They were once considered something of a faux pas, but printed shirts — the kind you’ll find sporting camp collars and even campier prints — aren’t going anywhere. By all indications, they’re here to stay: from the psychedelic runways of Pierpaolo Piccioli’s spring show for Valentino to the scene outside LFWM, bolder shirting has turned out to be one of the sartorial power moves of this summer. And why shouldn’t it be? A printed shirt, preferably in textured materials like linen or rayon, instantly lifts one’s fit — out of the business casual quagmire and into the realm of caddish nostalgia. To help you channel your inner Magnum, P.I. here are eight printed shirts that let you ‘go big or go home’ in all the best possible ways.
If any shirting brand has the ‘it’ factor, it’s got to be Gitman Bros Vintage. The American heritage label boasts a diverse clientele that includes everybody from Japanese fashion insiders to Leon Bridges, thanks to creations like this orange ‘Hokusai’ shirt. Cut using rayon and featuring prints from the eponymous ukiyo-e painter, this is a tasteful addition to any Japanophile’s wardrobe — in timeless proportions sure to reward simplicity from the waist down.
Approx HK$1,992 from Gitman Bros Vintage.
Known for replicating Americana via a distinctly Japanese lens, Kapital takes this granular detail-oriented approach and applies it to the ubiquitous Hawaiian shirt this summer. Their latest design blends traditional Alohan and native American iconography, leaving plenty of negative space in between — so you can appreciate the sheer and slubby handle of the rayon/silk blend fabric.
HK$3,724 from Haven.
Every season, Mr P. (Mr Porter’s surprisingly well-made in-house label) delivers the goods with a capsule of chic, value-driven wardrobe essentials. This summer is no different. Their voile shirt — made to last thanks to knife pleats and a traditional split yoke — is the backdrop to a tangle of exploded tricolour foliage — a fitting reference point considering the sort of island fever this piece will induce in you. Given the print’s scale and visual noise, we recommend pairing it with cream shorts and slides for foolproof beach style.
Approx HK$1,145 from Mr Porter.
Even if you haven’t heard of Soulive, it’s likely you’ll recognise the brand’s parent company, Japan Blue Group. Known for cult denim brands like Momotaro, Soulive has been a part of Japan Blue since 1992; and derives its inspiration, first and foremost, from Okayama. That love and devotion to the ‘Denim Capital’ of Japan is evident in the brand’s new camp shirt. There’s no question its silhouette is well-made, but that’s almost incidental to the fabric itself — which is mindblowing. Unlike numerous Western brands (which use the more common method of screen printing), this shirt’s pattern is woven directly into kimono grade cotton that is subsequently shrunk and resist-dyed. Bound to be among the priciest shirts you’ll cop this summer, this is an exceptional expression of timeless Japanese craft that is worth every single penny.
Approx HK$2,773 from No Man Walks Alone.
Norse Projects is to Danish menswear what René Redzepi is to New Nordic cuisine. The Copenhagen-based retailer slash brand champions untrendy silhouettes and strong attention to detail, which comes across in their latest iteration of the ‘Carsten’ — a short sleeved summer shirt made at an exclusive factory in Portugal. The medium sized print, depicting various kinds of flowering and leafy flora, is splashed across an appropriately contrasting backdrop. Cut with a high hem and slightly boxy fit, it’s an excellent addition to your summertime wardrobe which can be worn layered, as a statement item and with a variety of bottoms.
Approx HK$1,312 from Norse Store.
Despite nearly 50 years in the biz, Sir Paul Smith’s designs remain as quixotic and life-affirming as ever. Take this camp-collar shirt (made out of a blend of linen and tencel) for instance — the colour alone just screams ‘fun in the sun’. A large, evenly spaced hibiscus print cleverly references the gradient-style dye which is used to treat the fabric throughout. Most definitely a statement piece, we recommend pairing everything else back when wearing it. After all, you want to ensure a certain level of visual interest rather than fatigue.
Approximately HK$1,784 from Mr Porter.
If you’re looking for an Aloha shirt with some serious historical credentials, then Sun Surf should definitely be on your radar. With over four decades of heritage, the label has a granular focus on recreating authentic Hawaiian shirting. That means the works: period-accurate prints; 100 percent rayon fabrics; camp collars; and even coconut buttons. Their ‘Good Old Times’ style is intentionally cut loose and lightweight — worn alongside some 501s and a pair of low-top Chuck Taylors, it’s an assured mixture of Tiki cool.
HK$2,010 from Harvey Nichols.
Few shirtmakers still do everything from scratch, but that’s the exact philosophy which underpins Tony Shirtmakers. The independent New York brand makes all of its shirts out of a small Brooklyn workshop — overseeing each step of the production process from cutting and sewing to printing of graphics by hand. Their latest camp collar, made using a gauzy taupe linen, is emblazoned with an all-over fern print — developed in conjunction with graphic designer Bang Tran. Featuring a box cut and square hem, wear it over some bone-coloured trousers and espadrilles for a louche holiday ensemble.
HK$2,539 from No Man Walks Alone.