Spring/Summer Top 10 ’23: Shirts, shorts and a hairy cardigan

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It may still be cold outside (in the UK), but it’s late April and time for a write-up of the Spring/Summer pieces I’ve liked from our favourite brands. 

If you have any questions about other releases from these brands (or indeed brands not featured) let me know - chances are I’ve tried them, even if they didn’t quite make the list. Sometimes it’s just because they’re more standard, or not something new to me. 

Here’s hoping the weather turns soon. 

Thom Sweeney crepe-cotton T-shirt


As I noted in an article a couple of years ago, the Thom Sweeney casual collection often has some real gems in the summer: knitted polos and T-shirts, often made with tailoring in mind, always in classic colours. 

This summer the stand-out piece for me is the crepe-cotton T-shirt. The fabric is a little crispy and has nice body, it looks smart untucked but can tuck in as well. Slightly higher collar, slightly longer ribs, slightly longer sleeve too that can be worn as is or folded back for a kind of sportier look. Comes up large so you’ll probably want to size down (I’m a Small). 

Anthology knitted T-shirt


On the subject of knitted T-shirts, The Anthology have just released their knitted tee in white. They did an 'ecru' version with the original launch, but it was always a little too creamy, and certainly wore more like a pale beige in terms of what else it looked good with. The new white is better.

Their latest collection more generally - for the fifth anniversary - has quite a lot of casual shirts, long but with square hems. The thick plackets and big, square chest pockets are pretty casual, and the collars are generous too. I'm not sure about the stripes, but the raspberry pink looks interesting. Those are being released next month. Also keen to try out the made-to-order shirt service later this year.

Patagonia Baggies


Perhaps a little unexpected for PS, but there’s case to be made for Patagonia Baggies being a menswear icon. Lightweight, versatile and sustainable, they’re incredibly popular, largely because they’re easy to wear and cover activities from swimming to walking to yoga. A useful piece for holiday.

Made from recycled nylon, this isn’t a luxury short but few luxury ones could cover all that. There’s a five-inch and seven-inch inseam option; I prefer the five. 

Steve McQueen sweatshirt


I’m surprised I haven’t included this piece from Toys McCoy before, as I’ve had it for three years and it’s such a personal favourite. The sweat is great quality, but the thing that sets it apart is that faded blue, which verges on purple. It’s such an unusual shade in menswear but very wearable, perhaps because it’s close enough to shades of denim. 

The three-quarters sleeve, equally, is unusual but I find sporty and flattering. It looks much more like a beaten-up sweat than the feminine associations I can imagine readers worrying about. It even convinced me to cut down an old sweat that had too-short sleeves. (But it does come in long-sleeve too if you prefer.)

Connolly cotton/linen popover


A reader asked recently about the fit of a ready-made shirt I was wearing. I still wear MTM shirts most of the time but the fabrics are so limited, particularly with more casual styles, that I often wear RTW for less formal shirts. I’d been looking for a really dark navy summer shirt material, for example, and not found anything I liked, until I found this inky cotton/linen popover at Connolly. 

If I was having it made, I’d have that chest pocket a little smaller, and if it wasn’t a casual summer popover I’d have the body tapered. But otherwise it’s great, with a good collar height on me and the right sleeve length. There are also two shades of pink - one very subtle, one very bright - alongside this navy. 

Post O’Alls madras shirt


I’m always surprised how few checked, or even just brightly patterned shirts I like. Browsing a long rail of vintage checked shirts in the Real McCoy’s archive recently, there wasn’t a single one I liked; they always seem too strong, too stark. 

This madras-style summer shirt from Post O’Alls is an exception - pretty much the only check I like among the current Clutch shirts as well. It’s probably because of the number of soft colours, plus the iKat-style stripes that soften it further. 

As above with the Connolly shirt this is a casual piece, not necessarily something I’d wear with tailoring, and I would perhaps have the body tapered if it proved too boxy. 

L.E.J silk 1-pocket officer’s shirt


There’s a bit of a theme of ready-made shirts in this season’s Top 10. We read about L.E.J in Wednesday’s article, where Manish and André showed how they like to wear Luke’s sometimes slightly unusual designs. This is just my endorsement for one of those pieces, the 1-pocket officer’s shirt in cream silk, having bought one myself. 

