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, it’s 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 21 best camp collar shirts worth slipping on right away.
Don’t Think Too Hard, This Is the Camp Shirt to Get
Full stop, just get this. It’s the perfect color for any palette, it’s got an impeccable cut, and the lightweight linen fabric is ideal for wearing as a light overshirt or as a standalone shirt in the dead of summer. NN07 makes this every spring/summer for a reason—it’s very, very good.
The Museum-Worthy Camp Shirt
It’s giving Matisse in the botanical garden. It’s also giving you your swaggiest era yet.
The Always In-Style Non-Soprano Camp Shirt
Camp shirts don’t always have to look like you’re on vacation or like you’re in a mob. Pendleton’s iconic Board shirt’s been in the rotation for decades and even inspired the name for the precursor to the Beach Boys, the Pendletones. The straight fit is perfect as is but also looks incredible sized up and worn as an overshirt.
The Uncategorizeable Hybrid
The gene pool for shirts has bubbled and coalesced to produce this: a knit top that’s got strands of DNA that trace back to a T-shirt, a camp shirt, and a lace table runner. The chimera of all things good means this shirt (???) can hang with just about any outfit you can think up.
The Camp Shirt That Could Make You the Next James Bond
The best James Bond was hands-down Sean Connery, specifically in Goldfinger and even more specifically by the pool. Admittedly his tasty shirt did all the heavy lifting. While we don’t have much confidence that the franchise will elect a shirt, an inanimate object, as the next 007, we do have a great deal of confidence that this mid-century-influenced joint will make you a likely contender.