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The Best Popover Shirts for Men to Wear in 2023

Mar 24, 2024Mar 24, 2024

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When a shirt loses a button it’s a pain. But when a shirt loses half its buttons, it becomes a popover.

Think of “popover” as a catch-all term covering any shirt whose placket ends before the hem. In most cases, they terminate after three to five buttons, ending above the navel so that the wearer must “pop” them over the head to complete dressing.

It’s worth mussing up your hair for that extra ease that ridding a shirt of a couple of buttons provides. It signals that the shirt is not going to be worn anywhere near an office and is more likely to turn up by the pool—with a good three or four buttons undone.

The popover can come in many forms and is most commonly styled like a button-down shirt. It’s a tradition that can be traced back to the preppy shirtmaker Gant, which had a penchant for the style in the 1960s. And while Ivy-influenced popovers from the likes of Todd Snyder and J. Press abound today, you can also find louche linen iterations from Aspesi or P. Johnson, and even a smock-inspired take from Drake’s.

We’ve surveyed the present popover landscape to bring you those choice examples and many more below: consult the list and embrace the abbreviated placket.

By its very nature, the popover is preppy. Which makes a patch madras popover—like this specimen from J. Press—preppy squared.

Buy Now on J.Press: $98

That this Todd Snyder oxford has four buttons rather than the typical eight makes only a slight visual distance. But cutting its placket in half pushes it miles further into weekend territory.

Buy Now on Todd Snyder: $178

Japanese linen, a wide camp collar and a placket that ends just above the navel imbue this P. Johnson popover with the Aussie maker’s relaxed yet elegant point of view. Can be worn with matching pants to form the most easygoing of suits.

Buy Now on P. Johnson: AUD295 (ABOUT $200)

The breezy nature of madras makes it a natural choice for a popover. While this washed cotton madras shirt from Brooks Brothers has long sleeves, we imagine they’ll be rolled up to the elbows 90 percent of the time.

Buy Now on Brooks Brothers: $118 $70.80

Confusingly classified as a “short-button pullover shirt,” this linen Aspesi popover sports a soft spread collar for a more continental touch. Lean into its louche appeal by layering it below a sport coat with a minimum of two buttons undone.

Buy Now on Farfetch: $118 $182

A cobbled-together patchwork of seemingly every shirt fabric Beams could get its hands on lends this popover an anarchic edge. With all that attention up top, there’s no need to distract anyone down below—wear it with khaki shorts or dark-rinsed denim.

Buy Now on Nordstrom: $118 $218

Why are popovers always made from woven fabric rather than a knit? While we were pondering this, Sid Mashburn went ahead and built a button-down popover from an Italian pique fabric that gives it the feel of a favorite polo shirt.

Buy Now on Sid Mashburn: $195

Subtle differences of make—including a soft, rounded collar and wide sleeves with no button fastenings—classify this Drake’s popover as a smock. Its laidback bonafides are further enhanced by a checked linen-cotton madras fabric in a cool blue hue.

Buy Now on Drake's: $275

Popovers are normally associated with off-duty wear, but it’s possible to infuse the style with a little workwear DNA. Engineered Garments did just that with this American-made shirt, which is cut from chambray—the cotton fabric responsible for the term “blue collar”—and features a flapped chest pocket.

Buy Now on Farfetch: $290

If you’ve been wondering how the Italians do a popover shirt, you can stop now and direct your attention to this long-sleeved example from G. Inglese. Made from a horizontal striped oxford fabric and possessed of a one-piece Miami collar, this is a popover that’ll be right at home under a blazer.

Buy Now on No Man Walks Alone: $275

A stitched bib—a feature typically reserved for tuxedo shirts— and a band collar give extra interest to this textured cotton-linen popover from Polo Ralph Lauren. Play into its vintage vibes by pairing to it to pleated trousers or Ghurka shorts.

Buy Now on Ralph Lauren: $198

Wythe’s awning stripe popover is made from an indigo-dyed cotton-linen inspired by the rugged, hard-wearing fabrics native to the 19th and early 20th centuries. Its dyed yarns will soften and fade with time, further blurring the lines between true vintage and vintage-inspired.

Buy Now on Wythe: $198 $138

This Our Legacy popover looks like a dress shirt but is cut like a caftan with dropped shoulders and an oversized fit. A striped cotton fabric adds to the playful tension between styling and make.

Buy Now on Matches: $261

As it turns out, perpetually neutral Sweden has a pretty stylish armed service. Alex Mill cribbed design cues from a Swedish military shirt to create this three-button popover, whose garment-washed cotton twill fabric plays right into the style’s day-off vibes.

Buy Now on Alex Mill: $135

Popovers might be associated with preppy New England, but why should the Northeast have all the fun? Reyn Spooner allows Hawaii to get in on the act with this cotton-blend popover, whose vintage-inspired print is marked by motifs celebrating our 50th state.

Buy Now on Nordstrom: $109.50