The PS short-sleeved shirt – Permanent Style

Last Summer, I had coffee with a friend on a hot afternoon in Mayfair. Sitting outside a pavement cafe, he was wearing loafers, beautifully tailored trousers and – to my surprise – a short-sleeved shirt.

I’ve never really liked short sleeves, but the quality, sharp collar and tapered sleeves of his elevated the style to something that seemed both elegant and very appropriate.

It felt appropriate because coolness was clearly paramount, and this was the coolest option. The style also made it clear that no jacket was intended or absent, as might have been the case with a long-sleeved shirt.

That shirt spurred a long discussion of short sleeves, as my friend knew it would. And that led to my determination to make something similar, which could be offered ready-to-wear (unlike bespoke, as his was).

Given my surprise, I won’t be surprised if this latest PS shirt offering surprises a few readers, but I’ve been wearing mine for almost a year now, and I love it. I’m a convert.

It’s particularly appealing when the shirt is worn with equally well-made and tailored pieces elsewhere, such as bespoke linen or cotton trousers, and lightweight slip-ons.

I think it’s important that the shirt is always tucked in, and looks clean doing so. So it has to be the length of a regular dress shirt – the same principle as the Friday Polo.

After that, there are two elements that separate it from other short-sleeve shirts I see.

One is the collar, which is the same high, light, gently rolling button-down used on other PS shirts. Where most short-sleeve shirts have a very soft, low collar, intended to look relaxed and casual, this aims for the opposite: the most elegant version of the style.

The second element is the sleeve, and this is the area that took longest to get right. I think Luca and I went through five samples in the end.

Most short-sleeve shirts have quite wide, square sleeves. This is the style that fits most classically was seen most often in the past, so it makes sense.

But I wanted something that was a little closer fitting, echoing not the untucked Aloha shirt – cheerfully donned at a 1950s suburban barbecue – but the rolled-up sleeves of someone a little more rugged.

That’s a look most associated with the likes of James Dean in a white T-shirt, but actually was often done with short-sleeve shirts too, as some of the images below illustrate.

More importantly, it’s a little more flattering on someone that doesn’t have very big arms. Which is why presumably guys did it, and indeed lots of people still do so today, folding back T-shirt sleeves or pushing up polo shirts.

It’s a style of sleeve that actually you find on most modern polo shirts – such as my favourite among cut-and-sewn ones, the Armoury/Ascot Chang version.

The only potential issue with a sleeve like this is that it will be too narrow for some people. And linen doesn’t have the stretch of cotton piqué.

But I’ve tried it on several friends, and it fits 90% of them, so I think the vast majority of readers will be fine. If you’re unsure, have a look at the bicep measurements in the table below and compare it to a polo shirt you own. (For reference, my bicep measurement is 34cm.)

I should make clear that I also love the camp-collar shirt that has become so popular in recent years.

Although it has a lower collar and often quite a square body, it’s a great option in the Summer and more flattering on many people than a T-shirt. I have a couple from Gitman Vintage via Trunk that I wear (shown in this post).

My favourite current version is probably the Summer Shirt from The Armoury, and I love my towelling short from Bryceland’s – even if it only really feels appropriate when I’m sitting beside a pool or in a beachside cafe.

But as with all Permanent Style products, the aim of the new shirt is not to produce something similar to what’s already out there, but to make something available that I like but cannot find. I wanted a shirt like my friend’s but couldn’t find one. So we made it.

The PS short-sleeved shirt is pure linen, using a Spence Bryson Irish linen rather than Italian alternatives, as it retains its shape better and isn’t at all transparent.

The collar is the same as all the other PS shirts, as is the fit through the body, and the handwork by Luca Avitabile’s atelier in Naples. The only style change is the sleeve.

The images show how I most often wear the shirt – with tailored linen trousers like these from my taupe MTM suit from The Armoury, and lightweight loafers like these black Sagans from Baudoin & Lange.

It’s also particularly nice under a Summer knit, like the cream cotton from Anderson & Sheppard above.

Cotton knitwear is lovely on mild days, as we often get in England during the Summer. It’s surprisingly cool yet provides a reassuring layer when the sun ducks behind the clouds.

A short-sleeve shirt underneath makes the knit cooler still, feels nice against the skin, and you don’t have the issue with a jacket of a lack of cuffs at the end of the sleeve.

Cream, white, taupe and black is also a particularly pleasing colour combination.

The watch is my old JLC Reverso with a new black alligator strap from Jean Rousseau. The glasses are the Bryceland’s collaboration with Japanese vintage collector Solakzade.

The PS short-sleeved shirt is available from the shop now. Details:

  • Made in Naples in the atelier of bespoke shirtmaker Luca Avitabile
  • Hand-sewn buttons, buttonholes, armholes and collar
  • Uses Irish linen from Spence Bryson, and cream mother-of-pearl buttons
  • Cut long, like a dress shirt, and intended to only be worn tucked in
  • Uses the standard PS button-down collar, which rolls easily and naturally, when undone or indeed with a tie
  • Same body fit as the PS denim shirts (and oxford shirts after washing)
  • Ships from the UK and available in four sizes, small to extra large
  • More details on the PS shop here

Measurements:

Small (37) Medium (39) Large (41) Extra large (43)
Chest 51.5cm 55 60 62.5
Waist 47 51 55 58.5
Yoke 45.5 47.5 49.5 52
Sleeve width at bottom 17.5 18 19 20.5
Sleeve length 20 21 22 23.5

 


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