Introducing: The PS short-sleeved shirt

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Last Summer, I had coffee with a friend on a hot afternoon in Mayfair. Sitting outside a pavement cafe, he was wearing loafers, a beautifully tailored trousers and - to my surprise - a short-sleeved shirt. 

I’ve never really liked short sleeves, but the quality, sharp collar and tapered sleeves of his elevated the style to something that seemed both elegant and very appropriate. 

It felt appropriate because coolness was clearly paramount, and this was the coolest option. The style also made it clear that no jacket was intended or absent, as might have been the case with a long-sleeved shirt. 

That shirt spurred a long discussion of short sleeves, as my friend knew it would. And that led to my determination to make something similar, which could be offered ready-to-wear (unlike bespoke, as his was). 

Given my surprise, I won’t be surprised if this latest PS shirt offering surprises a few readers, but I’ve been wearing mine for almost a year now, and I love it. I’m a convert. 

It’s particularly appealing when the shirt is worn with equally well-made and tailored pieces elsewhere, such as bespoke linen or cotton trousers, and lightweight slip-ons. 

I think it’s important that the shirt is always tucked in, and looks clean doing so. So it has to be the length of a regular dress shirt - the same principle as the Friday Polo.

After that, there are two elements which separate it from other short-sleeve shirts I see. 

One is the collar, which is the same high, light, gently rolling button-down used on other PS shirts. Where most short-sleeve shirts have a very soft, low collar, intended to look relaxed and casual, this aims for the opposite: the most elegant version of the style. 

The second element is the sleeve, and this is the area that took longest to get right. I think Luca and I went through five samples in the end. 

Most short-sleeve shirts have quite wide, square sleeves. This is the style that fits most classically was seen most often in the past, so it makes sense. 

But I wanted something that was a little closer fitting, echoing not the untucked Aloha shirt - cheerfully donned at a 1950s suburban barbecue - but the rolled-up sleeves of someone a little more rugged.

That’s a look most associated with the likes of James Dean in a white T-shirt, but actually was often done with short-sleeve shirts too, as some of the images below illustrate. 

More importantly, it’s a little more flattering on someone that doesn’t have very big arms. Which is why presumably guys did it, and indeed lots of people still do so today, folding back T-shirt sleeves or pushing up polo shirts.

It’s a style of sleeve that actually you find on most modern polo shirts - such as my favourite among cut-and-sewn ones, the Armoury/Ascot Chang version.

The only potential issue with a sleeve like this is that it will be too narrow for some people. And linen doesn’t have the stretch of cotton piqué.

But I’ve tried it on several friends, and it fits 90% of them, so I think the vast majority of readers will be fine. If you’re unsure, have a look at the bicep measurements in the table below and compare it to a polo shirt you own. (For reference, my bicep measurement is 34cm.)

I should make clear that I also love the camp-collar shirt that has become so popular in recent years. 

Although it has a lower collar and often quite a square body, it’s a great option in the Summer and more flattering on many people than a T-shirt. I have a couple from Gitman Vintage via Trunk that I wear (shown in this post).

My favourite current version is probably the Summer Shirt from The Armoury, and I love my towelling short from Bryceland’s - even if it only really feels appropriate when I’m sitting beside a pool or in a beachside cafe.

But as with all Permanent Style products, the aim of the new shirt is not to produce something similar to what’s already out there, but to make something available that I like but cannot find. I wanted a shirt like my friend’s but couldn’t find one. So we made it.

The PS short-sleeved shirt is pure linen, using a Spence Bryson Irish linen rather than Italian alternatives, as it retains its shape better and isn’t at all transparent. 

The collar is the same as all the other PS shirts, as is the fit through the body, and the handwork by Luca Avitabile’s atelier in Naples. The only style change is the sleeve. 

The images show how I most often wear the shirt - with tailored linen trousers like these from my taupe MTM suit from The Armoury, and lightweight loafers like these black Sagans from Baudoin & Lange. 

It’s also particularly nice under a Summer knit, like the cream cotton from Anderson & Sheppard above

Cotton knitwear is lovely on mild days, as we often get in England during the Summer. It’s surprisingly cool yet provides a reassuring layer when the sun ducks behind the clouds. 

A short-sleeve shirt underneath makes the knit cooler still, feels nice against the skin, and you don’t have the issue with a jacket of a lack of cuffs at the end of the sleeve. 

Cream, white, taupe and black is also a particularly pleasing colour combination.

The watch is my old JLC Reverso with a new black alligator strap from Jean Rousseau. The glasses are the Bryceland’s collaboration with Japanese vintage collector Solakzade. 

