SS19 Shirt Trends: Polos to Retro Prints and Pockets

Bring out those button-fronts and shake off those short sleeves! Spring’s here, the weather’s warming up on both coasts, and we’re looking to dress sharp yet still comfortably for the soon-to-be-humid months ahead. While many of last year’s trends hold strong, here’s what’s new for the Spring/Summer 2019 season:

Camp Shirts

Aren’t you wearing one yet? A style spawned from the Hawaiian shirt minus the retro print, camp shirts toe the line between casual – note the straight, frequently boxy, roomy fit – and sartorially playful, thanks to the myriad of style possibilities out there. Want tradition? Go find your tropical print. Plan to play it cool or understated? Stripes, checks, or contrast piping delivers the desired results.

Polo Shirts

These aren’t your father’s corporate golf outings getup. Polo shirts mark the manifestation of athleisure in more tasteful ways – less oversized hoodies and joggers and more active-inspired apparel for the business casual workplace. Also, unlike the shapeless collared shirts of decades past, the modern polo has slimmed down, has the boxy qualities of a camp shirt but with a more visible knit, and frequently involves some kind of color-blocked or patterned elements.

Photography:  Jay Adams Photography

White and Cream

As a basic business dress rule – or, for that matter, dressing up for anything – at least one white shirt should be in your closet. Point collars and button-fronts offer variety, but few colors are more traditional. And, whether you’re wearing a navy suit or trying out green velvet, it’s a strong match without question.

Yet, with SS19 shirting trends, white has veered away from its keystone status, developing an alter ego that’s at once stark yet experimental – see all those ruffles and high collars – or carefully muted with off-white and cream shades. It’s equal parts informal as it is a sartorial stalwart, and as a few runway collections have shown us (Virgil Abloh’s debut for Louis Vuitton among them), you can’t have enough – this season, at least.

Photography: Jay Adams Photography

Photography: Jay Adams Photography

Sage Green

It’s a shade of contradictions: Mystical yet muted, bold with turquoise undertones yet forest-like on the surface, and an off-shoot on the ongoing olive trend yet far softer and pedestrian. Seasons on and off have tried to make green happen, with varying degrees of success, and sage appears to be the sweet spot. It’s a culmination of everything tried so far without it feeling like a complete retread.

Photography: Jay Adams Photography

Photography: Jay Adams Photography

Variations on Blue

Navy and light, robin’s egg blue? Been there, done that. For SS19, the hue that seemingly goes with everything has shed its cloak of versatility, and what we’re left with is a series of statement shades: Deep royal blue, vibrant cobalt, and ocean-leaning cerulean, to name a few. In solid form, it appears absolutely saturated and almost on par with the energy emanating from red or a similar warm hue. Yet, there’s a coolness about this group – but it’s with almost tropical undertones, like a bottle of Curacao. To sum it up, it’s time for blue to get unpredictable.

Adventurous Cuts

Button-downs are so blasé. As such, SS19 represents a more adventurous turn, with New Wave-meets-Gothic cuts. Ruffles along the collar, cuffs, or front? Why not? It’s as if a ‘70s tuxedo shirt just got spliced with a button-front. Uneven hems, embroidered or fringe details, transparent fabrics, and high-neck or funnel collars? The more details, the better. And, while dress shirts have narrowed down over the past few years, these new interpretations dabble with extra space, to the point that a seemingly ordinary white shirt resembles an ornate tunic. 

Bold Prints

Whether for a traditional button-front or a camp collar shirt, SS19 pushes the boundary a bit farther still in terms of acceptable menswear trends. Yes, plaid’s still there, but even a print as ordinary as stripes has been turned on its head. This season, rather than horizontal or two-tone beach chair stripes, expect multicolored, uneven candy variations with piquant pops of pink, warm yellow, and strong contrasts.

The Versace-esque Greek collage print, likely as a response to the brand reviving some of its ‘90s classics last year, is holding strong. Key, chain, architectural influences, and animal patterns, often melding together or playing off each other within the shirt, reflect the late designer’s vision on a more accessible scale.

Pop art prints, as an offshoot of the comic strip- and cartoon-influenced patterns seen on Prada, Iceberg, and J.W. Anderson a year ago, have also reached that commonplace status. They’re equal parts retro, colorful, and nostalgic, and the details just beg for a second look.

As another re-appropriated throwback trend, tie-dye’s on more than just tees this season. Like a tasteful version of a ‘90s Grateful Dead concert memento, this version goes heavy on the contrasts, yet the final product isn’t too psychedelic.

Extra Pockets

We expect at least one chest pocket on our button-downs. Two seems adventurous – you’d spot something like this on a hiking shirt, ideally with two snap flap pockets. Yet, for SS19, two plays it fairly tame, and a four-pocket shirt – like a shacket, but lighter – warrants a second glance. Of course, don’t treat these like a pair of cargo shorts: Stuffing your pockets makes you seem like you’re heading out into the wilderness or, worse, you’re a tourist who just doesn’t pack very well.


Need help with your shirting game? Whether it’s a traditional dress shirt or something more experimental, work with Kipper Clothiers to create a custom garment. Learn more about our custom shirts now, or to go into more detail, schedule a 15-minute appointment with one of our stylists.