The collar is lightly made but has enough support to sit well under a collar, and the silk is beautiful. I like the origin story for the chest pocket’s button, which is a different colour to the rest in reference to officer’s shirts that were often mismatched because of a shortage of supplies. But I’d probably prefer one the same colour and might change it. 

Perhaps the theme here is that for a RTW shirt to be anything like MTM, you’ll inevitably have to change something - but there's nothing wrong with that. 

Ralph Lauren summer rollneck


I’ve been looking for a summer sweater with a little rolled neckline like this for a while. Done right, it can be more flattering than a crewneck and add a little touch to something quite plain, but most are too high or wide for me; this one from Purple Label is perfect. 

It’s also the perfect shade of cream and has a lovely hand (a good example of using synthetic to give body to a pretty open cotton knit), but is predictably expensive. One for a treat one day, or try to get in the sale. 

Bryceland’s rayon scarf


The rayon scarves that Ethan and Kenji wear always seemed a little too quirky for me, but I recently tried a new black version with a subtle diamond pattern and found it much easier. It’s nice under a jacket, perhaps over a crewneck or T-shirt when you want something against the collar, and as a small, slightly dandyish touch in an evening outfit. 

The rayon will wrinkle if you tie it, but I rarely do that and it’s not too hard to press if you do. The UK website says it’s sold out of them, but actually there are some in the London store. And the non-UK site (shipping from Hong Kong to everywhere else in the world, linked to above) also has some. 

Canadian Sweater, at Beige


This is last on the list because it’s not Spring/Summer, but I only got one recently and it’s the first longer cowichan-type knit I’ve really liked. I’ve also been wearing it a lot as outerwear, whenever it’s been cold. 

It’s a very traditional piece. Coarse, thick wool, chunky brass zip; very warm but only a luxury piece in the fact it’s hand-knitted. The length covers the bum, but there’s a two-way zip that I always use to leave it fastened just around the waist and perhaps the chest. 

It’s also a great example of how good Beige is at curating its range. There’s a very wearable cream, pictured, some more traditional styles for those that like that, and a very funky butterfly version that sold out quickly. 

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Hi Simon, I was wondering if the cotton sweater would get a good use in the British summer? Also, would you suggest a slightly smarter colour such as navy or grey if I were to match it with linen or high twist tailored trousers?

Many thanks,


Oh right.

How about Rubato’s new cotton sweaters if you have tried them? Or the one from A&S you are wearing in this article (https://www.permanentstyle.com/2021/08/playing-around-with-white-bucks.html)? I assume they look certainly smarter but am not sure whether they would be wearable for the summer.


Great, thank you. I was wondering if you have seen Rubato’s cotton knit in nero colour in person? If so, would you say it is basically black?


Hi Simon, are the Patagonia shorts proper swim shorts? If not, do you have a recommendation for a good quality swimshort? Thanks


Can you wear them with boxers? The internal mesh is confusing to me if they’re not meant as swim shorts.


Have you tried the Ripa Ripa swim shorts? They seem appealing to the PS audience as far as style goes. I ordered some to try on.


I liked their retro 1960s style and their presentation. I have not received them yet. They are made in a shirt factory near naples (so they claim). The company must have been around for some years, also available through the Rake some years ago as far as I remember. (I don’t buy there any more.)


I kept this one from the two I ordered: https://riparipa.com/collections/swim-all/products/notte-fonda
l like the cut and the fabric and the details like the rope drawstring. Compared to the Patagonias (5 inch) the cut is shorter and more slim, but not overly so. I chose a Large compared to my Medium Patagonias. The fabric is matte and dry. The company’s goal is apparently to make it feel more like cotton despite being synthetic, on which I think they are doing a nice job.

Peter Hall

I’ve really struggled to find a good Madras. Its always the yellow- just to much or the shade too bright.The muted colours seem perfect in this shirt.


John Simons has a couple of genuine Madras options that could suit you. Each one is available in long sleeves, short sleeves or as a popover with short sleeves. They are made in London and are priced at a reasonable £120. An alternative is a Drake’s popover at £225. Ralph Lauren has several Madras shirts this summer but, as usual, the quality and fit are inconsistent.


