Polo shirts are essential to any man’s spring & summer wardrobe. They’ve been around for over a hundred years for a reason. If done correctly a polo can go from super casual with shorts to business casual and a suit. It also works great with either chinos or dark wash jeans. In this article, I’m going to how to wear polos, what kind of weaves are best for your body type, how a polo should fit, where to buy your next polo and some great outfit ideas.
Polo Shirt Do’s and Dont’s
1. Never wear an undershirt – Polo shirts just aren’t made for undershirts. What you end up with is a shirt poking out in all of the wrong places. And for bigger guys like me, an undershirt just makes you look even bigger. Keep it clean and simple and go no t-shirt.
2. Don’t pop your collar – Oh man, I can’t stand the popped collar look. This look was cool back in the 80s when layering your polo with a button down oxford was also cool, but that is no longer the case. Save this look for the older Hampton crowd and frat bros that are trying just a bit too hard. The rest of us can skip it.
3. Avoid large logos – Muted Style is all about a refined clean look. No patterns, logos, or advertisements. If you absolutely gotta have a logo go with something the size of a small polo and make it tonal so it blends in with the shirt. Leave the big logos to the kids.
4. Wear It With A Suit or a Blazer – Go ahead and throw one on with a suit. If done right this can be a great way to take a suit down a notch. A white polo will go great with either a charcoal grey suit or a dark blue suit. I’ve included a suit/polo outfit at the bottom of this article. Check it out.
5. Tucked or Untucked – I don’t like the look of tucked polos. Period. If you’re going to wear one without a jacket definitely don’t tuck it. Just get the proper length and you should be good to go. If you’re going to throw a jacket on, do the J. Crew front tuck and should be good to go.
6. Make sure it fits – Guys I know some of us carry around a little extra weight, but that’s no reason to go for extra large. You just make the problem worse and you look like you’re wearing a dress. That’s why guys like us go for a pique weave.
As far as fit goes a polo should be fitted but not tight. If you have trouble inserting a finger between your bicep and your sleeve, go a little bigger.
Like I said earlier because we’re going to have our polo untucked most of the time we’re going to want the correct length. A polo shouldn’t go further than halfway down your butt.
If done right a well fitting polo will enhance the good parts of your physique and hide the imperfections.
Check out my complete Polo Fit Guide.
Polo Shirt Fabrics
Polos come in a number of fabrics. You can get them in polyester, silk, cotton blends, and pure cotton. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus on cotton and cotton blends. Cotton is a great fabric for Polos because it’s breathable, will remove small amounts of moisture, and has some durability. You want to go with a quality cotton because cheaper cotton can cause pilling after a few washes, making the Polo unwearable. A good quality cotton will last longer and feel better.
Some of the shirts I recommend will be made with cotton blends. These will normally consist of a blend of either polyester or more likely elastane to give the shirt a bit of stretch. Let’s take a look at the two types of knits I recommend.
Knits and Weaves
Pique Weave – A pique knit is the classic type of polo weave. This weave has a waffled textured look provided by parallel cording. It also provides additional ventilation making it great for those summer months. You can get Polos that has a deep waffle or one that has a micro-waffle which is more discrete.
The Pique knit is great for larger guys. The thicker material does a great job covering imperfections. This allows you to get a properly fitting shirt that hugs the body and still looks great.
Jersey Knit – A jersey knit has a smooth surface that is similar to a t-shirt. This type of knit is perfect for guys who are in great shape. These shirts are usually softer than pique knits and tend to show every detail of your body. The thinner material of the Jersey Knit makes it great for wearing with a blazer. But remember if you haven’t hit the gym in awhile you’ll want to skip this knit and go with the pique.
The Best Polo Shirts for men
Sunspel Charcoal Jersey Polo Shirt ($125)
Filippa K Pique Poloshirt ($105)
Handvaerk Polo ($125)
H&M Polo Shirt ($13)
Uniqlo Dry Pique Short Sleeve Polo Shirt ($20)
J.Crew Pique Cotton Polo ($40)
3 Outfit Ideas – How To Wear Men’s Polo Shirts
1. Suit Jacket: J. Crew Ludlow Slim-fit suit jacket in Italian worsted ($425)
2. Suit Pants: J. Crew Ludlow Slim-fit suit pant in Italian worsted ($210)
3. Polo: Filippa K Pique Polo Shirt ($105)
4. Sneakers: Common Project Achilles Lows White Sneakers ($359)
5. Sunglasses: ATTCL Aviator Sunglasses Black ($22)
1. Shirt: J.Crew Pique Cotton Polo ($40)
2. Jeans: JBrand Tyler Taper Fit in Rasalas ($228)
3. Shoes: Rancourt Court Classic Lows White Sneakers ($280)
4. Jacket: Norse Projects Ryan Poplin Bomber ($140)
5. Sunglasses: ATTCL Aviator Sunglasses Black ($22)