Top 4 ways to style your bold Cuban collar shirt

Spring and summer are around the corner and that means it's time to start dressing for the warmer weather. And although you may not be looking to win the GQ man of the year award, you can still dress the part. Our top spring and summer wardrobe essential is the Cuban Collar shirt, also commonly referred to as the Camp Collar shirt or Bowling shirt. We're focusing on the men's Cuban collar shape today, but don't worry, a style guide for the women's boxy, cropped Cuban collar shirt is coming soon.

So what is a Cuban collar or Camp collar shirt? The Cuban collar shirt is usually a short-sleeve button up shirt that features an open collar with a relaxed, boxy fit. With a button up front and easy-going vibe, it’s a versatile shirt that you can adapt for any occasion: dress it up for a special event or wedding on a breezy summer night or dress it down for a laid-back day at the beach. Featured in iconic cult-classics like Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet, and a go-to favourite of the likes of Harry Styles, if you're prone to peacocking in your favourite patterned Cuban collar shirt, you're in good company.

Leonardo Dicaprio Cuban Collar Floral Print Blue and Red
Leonard Dicaprio in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet

The History of the Cuban Collar Shirt

The origins of the Cuban collar shirt are rooted in 19th century farm workers in Cuba and the Philippines. The Cuban collar is essentially a more ‘fashionable’ iteration of the Cuban work shirt, known as the Guayabera. The Guayabera is an open collar shirt with a boxy construction designed specifically to maximize airflow on hot summer days. It’s also usually made of light, breathable fabrics like linen to help stay cool in the heat. 

The evolution of the Cuban collar shirt in its current form harks back to the 1950s when their popularity started to increase rapidly. Recently, and in the past decade in particular, Cuban collar cuts can be found across the world in a variety of guises: from runway shows and celebrities on red carpets, to dads who pick this stylish shape as their go-to weekend shirt, the centre-piece of their BBQ-to-beach look. Equally at home on runway collections from Gucci and Dolce Gabbana as they are at Glastonbury festival, it’s their adaptability and flattering, forgiving shape that’s made them the wardrobe style staple they are today.

If we’ve piqued your interest with our rapid-fire history of the Cuban collar shirt, read on for our top 4 ways to style it:

Cuban Collar Shirt Paired with Swim Shorts 

Cuban Collar Shirt Blue and Orange Daisy Floral Print

A Cuban Collar floral print shirt paired with your favorite bright and colourful swim trunks makes for the perfect beach attire (don’t be afraid to mix patterns, the more clashing patterns the better in our view). Light and airy, throw on your easy-to-wear shirt for a stroll down the beach or leave it unbuttoned for the ultimate  relaxed, casual beachfront look. With its bold blues and statement large-scale floral motif, the Daisy Print Cuban Collar shirt is our go-to holiday shirt for those ultimate summer moments.

Cuban Collar Summer Wedding Shirt

Newt London Camp Collar Shirt in Orange Blue Pink Kefi PrintCuban Collar Shirt Styling by Jim Chapman
(Image credits: www.jimchapman.co.uk)

The great thing about the Cuban or camp collar shirt is that with a little bit of styling, that same shirt you wore last weekend to the beach can be spruced up into the ultimate statement summer wedding shirt. Paired with a blazer, formal trouser or both, these unique Cuban collar shirts can adhere to a more formal dress code whilst still bringing a touch more personality and colour compared to your standard wedding attire. If you’re lucky enough to be attending a beach-side wedding, you could even try pairing the Cuban collar shirt with some shorts and a classic pair of driver loafers if the dress code allows for it. Our top pick for a wedding shirt? The Cuban collar shirt in Heart print, naturally! Did we also mention that our shirts are crease-resistant and quick-drying? What’s not to love.

Cuban Collar Shirt for an Evening Out

Cuban Collar Shirt Green and Pink Shima Print Animal Print
Chris Pine Cuban Collar Shirt Pink and Black on Red Carpet
(Image credits: GQ.com)
Cuban Collar Women Fashion Floral Print Green Pink  Black
(Image credits: Racked LA)

We know not every wedding dress code will accommodate a bold printed shirt - with a Newt shirt, unless you’re the bride or groom there’s definitely a risk you might steal the show. But for an evening out, the dress code is set by you. At Newt, bold prints and colourful hues are our obsession, and a great way to express your individuality. And what better occasion to wear a head-turner than on a night out? Paired with a darker blue or black jean and some boots, the Shima Print Cuban Collar shirt is the must-have centre-piece of your contemporary nightlife look. With our lightweight, breathable fabric made from recycled plastic bottles, you’ll be feeling fresh and breezy all night long.

Camp Collar as an Over-shirt

Whilst the Camp collar shirt usually likes to be centre of attention, once in a while, it’s willing to share the spotlight. For a more casual, streetwear vibe wear your shirt paired with a white or black t-shirt underneath. Fully open or buttoned up halfway, this is a great look for your daily errands, walking the dog, or meeting some friends for coffee. The uber colourful Zesty Print Camp collar shirt looks nothing short of fresh when thrown on over a crisp white tee. Complete the look with either a pair of shorts or relaxed fit jeans and trainers.

Now that you're obsessed with the Cuban collar shirt like we are, it's time to style it yourself. If you don't already have one, have no fear: you can shop our head-turning, colourful collection here now. Don’t forget to let us know how you styled your shirt by emailing us or tagging us on Instagram @newt.london #newtlondon

SHOP NOW