Before I get into the details of how and why I came to purchase some ChArmkpR men’s shirts, let’s quickly review the usual options for our upper bodies in the summer:
T-shirts have been even more ubiquitous than usual these last two months, given that there are no formal occasions to attend and the pandemic has made it hard to care anymore.
Golf shirts are an obvious choice if you have a Zoom call, but they begin to feel almost like a uniform.
It’s been hot enough on some ways to wear a muscle shirt, but I don’t have the physique for it and I’d feel like I was auditioning for a middle-aged remake of A Streetcar Named Desire.
That leaves the Hawaiian shirt (sometimes called the ‘Aloha’ shirt) but they scream “vacation” when many of us are lucky if we can actually take one.
ChArmkpR Men’s Shirts
This dearth of appealing wardrobe choices made me do something I thought I’d never do: pay enough attention to an Instagram ad that I actually clicked on it.
This was my first introduction to ChARmkPR, which has created a variety of shirts in a style that might seem schizophrenic if I didn’t feel it somehow reflected the Zeitgeist of tentatively emerging from quarantine.
On one side are relatively traditional short-sleeve button up shirts, either in a single solid colour or with some wide horizontal stripes.
On the other is a celebration of colour, elegance and even a hint of femininity with roses or other decorative touches.
I usually don’t wear short-sleeve dress shirts because the sleeves feel too loose, almost like something you’d get issued by a company that forced you to wear one. Sometimes they’re patterned with dots or paisley design but then they feel almost too precious somehow.
These ChArmkpR shirts were different. They felt like an upgrade from a T-shirt (and certainly from a muscle shirt) and weren’t as boring as yet another golf shirt. They are as flamboyant as a Hawaiian shirt, but only by half, which feels appropriate right about now.
You can buy these with nothing but a solid colour or an all-printed version, but I liked the duality — it makes me feel like I’m embracing possibilities instead of (as has often been the case during lockdown) being limited by them.
Normally I would have tried to share more of the history, the design philosophy or the inspiration behind clothes I love, but ChArmkpR is maddeningly elusive online.
I bought them from a site based in India called New Chic, which carries a range of brands I’d never encountered before, and there’s no other details provided. It looks like they may have originated there, but I can’t bee sure.
All I can be sure of is that this summer calls for a shirt that makes me feel both professional and creative — and, for the first time in a while this summer, as dressed up as far as it feels possible to be,