The polo shirt has been around for years, but it has undergone many changes. With its origins placing it firmly in the sporting world (source), it has adapted to become a wardrobe staple for both men and women.
Today, we want to discuss how polo shirts have evolved and are now available in various styles, colors, and fits.
Let’s dig in.
Polo Shirt Fit
For a polo shirt to look good, it must fit well. This is determined by the cut of the shirt and your body type. When shopping for polos, you’ll find them available in various fits. Here’s a summary of what’s available:
- Classic Fit: These shirts have a relaxed fit and are neither tight nor baggy. They’re ideal for those who don’t like their clothes to be too fitted.
- Slim Fit: As the name suggests, slim-fit polos are tighter than classic-fit shirts. They follow the contours of your body and are ideal for men who have a toned physique.
- Athletic Fit: Athletic-fit polos are designed for, you guessed it, athletes! These shirts are form-fitting and allow freedom of movement, particularly on the shoulders, chest, and arms.
The Honest Tailor Says: When buying a polo shirt, the fit is everything. It doesn’t matter how much you pay or if it is made from the finest materials; it will look bad if it doesn’t fit properly. Try a few different fits before settling on the one that looks best on you.
Nearly all polos have a signature two or three-button placket at the neck. The most common style is the two-button placket. This is the classic polo shirt style and looks good on everyone. You could try a three-button placket if you want something a little different. However, this style is generally reserved for more formal occasions.
Some trendy polos may have a quarter-zip or mock neck closure. However, these are less common.
The Honest Tailor Says: Go with two buttons; it’s a timeless look that will never go out of style.
Most polos have short sleeves, but you can also find long-sleeved versions. Long-sleeved polos are ideal for cooler weather or if you want a more formal look.
A long sleeve polo can also be a great addition to your golf wardrobe if you are hitting the links in the early spring or late fall when the weather is cooler.
The Honest Tailor Says: Less than 10% of all polos made are long-sleeved, so go for this style if you want something different. Otherwise, stick with the classic short-sleeved look.
Nearly all polos will be made from some knit fabric. The most common materials are cotton, polyester, or a blend of the two. Here’s what you should know:
- Cotton: This natural fiber breathes well and is very soft. It’s ideal for warmer weather as it will keep you cool and comfortable. While cotton can wrinkle, the heavier weight of the fabric used in polos will reduce wrinkles from occurring.
- Polyester: This synthetic fiber is very strong and doesn’t wrinkle. It’s a good choice for those who want a low-maintenance shirt. The moisture-wicking properties of polyester make it a good choice for athletes or if you will be spending time outdoors in the heat.
- Spandex: This may be added to a cotton or polyester shirt to give it some stretch. It’s ideal for those who want a fitted polo as it will conform to your body.
What’s the Deal with Piqué?
Piqué is a weaving style that features raised parallel cords or fine-textured yarns (source). The Piqué weave gives the polo shirt its signature textured look. Piqué is usually made from cotton or a cotton blend and can be either solid-colored or have stripes.
The Honest Tailor Says: If you plan on wearing your polo shirt for casual occasions, then cotton is the way to go. However, if you need a more durable or moisture-resistant shirt for light athletic activities, then polyester is the better choice.
Here are a few popular brands that make polo shirts:
|Ralph Lauren||New York City, NY||1967|
|Everlane||San Francisco, CA||2010|
|Bonobos||New York City, NY||2007|
|Todd Snyder||New York City, NY||2011|
|Peter Manning||New York City, NY||2012|
If you are looking to add a new polo shirt (or two) to your wardrobe, then be sure to check out our roundup of the best polos for men.
The Honest Tailor Says: Countless brands make polo shirts. It really comes down to personal preference. Do some research and find the brand that fits your style and budget.
Polo shirts are available at a wide range of price points. For example, you can find cheap polos for under $20 or high-end designer shirts that cost over $100. The price will be determined by the quality of the materials, construction, and brand name.
The Honest Tailor Says: When shopping for a polo shirt, focus on the material and fit. A well-made shirt from a mid-range brand will look better than an ill-fitting shirt from a designer label.
How to Wear a Polo Shirt
Polo shirts are incredibly versatile and can be dressed up or down to suit any. Here are a few tips on how to wear a polo shirt:
- For a casual look, pair your polo with jeans or shorts.
- Pair your polo with dress pants or chinos for a more formal look.
- To dress up your polo, add a blazer or sports coat.
- To dress down your polo, wear it untucked with shorts or jeans.
Common Questions about Polos
Yes, polo shirts are still in style. They have been a wardrobe staple for men for over half a century and show no signs of going out of fashion.
It depends on your workplace. A polo shirt is perfectly acceptable if you have a casual office environment. However, if you work in a more formal setting, you may need to stick to dressier shirts.
With proper care, a polo shirt should last you several years. The key is to wash it in cold water and hang it to dry. You should also avoid putting it in the dryer, as this will shorten its lifespan, especially made from synthetic fibers.