The Best Men's Button-Down Shirts and the Fabrics to Look for in Summer

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Summertime may seem like T-shirts and flip-flops weather, but you shouldn’t turn your back on button-down shirts (also known as button-up shirts). Sure, a collared shirt with buttons might not seem like the ideal summer fit, but there are plenty of excellent options that are perfect for warm weather. If the thought of wearing button-down shirts in the sizzling summer heat makes you cringe, then keep reading—because we’re about to change that mindset.

Related: 10 Swim Trunks Starting at $15 With Thousands of Five-Star Ratings

Fabrics to Look For

When picking out casual button-down shirts, focus on the fabric. In really muggy weather, or whenever you think you might get sweaty, you want to avoid attire that’s made with 100-percent cotton. The problem with cotton is that it tends to absorb moisture instead of venting it, likely resulting in a pool of sweat underneath your arms. That’s not such a great look for the office or the weekend barbecue with friends.

Fabric blends, like a stretchy, breathable combo of polyester and cotton, are a much better bet. Other natural fibers, like linen and chambray, are lightweight and breathable, so they’ll help you stay cool, and merino wool is breathable and anti-microbial, so it’ll ward off odors. You might also find men’s button casual button-down shirts with more technical fabrics designed to dry quickly and wick moisture; they’ll vent any sweat that manages to sneak out. 

In addition, not all cotton is bad. Light cotton or soft-washed varieties are cooler and more comfortable in the heat. Even traditional cotton fabrics can work fine as long as the weather isn’t too steamy.

Finally, look for button-down shirts in lighter colors; they reflect light instead of absorbing it, keeping you cooler.

How to Style a Button-Down Shirt

Of course, that brings up the question: How do you style button-down shirts for summer? Since they come in a variety of colors and prints, button-down shirts give you the chance to incorporate some pattern into your shirts rotation, which is always a solid style move. But when in doubt, go classic and casual.

Heading to a weekend barbecue? Look for classic chino shorts with a seven- or nine-inch inseam (so they hit above the knee) and pair them with a button-down and white canvas sneakers for a laid-back look. Want to amp things up a bit for a rooftop happy hour? Swap your shorts and sneakers for breezy linen or linen-blend trousers—or comfortable, lightweight, and tailored stretch chino pants—then add suede loafers for a dressy finish.

Long-sleeve button-down shirts are usually dressy enough for the office and can be worn with a lightweight summer blazer. Others, like patterned short-sleeve button-down shirts, are more casual and best suited for weekend wear.

Still scratching your head about what to buy? No worries: We’ve rounded up the best button-down shirts on the market. Bold patterns, solid colors, short and long sleeves—these are the best men’s button-down shirts (from quality brands like Bonobos, Rhone, and more) for every budget.

The Best Men’s Button-Down Shirts for Summer 2023


Lululemon might be best known for athlesuire and gym clothes, but the brand also make an excellent button-down shirt. The Commission Long Sleeve comes in several colors and is made from a stretchy, Oxford fabric that allows for breathability.

amazon essentials mens regular fit short sleeve pocket oxford shirt


With over 11,000 five-star ratings on Amazon and a just-under $20 price tag, the Amazon Essentials’ Short-Sleeve button-down shirt is hard to compete with. It’s made entirely from cotton, comes in over a dozen colors, and features a pocket on the front.

gap linen cotton shirt


Available in three shades perfect for summer days and nights, this Gap short-sleeve button down could become the staple of this season. Thanks to the linen-cotton material, it’s plenty breathable and can be worn alone or with a t-shirt underneath in cooler temps.

tommy hilfiger mens long sleeve casual button down shirt in classic fit


Tommy Hilfiger has long been a staple in fashion and the brand is not a stranger to the world of button-downs. This long-sleeve option is a classic available in over 20 colors and made from mostly cotton with a bit of elastane to ensure a comfortable fit with some stretch.

lululemon airing easy short sleeve button down shirt


With a unique tie-dye, wavy pattern, this Lululemon Short Sleeve is perfect for when you want to make a vibrant statement. Thanks to the shorter sleeves, it’s ideal for warmer day but also excels in hotter temperatures because it’s made of a sweat-wicking and breathable fabric.

eddie bauermens baja short sleeve shirt

Eddie Bauer

Available in over 15 styles ranging from single colors to icon repeat with full graphics in-between, Eddie Bauer’s Baja Short-Sleeve button-down lets you make a statement and be comfortable while doing it. It’s made from 100% cotton, which ensures breathability and stretches the shirt’s total life cycle.