The PS short-sleeved shirt is available from the shop now. Details:

  • Made in Naples in the atelier of bespoke shirtmaker Luca Avitabile
  • Hand-sewn buttons, buttonholes, armholes and collar
  • Uses Irish linen from Spence Bryson, and cream mother-of-pearl buttons
  • Cut long, like a dress shirt, and intended to only be worn tucked in
  • Uses the standard PS button-down collar, which rolls easily and naturally, when undone or indeed with a tie
  • Same body fit as the PS denim shirts (and oxford shirts after washing)
  • Ships from the UK and available in four sizes, small to extra large
  • More details on the PS shop here

Measurements: 

Small (37) Medium (39) Large (41) Extra large (43)
Chest 51.5cm 55 60 62.5
Waist 47 51 55 58.5
Yoke 45.5 47.5 49.5 52
Sleeve width at bottom 17.5 18 19 20.5
Sleeve length 20 21 22 23.5

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Karsten

Very happy (though also very surprised) to see this in the PS shop. As a long time lover of short-sleeved shirts, I generally have found it difficult to find one like your friend seems to have worn that day, and I have not-bought many because they were too short, too colourfull, too much camp collar, too long or wide on the sleeves, too loose or not a nice enough linen. Although I don’t mind a more transparent linen in high summer, this shirt really seems perfect, and I can’t wait to try one.

Richard

Morning Simon, looks interesting. May I ask what size you are wearing? I’m 6ft,41in chest and 32in waist. What would you advise?

David Chui

Will this eventually be available in the madras linen as well? It feels like that would be a very suitable cloth for this style

Martin McGrath

Collar proportions look off on this garment. Works with full sleeves, but balance is wrong with short sleeves.
I like the idea though.

Aaron

In regards to the sleeves, with no stretch and being quite close fitting do they not dig in at all when raising your arms?

Aaron

My biceps are definitely smaller than yours, yet I still find that happening with some short sleeve shirts. Perhaps it’s that my shoulders are too far forward from all my computer use.

Emerging Genius

Nice looking shirt

Peter Hall

Simon, I seem to recall that this style of sleeve length was a rockabilly thing. As you mention, links back to the 5Os Americana.

LB

Lovely shirt Simon. Although I would say the collar for me stands quite tall!

On the reverso, how often do you find yourself wearing it nowadays due to its rather classic and formal look?

LB

I see, i agree on the fact that only one real dress watch is necessary, have you considered another more casual piece?

Richard

Firstly, I would seldom wear a short-sleeved shirt; I might as a push do so on holiday but certainly never in town. So to me, it is a complete business no-no.
Secondly, I have an issue with shirts generally without an American placket. The lines of a jacket lapels form a degree of symmetry together with the face. Therefore the off-centre effect the French placket gives I find jarring. Of course, many make disagree, and when wearing a tie, it may not be significant. But there it is, I still don’t care for it.

Ben R

In regards to the camp-style shirts, do you wear those untucked? Is the shorter length what you’re referring to in the boxier shape of the shirt? I clicked-they the link but it looked like there was only a photo of you seated at a table with the shirt on.

Ben R

Thanks for the detailed information. It also helps highlight how the PS Short-Sleeved Shirt is set apart from the other shirts in the market.

Maxim

Amazing – combining this with the PS Finest Cardigan will make you the world’s most sophisticated bus driver in an instant. What exactly is the advantage over simply rolling up one’s sleeves?

Magnus

A smarter short sleeved shirt is not something I have ever considered before, but I do actually like it.
Are the sleeves permanently cuffed or is that just how you’ve styled it?

Magnus

I dig it. Out of curiosity, what was the thought process behind leaving off a pocket? Just to again make it a bit smarter?

guy

would be great to have this as a popover

Craig

Agree completely on the color combination. More and more I’m moving away from grey trousers and sticking with earth tone shades, from cream to taupe to brown. It’s a personal preference but it’s working for me. And it works just as well for colorful shirts and jackets as it does for shirts/jackets in other earth tone shades.

michael Ryan

Nice article and nicer shirt, might be tempted. I too have never been a fan of the short sleeved shirt though it obviously answers some needs in the summer. I’m torn between my untucked linen long sleeves (which my wife insists look best on me, and I might agree) and a polo which I like but wish had stiffer collars.

Dan

Interesting. This look reminds me of Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale (2006). When Bond (Craig) arrives in the Bahamas, he is wearing a grey Brioni suit with a white short sleeve shirt underneath with similar sleeves as the PS shirt. Take a look. Dejavu.

Alan

Simon, want to make sure I am reading this right – the shirt already comes with darts in the back? I see it written as such in the post, but not as part of the description in the shop. Thanks

Alan

Is that new? I have a bunch of the exfords and the chambray and they did not have darts. I had to add myself.

Alan

All good. Just wanted to make sure it was indeed on these which sounds like it is! Thanks Simon

Alan

Simon, I just got my shirt and there are no darts on this linen one either. You may want to edit the article.

