We all know that the short sleeve button-down has gotten a less than stellar reputation over the years. Far-from-fashionable iconic characters like Dilbert did anything but promote the style in a favorable light, not to mention the dozens of NASA employees and nerdy movie characters consistently rocking the awkwardly cropped sleeve.
Wildly enough, this retro-geek staple has transformed itself into a summer go-to. Forget what you thought you knew about the short sleeve button-down and turn your attention to this Fashionisto. He’s living proof that you can wear the short sleeve style without looking like your I.T. guy. But here’s the key: select a slim-fit shirt that avoids the dreaded ballooning look. Too much fabric will take you right back to Dwight’s cubical from The Office – and that’s no place for any astute Fashionisto.
A narrow sleeve, a crisp collar and the right amount of buttoned-buttons will keep you in the clear. In fact, treat this shirt as your last line of defense in the battle to impress your boss, balance a hectic social life and somehow manage to beat the heat. This Hong Kong Fashionisto looks particularly suave in his airy cotton button-down and black chinos. And who can’t help but fawn over his fine Italian leather shoes. If you ask me, shoes say a lot about a guy. The slim contour coupled with the slightly pointed toe has a sophisticated, masculine edge appropriate for any occasion.
On the runway, the Prada spring 2012 collection does a play on country-club prep with a trendy mix of short sleeve button-downs. Likewise, J.Crew has dozens of styles from playful prints to solid staples. For a complementary shoe, invest in this Distressed Leather Saddle Shoe from Brooks Brothers. It will survive years of wear and go with almost anything. Now, if you haven’t already, ditch the traditional button-down and roll up those sleeves!