fall on the internal body temperature spectrum, it’s a good bet that you are unhappy with the conditions at your office. The situation is exacerbated at this time of year when temperatures outside are hot enough to melt tar. The sweet, sweet relief of air conditioning is so tantalizing when you’re crammed into an AC-less subway car, mashed up against a guy who looks like he’s been in a wet T-shirt contest because he’s sweat so much. But after a few freon-filled minutes in the air conditioning, you start pining for fur robes a la Jon Snow (spoiler alert: RIP).
The issue poses a sartorial conundrum since getting dressed for work involves being prepared for two widely divergent climates. Enter the short-sleeve button down. When it’s hot, you still look pulled together. When it’s cold, you get the benefit of an extra layer since you wear it with an undershirt and it layers great under a lightweight sweater or blazer.
It’s also a shirt that transitions well from the office to happy hour to whatever happens after that. Little tricks like rolling up the sleeves a couple of times or buttoning the top button can take the shirt from conference room conservative to downtown cool instantly.
Here are seven short-sleeve button downs that will help you survive the cruel, cruel summer.
AMERICAN APPAREL CHAMBRAY
Chambray is the ideal fabric for a summer shirt. It breathes great, feels great, and looks great. With this version from American Apparel, you get the added benefit that it won’t break the bank.
The benefit of a cotton-linen blend is that you get the lightweight qualities of the linen without all the damn wrinkles. The J.Crew shirt has a fun bubble print that isn’t too loud so you can still wear it to work or rock it more casually on the weekend.
ZARA STRETCH SHIRT
With just the right amount of stretch this is a great option for bike commuters. It has a ribbon detail on the collar and button placket that adds a subtle pop of color ribbon and the cuffed sleeves add a casual flair.
Even though Saturdays is considered a surf brand, they make clothes that look great out of the water. This shirt features a red-and-navy checked pattern that will go with everything in your closet.
GITMAN BROTHERS VINTAGE WOODIES
Even if you don’t belong to a country club, you will appreciate the vintage tennis rackets printed on this shirt from Gitman Brothers Vintage that channels the spirit of Luke Wilson’s character from The Royal Tennenbaums.
Gingham is another one of those patterns that is perfect for summer since it easily dresses up and down. Since the mini checks can be a little busy, pair the shirt with bottoms in a basic solid color to avoid looking like an optical illusion.
Supreme makes this bandana button down in red, blue, and black, so regardless of your gang affiliation, you will be able to find something that works for you.