Not all of the John Simons Madras shirts have bright or strong colours, hence my comment that a couple could suit Peter. The Chico and Peraza would be my suggrestions – https://johnsimons.co.uk/shop/?collection%5B%5D=indian-madras.

Btw, the Post Overalls Madras shirt is only available in extra large from Clutch Cafe. The XL measures a generous 53.5 inches across the chest. It might be worth adding a comment on that in the article.


The PS “madras” linen is from Thomas Mason, presumably made in Europe rather than India. Like John Simons, I prefer genuine Madras cotton which tends to be made in brighter colours because that’s what the locals want and wear.

A couple of years ago, I bought a few genuine Indian Madras shirts by Gant (very cheap in the sales) for my holiday home. The quality and fit was remarkably good for the price, much better than Ralph Lauren. Unfortunately, it seems that Gant has dropped them and now uses checked cloth made in China instead.

Peter Hall


Thanks, I quite like the darker hued shirts,but the yellow/green ones are a little bright for me.I wonder if they would lighten after a few washes.

The Gant Madras occasionally pop up on Vinted but collectors know what they are!


I was not aware that Gant madras shirts are collectable. Mine were half-price or even less from Fenwick’s, John Lewis and independent retailers. Some are brightly coloured, others are more muted.

My wife likes Gant shirts because they wash well, dry quickly and iron easily so they are ideal for holidays. She finds the Ivy collar rolls of Drake’s and John Simons’ (in my home wardrobe) difficult to get right so I iron them myself.

Peter Hall

It’s the ones made from traditional fabric.
I do like Gant shirts,especially the Portuguese made pinponts.The collar rolls are very nice.


Have you had a look at Gitman Vintage?


What I particularly like about John Simons madras shirts is how they bleed and become more subdued over time. Off topic a bit I know.


Yes, they are the real deal and I wash mine separately. It’s an important issue and care is not off topic at all.


Re: Steve McQueen sweatshirt, The Real McCoy’s still stock a 10oz in 130 Purple (colour) which when faded would achieve similar effect!
The images on the site make the sweat look darker than it is.

Alistair Bennet

Simon, given your many previous posts where you talk down mixed fabrics featuring synthetics in anything other than performance/sports wear, I am very surpised that you list this RL garment which is 30% nylon.

Alistair Bennet

Thanks Simon. Yes, I got that, but 30% sounds like a very high proportion. I can remember in the past you have been dismissive of cotton corduroy which is not 100% cotton which might contain 3% elastine, so I was a tad confused.

Peter Hall

I think this is where the intelligent customer is so important . When you start on your quality journey,it’s an easy pitfall thinking every fabric has to be natural, whereas the performance part of a garment often needs a little synthetic stretch. I’ve lost count of the number of cotton sweatshirts where neck or cuffs have lost shape.
Obviously synthetics replacing natural fabrics for cost reasons is never ideal, but ,I think you lose a little bit of tstyle (shape) if you discount clothing which has not been designed to perform correctly.


Hi Simon, is there any upper or lower limit you would say to the percent of synthetics in an item, especially when you correctly note the garments are of good to high quality?


Wouldn’t 30% synthetic potentially impact the way garment ages over time, generally speaking? I guess its a matter of compromises for the look you want.

Husbands latest releases include trousers in “polywool”, 50% wool 50% polyester. Thats a composition I’d expect from H&M tailoring. Knowing the brand and observing the price point I’d rule out cost saving so it must be for the look. What do you think Simon?




Has yours retained the unique purplish hue after fading? I’ve already got a faded navy sweatshirt from Buzz Rickson, and I’m considering the McQueen sweatshirt, which sounds appealing because of the unique color.


While interesting, the Thom Sweeney t-shirt and the Ralph Lauren summer rollneck are awefully overpriced, compared e.g. with the fabulous PS t-shirts or something from Pini Parma that looks exactely like the Ralph Lauren summer rollneck for a fifth or sixth of the price.

The rest does not really appeal to me, but again tastes are subjective.

