The Best Chambray Shirt for Staying Cool This Summer
If you want to beat the heat (and look good doing it), you're going to need a chambray shirt—but not just any one. Let GQ's Best Stuff show you the best out there right now.
Chambray shirts hit it big in the mid-2000s when menswear designers and every guy shorts with a burgeoning interest in fashion decided that old-time-y workwear staples needed a good dusting off and haven't gone away since. (Thankfully, other relics from the era like 16 oz. raw denim jeans that wore like 30 grit sandpaper, waxed canvas everything, vests—basically all the trappings of a 19th century railroad worker—haven't fared as well.) Not to be confused with denim, where cotton yarns are woven in a twill pattern, chambray's plain weave if what makes the fabric stay cool in the heat but hold its shape better than wrinkle-prone linen. Among their other merits, the indigo blue shirts get better (and softer) with every wash and wear and will hold up in just about any task, whether you're building a table, working on a car, or wearing it under a suit to the office or on date night. Like a white oxford or black jeans, a chambray shirt is the kind of indispensable wardrobe staple every man should own.
There are chambray shirts in every cut, silhouette, and at every price-point you can imagine right now; there are literally hundreds to choose from. As with any overstocked corner of the market, there are a few options that rise above the rest. So read on if you're looking for an old-school-inspired chambray work shirt that won't let you down. And if you're looking for the one shirt that will overhaul your 9-to-5 wardrobe, keep on reading. If you want a new off-duty shirt that you can live in on the weekends, well, we've got that too. Or, if you're looking for a chambray shirt cut in our favorite of-the-moment fit, uh, that's here too. Here are the four best chambray shirts to suit every man's style.
The Best Chambray Shirt for the Style-Minded CEO
Brunello Cuccinelli Slim Cutaway-Collar Chambray Shirt
Brunello Cuccinelli is the man who transformed the workwear classic into an elevated office style move first—and he did it best. The Italian designer has a cult following, a remote Tuscan fashion compound, and the Midas touch when it comes to high style, so it’s no surprise that his version of a chambray shirt is made with men of sophisticated personal style in mind. His shirt is cut with the same exacting precision as one of his tailored suits, in a cutaway collar silhouette that has more in common with Savile Row than the work shirt style chambray is most often used for. It's that dichotomy that makes Cucinelli's shirt so appealing, as is the impossibly soft washed cotton fabric and vibrant indigo hue that lifts any standard navy or gray suit out of basic territory.
> 5, buy now at Mr. Porter
The Best Chambray Shirt for Getting Your Hands Dirty (or Just Looking Like You Could)
Buck Mason Chambray Work Shirt
A chambray work shirt is the definition of American work wear, so it’s fitting that this one is made in the American West—Los Angeles to be precise. Buck Mason’s take of the classic double pocket shirt is unique for its airy feel and lighter-than-average wash, making it a perfect shirt for warmer weather and the slim-but-roomy fit flatters just about every shape of man out there. The company made their name producing beloved tees and basics at resaonable prices and this shirt stays true to their quality-for-the-right-price ethos.
The Best Chambray Shirt for Your Inner Cowboy
Levi’s Orange Tab Chambray Shirt
This is the Matthew McConaughey of chambray shirts—and we mean that is the best way possible. It’s imbued with the grit and gristle of ranchers and real-life cowboys, which also happens to be what inspired the work shirt-meets-western style silhouette. The shirt is Levi’s at its best, taking an archival 1960s style with original details like a pointed spread collar and two Western front flap pockets, and reviving it for today. The sturdy fabric might not feel as breezy at first, but it'll soften up after a few washes and in about a year, will feel like your favorite T-shirt. It’s also the shirt you should wear open over a white tee and some minimal man jewelry, alright, alright, alright.
>, buy now at Levi's
The Best Chambray Shirt for Keeping Your Cool
Todd Snyder Band Collar Indigo Chambray Shirt
When it’s hot as hell outside, every inch of fabric you can eliminate from your outfit makes a difference. That’s why come summer, cute summer outfits with shorts photo we swear by band collar shirts—which also happen to be the one style every guy needs in 2017. This collarless version from Todd Snyder is as comfortable as the designer’s tees or sweatpants yet dressed up enough for most offices. Wear it with your cotton suit Monday through Friday, with your favorite khakis for a weekend out of town, or layered over your beach to bar swim trunks after a long day in the sun.
> 5, buy now at Todd Snyder
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