Ant

Yep – definitely tempted with this, but as you say – a change in opinion as I know you were not a fan of short-sleeved shirts previously.

I’m on the wait list for a finest polo, and have bought a few of the other PS pieces recently, so would you mind saying if you have any plans to release this in different colours? A pink? Light blue? Brown? Olive maybe?

The PS clothing offering is really stepping-up at the moment and I for one thank you and the team for it.

Dan James

It’s taken a couple of looks at it but I like it. Part of what was putting me off was the colour of the buttons-they look beige or brown in some photos but that must just be the light.
Short sleeve linen shirts are an essential working or travelling in and around NE/SE Asia. I can understand some people’s reticence given some of the connotations but the practicality and coolness of them in hot, humid summers wins over. 37℃ for the past three days in Japan with 60%+ humidity demands short sleeve shirts.
I try to avoid ironing linen shirts for the added interest of the rumpled look but that one looks like it would need an iron every time to make the collar look right. The collar has a lovely roll to it by the way. Still contemplating the purchase.

Chris

As a fellow reader, I appreciate your sharing your use of linen shirts like the PS one. However, want to mention “some people’s reluctance” rather than “reticence,” which would mean they’re being quiet on the subject.

Teo

Hi Simon,

Maybe repeating myself but if this gets released with long sleeves, I’d be the first one to buy it! The collar design alone makes it worthwhile.

On a separate note, may I get your opinion on where a navy shirt fits into a wardrobe? I’ve been looking to get one of these lately (unsuccessfully) – seems as though it would fit quite nicely in a core casual wardrobe. Thinking of olive/beige chinos, Valstar jacket type combo – in place of a more casual navy tee.

Ashkath

Damn look at those biceps! Have you been working out Simon?

Neil Tang

Hi Simon,
Lovely take on the short-sleeve shirt.
You’ve always been very forthcoming with the pricing on PS Shop items so I wanted to find out how come this short sleeved shirt is priced the same as the long sleeve shirts?
On sizing, I was looking at the measurement on small: yoke: 45.5cm. I compared with those on my tailored dress shirt at 41cm. I don’t mind a slightly looser fit but is 4.5cm difference tad too much, you think?
Thanks.

Jim

The ghastly ill-fitting things with baggy sleeves, worn by sloppily dressed office workers in the summer, are what I can’t help but associate with short sleeved shirts, but that’s an elegant piece.

Georgios

Hi Simon,
May i ask about the bracelet you wear on your right hand ? It looks so gorgeous, where did you buy it ?

Michael

Hi Simon,
I have the Friday polo shirt in size L ,would you recommend the same size for this linen shirt? Could this shirt be worn with the PS Shorts or with linen trousers ?

BC

Interesting that you’re wearing a linen shirt with linen odd linen trousers. I assume there’s no issue there as long as the two materials are sufficiently different?

John Plummer

Hi Simon, sorry this post is abit out of place.

Have you considered a section on the site (or PS shop) where readers can upload their own photos of us wearing PS items? You provide a great range of photos of yourself in each product, but it’s useful to see how they fit on others. There’s always a huge number of questions about what size would fit best, so perhaps if we could upload photos of us, plus our measurements (chest size, weight etc,) then that would help. From a styling perspective it would also show the versatility of PS items.

I don’t think i am unusual in not being based in the UK and international shipping is a huge pain if an item doesn’t fit. In particular, for the more expensive PS items (especially outerwear) reclaiming tax is a pain, and by the time we return items replacement sizes are usually sold out. Even for those in the UK, photos of different people would help, and encourage the community spirit that PS has created.

I’m sure this isn’t a new suggestion, but thought i would mention it.

JS

Simon, 

Do you wear the smaller size of brycelands sunnies? How do you find the lenses? They look quite light on their website but better on you in the pictures here. Any review you might be able to provide is helpful. I have trouble finding narrow enough frames. 

Michael

Hi,Simon
Would you wear this linen shirt with PS shorts?

Craig

Having worn this for a few weeks, I find myself liking it a lot, which is nice as it was an impulse buy. I usually don’t believe someone needs a particular body type for most clothing, but for this shirt, I think it pays to be somewhat fit, otherwise I’d go with a polo. Maybe it’s because this is linen, and doesn’t have much give; but it’s also a slim fit, and the short sleeves show off the wearer’s arms. So it shows the wearer’s shape a bit more than a softer, drapier polo. But I wouldn’t change the slim fit, I think it’s necessary to make this not appear as a dress shirt with the sleeves cut off, or as an overshirt. I also like the collar, and wouldn’t lower it or change it. It also helps differentiate this from an overshirt, which usually has a camp collar or something similar.