TOO MANY years ago to count, I owned a taupe, oversized camp shirt (at least my mother would have called it that). Wikipedia defines it as “a loose, straight-cut, woven, short-sleeved button-front shirt or blouse with a simple placket front opening and a “camp collar”—a one-piece collar (no collar band) that can be worn open and spread or closed at the neck with a button and loop …”
I loved that shirt’s loose, boxy fit, the face-framing collar, that you could wear it tucked in or out. I tossed it when it started to look a little shabby, and the style no longer was right for the decade (the ‘90s). Although I’m not giving up T-shirts, a few years ago I had an urge to wear something different—like that old reliable camp shirt. I searched the web, but my results yielded only a feeble few.
Today, thanks to fashion designers’ penchant for generous silhouettes (think wide-leg pants, jackets with big shoulders, caftans, oversize coats), the selection has expanded. See below for what we scoped out. Also, we threw in a few knit polo shirts—without signature polo ponies or other brand logos—we thought were both flattering and practical.
An added bonus: they come in all prices from the $50 polo at Mango to the high-end Hawaiian shirt from Prada for $1,000-plus.
LEFT: A relaxed fit is fashionable once again. Case in point: Acne Studios’ linen Rellah shirt printed with a toile de Jouy-inspired motif of historic theaters. Side slits give breezes a helping hand. $440, Net a Porter. RIGHT: Beige is all the rage. Make cropped pants in this hue of the season look polished. Couple them with Lafayette 148 New York’s Beatrice Cubist-Print Button-Front Sheen Cloth Blouse. $548, Neiman Marcus.
LEFT: White is right for summer, but instead of a predictable T-shirt, opt for Madewell’s oversized, short-sleeve Cotton Courier Shirt. A knotted scarf around the neck brings a casually cool vibe to a classic look. $65, Nordstrom. RIGHT: Coral stripes and soft denim collar make an unexpected but welcome combo on this boxy BP Chambray Polo. Wear with jeans now, white pants later. $17.40 (on sale), Nordstrom.
LEFT: In keeping with the current fad for fullness, Everlane’s Clean Short-Sleeve Silk Square Shirt appeals for its loose-fitting silhouette and, although it’s available in nine colors, this pale lemon pastel looks breezy and cool and just right for warm weather day or night. $98. Also from Everlane, a similar style but in linen (black, white, red, navy and yellow) is $58. CENTER: The classic polo gets a big fat tweak from Kenzo with this Flying Phoenix Polo Shirt‘s bold pattern. Life is short, have some fun. $196 (on sale). RIGHT: When you look in your closet and can’t find anything to wear (ever have this problem?), pull out this pink-and-white Bicolor Openwork Polo Shirt. Pair it with any color pants or skirt and you’re done for the day. That was easy. Mango, $49.99.
LEFT: It may be impossible to go unnoticed in Prada’s Hawaiian-style Printed Poplin Shirt. Wear it on its own or over a T-shirt. $1,120, Net a Porter. RIGHT: Battle boredom. This ribbed knit Senor Polo Shirt is from Essential Antwerp, a fashion label based in the Belgian city that gave us design heavyweights like Raf Simons and Martin Margiela. One of the young label’s stated aims is to produce affordable luxury fashion. Compared to Prada’s geometric knit polo for $980, $167 is well, a lot less. At Farfetch.
LEFT: Cos Stores’s woven short-sleeved shirt with crisp cotton front panel and contrasting back and sleeves in jersey works well alone or when paired with a matching skirt or pair of pants, as a modern take on a suit. $69. Banishing black from your wardrobe? Here’s another option. Also at Cos Stores. RIGHT: Leopard spots are not fading from fashion anytime soon. Here on Sandy Liang’s Imo Shirt, they get a fun pop of color with pistachio-green stitching. $295, Nordstrom.
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