If you were to power-rank clothes by their DGAF-ness, the best camp shirts would land near the very top. Partly, that’s because they’ve been donned by a certain type of nonconformist poster boy for going on 60 years now: Hunter S. Thompson, Elvis, Russell Westbrook, Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites, just to name a few. But mostly because that’s precisely how these camp shirts were designed to look. The two-tiered camp collar (hence the name) is meant to lay flat and open at the neck—no ties allowed. (It’s no wonder some folks call ‘em “vacation shirts.”) Right-now versions trade a muumuu’s airiness for a more boxy silhouette, delivering a shirt that’s inherently nonchalant, and all kinds of cool.
At the moment, we’re partial to raucously patterned camp shirts—we’ve been championing floral-print Hawaiian shirts and bold-striped bowling shirts for a minute now. But, as you’ll see among our cream-of-the-crop picks below, designers are making them for all tastes and budgets. Try one tucked into highwater trousers, unbuttoned over a T-shirt (or if you’re really on one, over nothing at all), or lapels-out with your best off-duty suit. Whatever you decide, just make sure you try one. Here are the 20 best camp collar shirts worth slipping on right away.
The Still-In-Your-Comfort-Zone Camp Shirt
Maybe you’re the kind of guy with six pairs of the same black jeans in his closet. The kind of guy who knows his sartorial strengths and plays to them, and is a little put off by people like us trying to push his limits all the time. Like, Slow your roll, GQ, you don’t know me like that. Well, hear us out, because we’ve found a patterned camp shirt even you can appreciate. This Club Monaco version has the kind of oversized cut and out-there print we were raving about in the intro, but it’s mellowed out in easy-to-pull-off, exceedingly badass black and white. It’s the very best way to dip your toes into the wider, wilder world of menswear—whether or not you decide to take the plunge after that is entirely up to you.
The Just-Landed-in-Miami Camp Shirt
Ready to kick back and let loose in a shirt that isn’t the least bit restrained? Casablanca turns out the sort of sexy, glamorous clothes you’d typically see in a DJ Khaled video: silky and decadent materials abound, as do citrus fruit motifs and luscious botanical prints. This is a shirt best worn with rose-tinted wraparound shades and an exotically-named cocktail in hand—even if you’re only heading down the block for a park hang.
The Perfectly Retro Camp Shirt
This fetching camp shirt is Todd Snyder at his best: taking one of the most classic prints in the game—in this case, a preppy plaid madras—and updating it just enough in the fit department that both your still-dapper grandpa and your too-cool nephew might ask to borrow it. Tucked it into a pair of roomy cotton chinos with a beat-up pair of penny loafers on foot—and maybe a navy blazer—you’ll feel like you walked off the pages of Take Ivy straight into 2021.
The Buy Two (or Three) Camp Shirt
Can’t stop wearing Dickies’ fan-favorite work pants? Try taking one of its sturdy-as-hell button-ups out for a spin, too. Cut from a stiff twill that’ll keep getting better with age, with a pair of roomy chest pockets for holding whatever you got on hand, it’ll toughen up your looks with a touch of greaser attitude.
The Art Snob Camp Shirt
If you want your camp shirt to feel like a fever dream, Endless Joy—an upstart UK outfit founded by artists Stevie and Alexandra Anderson—spins rich folkloric narratives on its soft and slouchy menswear. Case in point: this far-out banger of a button-up, inspired by the tale of Romulus and Remus. Whether you use it to liven up your slickest suit or leave it fully unbuttoned poolside, it’ll punch up your warm weather rotation with just the right amount of Old Masters swagger.