The Camp-Collar Shirt That'll Transform Your Entire Wardrobe
This is going to sound crazy, but I assure you it's true: A single shirt drastically changed my life for the better. It came into my life last year. It was by Uniqlo. It was incredibly soft, with the perfect combination of weight and drape. And it was a little boxy, with slightly longer sleeves and, crucially, a relaxed camp collar. It became, in a matter of weeks, the go-to piece of clothing for braving the unrelenting summer heat with my style intact.
And then, my heart broke. Because the shirt was actually from Uniqlo U, a seasonal sub-collection of design forward items from the brand. I'd picked up three more, but it had sold out. And I wanted 10 of these things. Twenty, even! I mourned. And then, this year, Uniqlo added it to its main collection. It's not sold out. It's still available in a range of sizes and colors. And it costs less than $30.
You should go buy a ton of these shirts, and you should do it right now. Here's why.
It's the perfect warm day layer.
You know those days when the thought of piling on even a stitch more clothing makes you want to melt into a puddle? They come around pretty often in New York, so I know them, too. But I also feel underdressed going about my day in just jeans or chinos and a tee, so I always reach for a layer—and I know I'm not the only one who's like this. But even the lightest blazer can be stifling when the temperature and humidity are both hovering around 90. Enter this shirt. It's a tiny bit of extra weight, but you barely feel it. It flows with you, blows open in the wind, and puts that critical final touch on your outfit.
It's versatile as hell.
Maybe you don't like layering a camp-collar shirt over a tee. That's possible! I think it's crazy, but you might think I'm crazy so let's call it a draw. If my preferred style isn't your thing, try this shirt on its own. The 50/50 cotton-and-rayon blend feels great on your skin. The style is a little laid back and a little dressy, so it's great for business-casual offices. And if it's not sweltering? Layer it under something, like a lightweight chore jacket or even a blazer. It works, I assure you.
It's priced low enough that you can stock up.
I'm not kidding you when I say I want more of these shirts. They're just so comfortable, convenient, and stylish in a "I don't need to scream about my approach with an extra-loud print" kind of way. (Though there are also some great printed options available, if you're in the mood.) And for $30, I can stock up on multiples without melting my credit card. You should, too. But if you're still on the fence, I implore you: Try just one. Wear it around for a while. Then go back and buy a whole collection. It'll give me a chance to snag a few more of my own in the meantime.
Prop Styling by John Olson; Photography by Allie Holloway
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.