4 Ways to Wear a Camp Collar Shirt

By: Peter Nguyen
Last Updated: June 8, 2018

While minimalism is a great goal to have when it comes to your wardrobe, there are some downsides as mentioned in my post on “How to build a minimalist wardrobe.”

The biggest one is boredom. A minimalist wardrobe by design means owning fewer things, which means fewer options. And this is where picking up a trend or two each season can actually help.

My clients are sometimes afraid of buying into a trend because they assume it’s going to be hard to wear. But trendy pieces can be extremely versatile when you center it around a few classic essentials.

Think of it this way:

A well crafted minimalist wardrobe is like eating a perfect cheese pizza every day. I don’t know about you, but I can destroy a traditional margarita pizza almost every day.

But for those time when you’re absolutely sick of plain pizza, you can throw on a new topping combo or two and mix it up. That’s how I show my guys to incorporate trends into their style.

What you DON’T want to do is scrap your entire wardrobe and go all out trendy. That’s what gets most guys in trouble in the first place (thanks to something I call “Panic Mode Shopping”)

The base is still the same, there are just a few surface-level additions. That way when the trend dies out as they are designed to do, you’re still left with a solid, timeless wardrobe.

Let me give you an example of how to do this with one of my favorite trends right now, the camp collar shirt.


I’ve been a fan of printed camp collar shirts (aka “Hawaiian” shirts) for a few years now, and they’re reaching their peak this summer. For you guys that haven’t picked one up yet, I recommend you jump on it now and have some fun this summer.

And they’re not as tricky to wear as it seems. Tag them in into any outfit that would call for a collared shirt and you’re golden. Let me show you how versatile they can be.

I went with a toned down, camp collar style beach shirt from Bonobos. These looks can easily work with a more traditional shirt with a bolder print, just make sure you’re in the appropriate setting. I wouldn’t go full floral Hawaiian under my suit at a business meeting, but a rooftop bar on a summer night? Be my guest!

Look 1: The Basic

What most guys would probably go for. Just pair the shirt with some light wash denim and an old-school sneaker, like Converse All-Stars. The perfect look for grabbing some lunch outside with friends.

Key Piece: Light Wash Blue Denim

Nothing instantly says summer vibes like a pair of light blue wash denim. Going lighter with your colors is a trick I teach my clients to help them go “brighter” without needing to reach for colors like yellow.

Surprisingly, I’m a big fan of Uniqlo’s stretch denim (which is what I’m wearing in the photo). It’s hard to beat the $49 price point. If you’re looking for a pair that will last you a lot longer and something you’d care to keep around, The Jean Shop has some excellent entry level premium denim.

Basic Look Items: Bonobos Beach Shirt in Black Ikat, $88 | Jean Shop Kip Stretch Denim, $195 | Warby Parker Flynn Sunglasses, $95 | Converse Natural White All-Star High Tops, $54

Look 2: Edgy

A 50s inspired vibe. Tuck a tank top into a pair of black chinos, leave the shirt unbuttoned. Finish off the outfit with a cool necklace, vintage belt, and leather penny loafers.

Key Piece: Tank Top

This look really isn’t the same without the tank top. I tried variations of this look with a handful of designer brands, but nothing beats a classic mult-pak rib tank. I’ve road tested a few of them, and I keep going back to good old Calvin Kleins.

Edgy Look Items: Bonobos Beach Shirt in Black Ikat, $88Calvin Klein Rib Tank Top (3-pack), $19.97 | Miansai Palm Tree Pendant Necklace, $165 | Banana Republic Plaque Buckle Leather Belt, $47 | Cole Haan Pinch Grand Penny Loafers, $200

Look 3: Beach

Camp shirts were made for the beach. Tuck them into your swim trunks to polish it up and rock them with some espadrilles.

Don’t forget some essential accessories: sunglasses, a proper straw hat, and your canvas tote to hold your book, sunscreen, and beach towel.

Key Piece: Summer Sunglasses

I have to admit, I only recently got my first pair of sunglasses. I always put off getting some because I needed a prescription.

After popping into Warby Parker one day and finally taking the 5 LONG MINUTES to get a pair, I’m can’t imagine a sunny day without them. Warby just came out with a new selection of Summer Sunglasses, and the Haskell’s in Whiskey Tortoise are a pair you can easily wear year round.

Beach Look Items: Bonobos Beach Shirt in Black Ikat, $88 | H&M Dark Blue Swim Trunks, $9Borsalino Grosgrain Trimmed Panama Hat, $320 | Warby Parker Haskell Sunglasses, $95Miansai Palm Tree Pendant Necklace, $165 | Maison Kitsune Shopper Tote, $56 |Castaner Pablo Canvas Espadrilles, $105

Look 4: Date

The advantage with a toned down shirt: you can throw it under a blazer and no one will bat an eye.

Don’t be too precious with the buttoning. Pop open your collar, let your chest breath a bit. You are on a date after all. If you go with a bolder tropical print, make sure you pick a date location that’s a bit more casual.

Key Piece: The Hair

Look, it would be easy to pick the suit or even the shoes, but when you are dressing this slick, everything needs to be on point, especially your hair.

I’ve been rocking a Jon Hamm ala Baby Driver slick back undercut lately (the perfect hair for this look), and have been searching far and wide for a product with the right consistency and shine that I want.

Gels have a great shine and hold, but dry hard. Waxes and pomades are either too soft when they’re shiny, or too matte with stronger holds.

Enter R+Co’s Motorcyle, a hybrid of gel and wax, what they’re dubbing a flexible gel. All the shine you love of a gel, with the pliability of a wax. Part way through the demo video I was sold, and I’m confident you will be too.

Date Look Items: Bonobos Beach Shirt in Black Ikat, $88 |(Styled) Suit Supply Washington Suit, No longer available, Alternative shown: Prada Midnight Blue Slim-fit suit, $2,580 | Gucci Brixton Collapsable Loafers, $730 | R+Co Motorcycle Flexible Gel, $26


In the comments below, share the one you picked and how you like to wear it!

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