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Irish linen is prized for its soft feel and breezy utility, and it gets even better when done up by J. Crew in a variety of on-point summer colors. Better yet, this shirt is available in a wide range of sizes, including tall sizes. Wear this with everything from rolled light-wash jeans to casual chinos. 


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For a refined look that still keeps you cool, the Commuter Shirt is hard to beat: It’s sleek enough for the office, but the four-way stretch, moisture-wicking fabric keeps you comfortable when the mercury rises.

3 bonobos stretch oxford shirt


An Oxford shirt works at the office or a backyard barbecue, especially in a breezy striped pattern. The stretchy cotton fabric makes this Bonobos option lightweight and comfortable, too.

4 penguin washed linen shirt

The classics are the classics for a reason, and it doesn’t get much better than this linen shirt in a fresh white shade. Dress it up with grey chinos or dress it down a bit with navy chino shorts. 

6 ll bean sunwashed canvas shirt

L.L. Bean

Add some utility to your rotation of button down shirts with this broken-in cotton canvas shirt. The front button-flap pockets provide space for your EDC, while the pre-washing process makes this shirt softer and more breathable than your average cotton top. 


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Summer is an ideal time to experiment with a bit of color and pattern, and this understated yet eye-catching geo print shirt is a great way to do it. Better yet, it’s available in sizes up to 3XL and made from lightweight 100-percent cotton.


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Abercrombie & Fitch has grown up and grown into an even cooler brand than (perhaps) anyone thought possible, as evidenced by this on-trend yet timeless camp collar design. The seersucker fabric should prove breathable enough for warm weather, and the floral and stripe patterns liven up the mellow beige colorways.


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Linen might be the most essential fabric to keep in your summer shirting rotation—it has a subtle texture and lightweight feel that’ll help keep you cool. Here, it’s turned into a polished shirt made to be worn with tan chino shorts or refined navy linen trousers.


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Buck Mason’s designs seem to have stepped out of an old Polaroid photo album—they’re that timeless. This soft cotton shirt is a no-fuss, no-frills modern classic available in a nice range of washed-out, earthy colors.


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If you rely on Billy Reid’s rugged-yet-refined shirting and outerwear in the colder months, you should make some space for the brand in your summer wardrobe, too. This style turns the classic Tuscumbia Shirt into a warm-weather winner using a dusty plaid color and a soft cotton fabric to keep you cool yet looking polished.


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Sometimes a heftier layer makes sense for outdoor summer pursuits or casual back patio beer sipping. This denim shirt is tough yet surprisingly soft, and it’s a perfect option to style as a light overshirt atop a cotton tee on cooler nights.


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Looking to find the middle ground between a casual short-sleeve button-down and a dress shirt? An Oxford shirt, especially one made from organic cotton in a summer-friendly color (like this one), is the right choice: Roll up those sleeves, slide into some stretch chinos and loafers, and step out for the evening.


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This shirt is subtle on the surface, but look closer and you’ll spot the distinctive stripes. Better yet, it’s made with a soft-to-the-touch organic cotton and hemp blend for a cool feel against the skin on hot days.


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Madras is both a modern preppy staple and a historical fabric dating back centuries. Bridge the gap with a well-fitting cotton option that’s ideal for patio cocktails at sunset.


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Summer isn’t all about kicking back and relaxing—from time to time, you need some utility from your seasonal shirting, too. This lightweight cotton-poly shirt should keep you comfortable on active days, and it offers EDC storage space thanks to its two button-flap chest pockets.


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Vuori specializes in performance athletic gear, and the brand incorporated that same stretchy, moisture-wicking, anti-microbial technology into a UV-blocking button-down shirt for a polished post-gym look.


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If bold and eye-catching is your preference when summer rolls around, Ted Baker delivers a shirt with a vibrant but tasteful pattern for special occasions.


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Travis Mathew, the popular golf brand, tries its hand at a performance shirt. The Sweet Serenade combines a woven stretch fabric with a crisp blue floral print, and it’s an ideal style move for a post-links happy hour.

gap ripstop utility shirt


With an epic dueling-pocket design on the front, Gap’s Ripstop Utility Shirt presents with a unique style that comes in Winter Ochre or True Black. You can even roll up the already short sleeves for a neater look.

lululemon venture slim fit long sleeve shirt


Similar to the other Lululemon options on this, the Venture Slim-Fit is a long-sleeve button down that is designed for movement and boasts a breathable cotton fabric. Best of all though, it will wick away sweat and is perfect for the summer.

short sleeve slub cotton camp collar shirt in print


If you’re after a short-sleeve button-down shirt with a fun print for summer, look no further than J.Crew. This full cotton short-sleeve boasts a relaxed collar and comes in a plethora of fun prints.

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