My favourites would be more like:

Luca Avitabile overshirts

Rubato shirts

Rogue Territory Ecru Silveridge jeans

PS shorts (I do not have them yet, but they look great)

Pini Parma Safari Jackets


A cotton t-shirt for 300GBP seems like a joke. That’s the price of a good bespoke shirt!


Hi Simon. Just a quick point/question about Madras. I completely understand that many shirt options start with brighter colored patterns. But good quality Madras is famous for the way it softens and fades with use and washing (“It bleeds!”) to acheive that great washed-out and worn effect. Given your obvious love for breaking in denim, is there a reason you’d be less inclined to break-in a Madras shirt? Thanks!


That’s a great idea. And I think a “New-10 Wash-25 Wash” type of fabric comparison would be even more useful for Madras than it would be for raw denim, since washing a shirt is more standardized and the results would be more uniform across all the fabric. With raw denim the results can vary so much from person to person (depending on amount of wear, how it’s washed, etc.). As for why companies don’t do that for Madras, maybe it’s simply the fact that good quality Madras is simply less common. For example, when a maker gets their hands on a deadstock bolt of old genuine bleeding Madras, the shirts can sell out in days. So there might be the assumption that if a customer is buying at that level, they already know why the fabric is special. One of those “if you know, you know” situations. Cheers!

Peter Hall

Is it possible to find an authentic fading Madras nowadays? I know it’s the holy grail of the Ivy set,but would a modern fabric ever fade in the same way? Is it technically possible to achieve ?

Peter Hall

When I opened PS this morning,I didn’t think I would be buying a Madras beach mat bucket hat.


You,sir,are a bad influence.


I’m sure most people here already know the story behind “bleeding Madras” (Brooks Brothers, a desperate fabric supplier and a feature in Seventeen Magazine circa the late 1950s). My understanding is that traditional Madras dyeing methods had to change due to the environmental toxicity of the dyes originally used. So they were replaced with either modern vegetable dyes that didn’t bleed and fade in quite the same way or chemical dyes that were colorfast for convenience. There are other important qualities to the fabric as well (“authentic” means it was hand-woven in Chennai/Madras from 100% cotton). Again, the demand for Madras from the 1960s to the 80s meant there was a shift to mass production of the fabric on industrial looms, which had a a negative impact on the cottage industry in India still making it the traditional way. Bolts of old deadstock Madras do sometimes turn up, but they sell out almost instantly. I think the last time I saw one project with old bleeding Madras was almost 5 years ago. However, as Simon says below, there are some boutique brands today sourcing handwoven Madras from makers in Chennai and trying to get as close to the original bleeding effect as possible.


I think it’s mostly that. However, the original Madras fabric also usually came raw/unwashed. So it would also shrink like crazy, being a loose weave cotton. Maybe the closest comparison would be something like unsanforized selvedge denim from the 1950s. The irony of the whole “bleeding” characteristic that many believe is a hallmark of authentic Madras is it was a marketing strategy to recover from a mistake. The care instructions for original Madras were actually very detailed about how to first soak the garment to fix the dyes to prevent fading and keep the colors bright (and manage shrinkage). Having said that, I’m lucky enough to own a couple of vintage Madras shirts (Gant) and the bleeding/fading is unique compared to my more contemporary ones made with modern vegetable dyes: the colors are lightened and desaturated as you’d expect. But on the older shirts, the boundaries between the colors in the pattern are also blurred and softened. It’s almost like the plaid has gone out of focus, if that makes sense. I’m honestly not sure if that is a result of the traditional dyes themselves “bleeding” or if it’s from age and washing. I just know there is subtle but interesting difference.

Peter Hall

I think a comparison of available Madras would be interesting,Simon.
An investigation for Inspector Manish, our very own Pink Panther.


Go to Chennai and visit the markets where you will find Madras checks that will bleed


Hi Simon,

On the topic of spring/summer shirts, I’m having a couple of linen ones made, and I can’t seem to decide on whether to get side back pleats or a box pleat. I very much enjoy the box pleat I have on my Oxford shirts, but I don’t know if I feel the same about linen. I also think side pleats are slightly more unusual, and as a result slightly cooler. Any advice? Thanks!


