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Why Every Man Needs A Blue Shirt In His Wardrobe This Summer

The style essential that goes with anything – and it’s for a good cause, too

The colour blue is a true summer staple. Not only the colour of the sea and, hopefully, the cloudless sky, but also when it comes to the shirt on your back. Whether in navy, cerulean, azure or lapis lazuli, it is the most versatile hue. A blue shirt goes with pretty much every other item in your wardrobe, and it is as suitable for office wear as it is for dinner afterwards. Its enduring appeal has made it a go-to for everyone from Mr Alain Delon to Mr David Beckham ­– and, hopefully you, too, after reading on.

If that hasn’t sold the idea enough for you, buying one from us in the next couple of weeks will mean you’re also doing some good: MR PORTER will donate net profits generated across a curated selection of blue shirts to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity from 7 to 17 June as part of the Father And Son Day initiative. Scroll down for the best blue shirts to invest in now (or read more about Father And Son Day here).

It’s time to show the short sleeve some love. Cast aside any dated associations with Homer Simpson and remind yourself that this garment is just as fine as its long-sleeved counterpart – providing it fits well and is worn with the right clothes, that is. This patchwork-printed one by Universal Works was inspired by the mismatched style of designer Mr David Keyte’s grandfather’s wardrobe, and we love it. Remember: when something is this loud, its best to keep everything else quiet, so try wearing it over a plain white tee and a pair of mid-length, stone-coloured shorts.

In the US, the button-down collar is now largely seen to be off-duty trademark of President John F Kennedy and his well-dressed brothers. But in Europe, it will always be the preserve of the industrialist Mr Gianni Agnelli. The former Fiat boss’ button-down shirts added an air of nonchalance to his impeccable tailored wardrobe. And the reason is simple: button-downs are less formal than the classic poplin and tend to be made from a lightweight cotton. They can be dressed up or down to suit any occasion: wear one under a blazer sans-tie or with a pair of rolled-up jeans and boxfresh white sneakers for a considered smart-casual look.

Chambray is a summer go-to, and for good reason. Made from a lightweight cloth that’s densely woven with white and indigo yarn (in shades that can range from pale to dark blue), it’s denim’s nimbler and more breathable brother, and likewise was once used for workwear. This shirt from our very own Mr P. collection is cut from a material sourced from a Japanese atelier that uses selvedge looms for a high-quality, more starchy finish. Enhance its lustre with a pair of turned-up chinos and suede desert boots, and channel the roguish Mr Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke.


Nothing says summer quite like linen. It is the fabric of yacht owners, the thing to wear when sipping an aperitivo on the seafront. Blue linen is a great jump-off point for your summer wardrobe. The fabric doesn’t suit loud, vivid colours, so keep it simple and opt for pastels. This pale-blue one by Rubinacci will complement sunkissed skin. For a more refined take on summer attire, wear it under a deconstructed suit. Or, if off-duty, with a pair of tailored shorts and sandals.


Identified by its cutaway collar, this is one of those staples that it pays to invest in. The style has its origins in the 1920s, when factory workers ripped the collars off their shirts so they didn’t get caught in machinery. As a result, its always been associated with utilitarian style, as favoured by Mr Pharrell Williams. It is ideal if you want to stand out an inch, not a mile. Try wearing it over a white tee with a pair of navy shorts, or smarten it up under a deconstructed blazer.


Poplin is an invaluable weapon in your sartorial armoury. It is one of those special garments that will serve you well at job interviews, weddings and summer soirees alike. Made from plain-weave cotton (which means the threads cross over and then under each other), it’s a smooth and durable fabric that’s silky to the touch and looks particularly sharp when carefully ironed. Take your lead from Mr Jon Hamm in Mad Men and have one stashed in your desk drawer at all times.


The name of this type of shirt refers to an Oxford basket-weave pattern that combines crosswise and lengthwise yarns, which gives it a breathable quality. It was first popular with polo players before finding wider appeal in the mid-20th century. It has since attained the status of wardrobe must-have: its smart collar and softer construction mean that it straddles the line between smart and casual. Club Monaco’s version features a scaled-down collar, which means it’ll look just as good under a blazer as it will over a white tee and jeans.

The denim shirt is a signifier of laid-back, I-just-threw-this-on cool, as likely to be seen worn by a cowboy as a city slicker. Invest in a good one and it’ll last you for years, and even get better with age and a bit of wear and tear. Salle Privée’s version in dark-wash denim is tailored with just a hint of cowboy. Throw it on with black chinos or shorts.


While we’re well aware that this Orlebar Brown slogan tee is very much not a shirt, it is featured in this piece because of the brand’s affiliation with the Father And Son Day initiative, set up in 2014. In support of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, Orlebar Brown has teamed up with MR PORTER to design a capsule collection of T-shirts, with proceeds going towards funding support and raising awareness around male cancer care. If you’re looking for a Father’s Day gift for your old man, why not treat him to this charming cotton-jersey piece emblazoned with the words “Daddy Cool”.

From 7 to 17 June, we will be donating net profits from the sale of a selection of blue shirts to Father And Son Day, in support of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. See the full selection here. Text MARSDEN to 70800 to donate £5 and share your own Father And Son Day image @FatherandSonDay