Camp collar shirts started trending a few years ago. But unlike most trends, the camp shirt shows no signs of stopping, and it has morphed from a trendy piece to a bonafide closet staple. The reason the style is so enduring is that it’s a classic piece that’s been worn for decades. In the James Bond movie Thunderball, for example, Sean Connery cycles through an enviable collection of striped and solid-colored short-sleeve camp collar shirts. Admittedly, he only did so steps away from a body of water, but today’s camp collar shirts can be worn anywhere.
Just because camp collar shirts are hot now, that doesn’t mean they don’t come with their own baggage. Just like another classic piece, the polo shirt, the camp shirt lost its appeal for a long time. For many years, the style languished because of its association with loud, loose “vacation shirts,” big on laid-back vibes but short on style. They connoted a dad on vacation, the kind of guy whose relaxed attitude may be worth emulating, but not necessarily his fashion sense. But these days, the camp collar shirt has been updated in fit in and style. They’re more tailored now, but that doesn’t mean they’re all slim. In fact, there are plenty of boxy camp collar shirts worth buying — the difference is that they’re boxy, not slouchy. The designs have also been updated, and you can find subtle patterns, solid colors and bold but fashionable prints.
Before getting to the best camp collar shirts, it’s worth exploring what exactly the style is — it’s not quite as well-known as the polo or Oxford shirt, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less of a classic. The camp shirt has a notched collar with an outward, instead of a downward, point. The collars are cut in a way to leave the neck open and exposed, making for a laid-back and summery style.
Camp collars are often known as Cuban collar shirts. That name points to their origins in the Guayabera, a shirt associated with Cuba but worn throughout Latin America that has pleated stripes, four large pockets, and of course, an open collar. Even though camp collar shirts are associated with summer, there are plenty of long-sleeve options, and you can find great camp shirts in wintery fabrics like flannel. That means that you can wear a camp collar shirt pretty much year-round. To add to the versatility, many camp shirts have what’s known as a convertible collar. They’ll have either a buttonhole or a loop that allows you to fasten the collar all the way to the top, making them look like a traditional button-up shirt.
If you’re wondering how to wear a camp shirt, its versatility makes it easy. Pair it with jeans or wear it open over a white t-shirt with some chinos. It’s the kind of shirt that looks as good with shorts as it does with a suit. The right camp shirt can go pretty much anywhere, and we’ve rounded up the best ones to buy.
1. Todd Snyder Camp Collar Short Sleeve Shirt
The designer behind the eponymous Todd Snyder New York brand actually came up in Iowa, which might explain why the clothes are stylish, but not so out there that you couldn’t wear them when visiting your family back in the Midwest. This camp collar shirt has a decidedly retro look, with a pleasant yellow color and a green and orange diamond print. It’s made from 100% cotton, and it has a convenient chest pocket.
2. Rag & Bone Avery Camp-Collar Voile Shirt
BEST SOLID-COLORED SHIRT
Camp collar shirts often come in vibrant prints, but they don’t have to. Take this stylish and simple shirt from Rag & Bone, which is available in two shades of faded pink, as well as black. It’s made from viscose, giving it a sleek, silky sheen. It has a convertible collar with a loop that can be buttoned to the top.
3. Scotch & Soda Hawaiian Shirt
BEST RETRO VIBES
Scotch & Soda is one of our favorite apparel companies of the moment. The Amsterdam-based brand always has its finger on the pulse of the latest trends, and this summer the company is serving up some of the best camp collar shirts of the season. Just take this retro-inspired Hawaiian shirt as an example. Each breast features embroidered detailing, and the color is perfect for sunny summer days spent by the pool.
4. Urban Outfitters Striped Camp Collar Shirts
BEST STRIPED SHIRT
Urban Outfitters has plenty of affordable camp collar shirts for men this season, but our favorite is this striped button-up shirt, which comes in three different colorways. Slightly oversized, this loose-fitting shirt will look great with black shorts or your favorite pair of jeans.
5. Gitman Vintage Floral Voile Camp Shirt
Gitman Vintage does retro best, but it’s not just a tribute act — the brand’s origins date back decades, and they take a painstaking approach that involves making all of their shirts in the US. This stylish shirt has a unique rust-colored floral print on a blue background, setting it apart from the average floral shirt.
Read more: Best Vintage-Style T-Shirts to Shop Online
6. Uniqlo Men Open Collar Shirt
This shirt from Uniqlo is made from a blend of cotton and modal, which is a soft and breathable fabric made from beech tree pulp. It’s available in a range of stylish, muted solids like beige, a greenish-yellow, and a rusty orange color, as well as classics like navy, white and black. The shirts run somewhat large, so it’s best to size down. Of course, since it’s Uniqlo, these shirts are inexpensive yet well-made.
Read more: The Best T-Shirts For Men
7. Our Legacy Camp-Collar Printed Linen Shirt
BEST DESIGNER OPTION
Swedish streetwear label Our Legacy brings a refined sense of avant-garde minimalism, making slightly off-kilter takes on closet staples. This camp shirt has a boxy fit and a floral-inspired print, but the pops of red and stretched-out streaks of white make it look almost like flames. The shirt is made from linen and has genuine mother-of-pearl buttons.
8. The Banana Republic Resort Shirt
BEST LONG-SLEEVE SHIRT
While they traditionally have short sleeves, there are plenty of great long-sleeve camp collar shirts that are worth considering, like this stylish option from the Banana Republic. It comes in solid shades of blue and khaki, and it has two chest pockets with flaps, giving it a retro look. The shirt is made from organic cotton.
9. Abercrombie Short-Sleeve Camp Collar Shirt
Chambray is denim’s lighter, more summery cousin, and this camp collar shirt from Abercrombie is a classic way to work chambray into your wardrobe. You might raise an eyebrow at the brand, but Abercrombie has stepped up its game in the past few years, toning down the cologne and turning back to classic staples.
10. Saturdays NYC Marco Button-Up Shirt
BEST FOR LAYERING
Camp collar shirts aren’t just for hot days — this shirt from surf-inspired Saturdays NYC is made from soft cotton flannel, and it has a classic plaid print. It works well in fall weather under a warm jacket, or it can be layered over a t-shirt on a cooler summer evening.
11. Tombolo Cabana
Sustainability-minded label Tombolo focuses on breezy, beach-ready shirts in natural fabrics like linen, Tencel and cotton terry-cloth. They bring an offbeat sensibility to classic silhouettes, with statement-making yet surprisingly wearable prints. This linen camp shirt has a color-blocked pattern with a palm print design, and the two patch pockets at the waist are an added bonus.
12. Banks Journal Wilder Shirt
Go wild with this shirt from Banks Journal, which features an eye-catching leopard print. Banks Journal is one of our favorite brands for reasonably-priced, coastal-inspired pieces like corduroy shorts and tank tops. The shirt has a handy chest pocket, and it’s made from 100% cotton and would wear well with dark black jeans on a night out.
13. Cubavera Guayabera Shirt
The best way to get a Guayabera shirt is to take a trip down to Cuba, but short of that, this option from Cubavera is a good way to work some classic tropical style into your wardrobe. It’s made from 100% linen, so it’ll be breathable for hot days. The white color makes it a surprisingly wearable option. It has the traditional four pockets, giving you ample storage for sunglasses, snacks and whatever else you can think of.