Thank you so much for the quick input, Simon! I do have the rather annoying tendency to overthink even the smallest of things, so I’ll just go with my first instinct and get side pleats hahaha (mainly because I really like the RTW Emma Willis linens that have them!)


Hi Marc, glad I’m not the only one with a tendency to overthink clothing purchases – strangely not the case with other things.


I got two of 10 (baggies, anthology) and was planning the lej shirt before this came out, so I’m happy to be on the right track!


Hi Simon
Thanks for this interesting article. I have some of these and similar. I particularly like the cowichan although the plain darker colours from the Real McCoy’s version better suits my needs.
Incidentally I too was distracted by the button on the LEJ shirt, having re-read the article on Wednesday they are not something I’d go for. I’m not sure about the name of the “come up to the studio “ shirt on the website. For me Drakes do a very good (IMO) range of work shirt’s. . Thanks for the heads up on the rayon scarf.
Good to see it’s not all new either.


Thanks Simon. I agree wholeheartedly on the Real McCoys. I’m sure LEJ is good quality. just not a design that I would wear. Thanks again


Hi, interesting discussion on cotton knitwear. I noticed Rubato just released new ones, that seem very nice, and heavy – have you tried those, and do you think they are likely to lose their shape?

david rl fan

Hi Simon, here is probably not the right place but I saw the advert for Sanpetuna.
Every company website I’ve gone to from the adverts as been 100 per cent legitimate, can you vouch for Sanpetuna? And thanks for the above reply to me

david rl fan

Thanks, just found their contact details which helps. Also looking through the archives it’s been about 10 since you did anything much on UK glove makers.


Hello, Simon!
My question is a bit off-topic with the article but… Is the so-called “old money” style the same as what you call the “casual chic” style? And would you consider writing an article about it?


Any idea about the washing instructions for the Thom Sweeney T shirt Simon? I can’t see it on the website. Thanks.


Hand wash (or dry cleaning), says the label. I assume hand wash then, as I can’t imagine anyone dry cleaning T shirts all the time.


Thanks – I took a chance and bought one anyway as they were running out in my size. I can live with it but not impressed at lack of info on web.

Beautiful piece though.


A praise for having included shorts from Patagonia. A brand with a very good quality/price ratio with a long established attitude to sustainability (well before the issue became popular).
I do not agree on the fact that for a high quality tshirts and sweatshirts you have to pay three digit figure.


The Patagonia shorts are great, provided you can bear the company’s self-righteous marketing spin…


Look at the waist and rise on those white trousers in the first pic. Exactly where they should be.


Is it me or are the Patagonia baggies pictured – navy 5 inch – impossible to find? The link takes you to a green pair and searching online turns up navy in 6.5/7 inch or every other colour in 5inch. Quite frustrating!


Hi Simon, just a quick question. Would you prefer to wear under PS overshirt Thom Sweeney’s men’s white crepe tee or it’s knitted cotton raglan tee? Please also explain why you choose one over the other. Regards H


Hi Simon,
which color do you prefer for Baggies?


Hi simon have you tried the casatlantic shirts?

I think this looks great with a moderate sized collar but the shirt composition is strange for what i think is a high summer shirt with wool in the mix. How would this wear you think?


Hey simon after wearing loafers and canvas sneakers for summer for many years i have been thinking of trying different styles of sandals and how they can posibly go with a casual stylr on weekends during high summer (knit tee/polo/long sleeve linen camp shirt up top and gurkha khaki shorts down below). Im wondering what are your thoughts on leather sliders by shoe brands (https://myrqvist.com/en-row/products/solvik-black-suede) or even paraboot sandals like these (https://www.cettire.com/sg/products/paraboot-pacific-buckled-sandals-95112339)?


Hi Simon,

Have you seen the Anthology waffle jersey Cuban collar shirts? From a distance, it might seem like a nice shirt for resort/beach wear, possibly thrown over a t-shirt, but the waffle jersey gives me pause.


Can shorts such as these be ideal for wearing in summer on weekends at home or should it be reserved only for certain sports activities?


What do you generally wear while sleeping? Is it pyajamas?


Do you think these shorts look good at home?


Yes, like pyjamas.