An Ode to the Perfect Summer Shirt

Nine bright, floral-patterned reasons to buy cotton this season

Apr 26, 2016
Outside Magazine
An Ode to the Perfect Summer Shirt

   Photo: Jakob Schiller

Don’t get us wrong. We love soft merino sweaters and bomber Gore-Tex jackets. But we’re ready to shed some layers now that temperatures have risen. To celebrate the arrival of spring, we’ve rounded up our favorite flower- and fruit patterned cotton T-shirts that will comprise our wardrobe for the next five months.

Frank and Oak Fruit Fiesta ($48, pictured above)

There’s nothing subtle about the fruit cocktail print on the Fiesta, and that’s why we like it. If you’re going to wear a loud shirt, you might as well go straight to 11.

Patagonia Pataloha ($79)

  Photo: Jakob Schiller

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Pataloha, which was designed with the company’s surfing and fishing fans in mind. Now made from organic cotton with coconut-shell buttons, it’s only gotten better.

WeSC Concrete Flower ($128)

  Photo: Jakob Schiller

Poplin shirts like the Concrete Flower work well on scorching days because of their wispy weight. We like the slim fit for a put-together summer look and the long sleeves for when we're cruising around town after dark. 

Element Benson ($50)

  Photo: Jakob Schiller

A series of dots make up the Benson's unique pattern. Just take note: the shirt runs baggy, so slimmer men should size down for a more athletic fit. 

Corridor Lily Floral ($195)

  Photo: Jakob Schiller

Blame the shirt's astronomical price tag on its boutique heritage (handmade in New York City) and high-end Japanese organic cotton. But don’t scoff until you’ve tried it on and felt the silky fabric against your skin. We were sold instantly. 

Columbia PFG Troller's Best ($45)

  Photo: Jakob Schiller

Part of Columbia’s fishing-specific PFG line, the Troller’s Best has a comfortable fit for large range of motion. We also like the vents out back for muggy days.  

OurCaste Joe ($65)

  Photo: Jakob Schiller

Thanks to its thick Oxford fabric, this shirt stays wrinkle-fee so you can button up and go for a run. While we usually prefer a slimmer fit, we embraced the boxy cut for lazy days around the patio. Looking for the ultimate backyard-party outfit? Buy the matching swim trunks.

Vans Cosgrove ($48)

  Photo: Jakob Schiller

Jagged flowers give this shirt a bit of an edge, while the washed-out pattern makes it look like you’ve owned and abused it for a decade.

Reef Botni ($60)

  Photo: Jakob Schiller

Pinks and browns are a welcome change from the more ubiquitous blues and yellows on this kind of poly-cotton button-down. We also like that Reef pre-washed the shirt for a lived-in look and feel. 

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