Best camp collar shorts
Image: MR PORTER

Why a camp collar shirt is the epitome of casual summer style

08 Jul 2024 | |By Hitanshi Kamdar

Inherently cool and endlessly chic, camp collar shirts are no longer just for mobsters and bowlers

All products are chosen independently by our editors. Luxury London may earn commission on items purchased.

Forget what you think you know about the camp collar shirt. Once the preserve of American bowling teams and particularly flamboyant organised crime bosses, over the past few years this retro style has undergone a renaissance, becoming a summer staple of well-dressed men across the globe.  First introduced as a holiday alternative to formal tailored shirts in the 1950s and named for their flat camp – or Cuban – collars, today they retain their laidback weekend-ready appeal.

Far from Sopranos cosplay, however, modern versions are cut in flattering, boxier fits. And while we’re unashamed fans of campy camp collars with Hawaiian-inspired floral prints and bold bowling stripes, designers are now making them in options to suit every taste and style. 

Excellent for throwing over a pair of swim shorts at a European beach club, a camp collar shirt will also work wonders tucked into trousers for a miraculously sunny day at one of the UK’s beautiful beaches or – if you’re feeling adventurous – with a linen suit for a bold wedding guest look. However you style them, you need one (or a few) in your arsenal.

From Percival’s flamboyant designs and Samsoe Samsoe’s minimal Scandi-chic creations to timeless classics from Paul Smith, read on for our pick of the best camp collar shirts.

Norse Projects Castern shirt

Danish brand Norse Projects draws on its Scandinavian heritage for its minimal, luxurious and uber-cool menswear. Case in point, this seemingly simple camp collar shirt made in a sturdy cotton and Tencel-blend and cut for a relaxed yet tailored finish. Wear lapels out with your favourite summer suit.

£160
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Orlebar Brown Hibbert Rills camp collar shirt

Lean on Orlebar Brown’s sophisticated approach to resortwear for everything from al fresco brunches in the capital to cocktails by the pool in the Maldives. Emblazoned with an intricate circle print, pair with the matching swim shorts or tailored trousers.

£295
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Polo Ralph Lauren printed camp collar shirt

Sailing away to the Mediterranean this summer? Dress the part in Polo Ralph Lauren’s nautical motif shirt. Faded for a worn-in finish, pair with bright chinos and boat shoes on board and layer over a T-shirt and linen trousers when back at home.

£200
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Universal Works camp shirt

Keen on embracing laidback out-of-office vibes without going overboard? Invest in a long-sleeved camp collar shirt. This navy gingham seersucker shirt from Nottingham-based menswear brand Universal Works is sure to be a summertime favourite. Throw over a plain crewneck T-shirt with rolled-back sleeves to nail smart-casual dressing.

£130
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Cherry Los Angeles shirt

Imbuing relaxed Americana with a streetwear spirit, Cherry Los Angeles’ camp collar shirt plays on classic bowling styles. Cut for a boxy fit, its breathable fabric and old-school bowling team graphics add a sporty edge without straying into pastiche.

£360
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Samsoe Samsoe Saoscar shirt

We can’t get enough of Scandi simplicity and Samsoe Samsoe’s clean yet eye-catching designs are clear winners. Take, for example, the Saoscar shirt with its relaxed fit, deep olive hue and all-over tonal print. Nonchalant and fabulously chic. 

£150
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Percival Symi Cover cuban shirt

Hackney-based Percival’s camp collar shirts have been favoured by menswear mavens including Andrew Garfield, Chris Pine and Paul Mescal. Fresh from the brand’s SS24 collection, the Symi Cove cuban shirt features artwork meant to transport you to the traditional tavernas and endless ocean views of the Greek island… even if you’re stuck in rainy London.

£179
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Paul Smith camp collar shirt

Not one for wildly flamboyant patterns? This sage green shirt from Paul Smith is as minimal as it comes and will work seamlessly with tailored trousers for casual Fridays at the office while also elevating your trusted shorts-and-sandals combo on the beach.

£250
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Oliver Spencer striped shirt

Bring a touch of Riviera chic to everyday classics with Oliver Spencer’s beach blanket-striped linen shirt. Wear with a white crewneck and jeans or throw on over swim shorts for an elevated resort look.

£130
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