Polos are one of those menswear staples whose relevance has been proven in the face of controversy time and time again. For even despite the questionable block cuts of the 90s, the dorky designs of the oughts, and — the worst of them all — the tech material bro culture of today, the garment remains unshakably resilient in its ability to elevate a guy’s appearance. Then again, the polo is a shirt that’s transcended style right from the very beginning. Sure, Réne Lacoste might have created his pique polo as a piece of athletic performance apparel; however, it was always destined for greater things.
All that is to say, polos might be considered ‘back’ but that’s because they never really left. On the contrary — hidden amongst the worst of the garment’s associations is a treasure trove of fashion-approved fits. From towel-like terry cloth to retro ribbed finishes to super-soft Italian silk, the polo is a shirt abound with options. As such, it can be pretty overwhelming to find the options worth your time and money. Never fret, though; as always we’re here to help, and we’ve put together this handy guide to get you on your way. What follows are what we consider to be the best polo shirts for men because the shirt’s gotten a bit of a bad rap in recent years, and we’d like to set the record straight.
Uniqlo Airism Fly Front Polo Shirt
If you want to dress for success without breaking the bank, Uniqlo’s Airism Polo is easily your best bet. Like all of the Japanese label’s offerings, it goes big on value, combining a quick-drying cotton-polyester fabric blend with a streamlined silhouette to result in a shirt that keeps you feeling as cool as you’ll look. And with its hidden buttons, fine thread-count, and seamless design, it offers a more minimalist take on the classic polo finish.
Banana Republic Luxury Touch Polo
For those who are after a shirt with a bit more versatility, this option from Banana Republic could prove a far better buy. Because it’s a part of the brand’s Luxury Touch line, it features a silky-soft 100% cotton construction. Along with being super cool to the touch, it offers a polished appearance that’s made only better by a set of shortened sleeves and a trim cut through the chest, hips, and hem. Dress it up or keep it casual, this is one polo that can do it all with ease.
Flint And Tinder Supima Air Knit Polo
Flint And Tinder is a brand that prides itself on its first-rate materials, and this Air Knit Polo is a case in point. Spun using Supima cotton from California’s San Joaquin Valley, it’s already both smoother and cleaner than regular cotton. As if that wasn’t enough, though, Flint And Tinder took things a step further and knit the shirt together using the latest and greatest ‘Baby Jersey’ techniques. While this is an option that’ll impress you with its feel first and foremost, it has the added benefits of being incredibly strong and hard-wearing as well.
Kent Wang Polo
As the internet’s unofficial favorite polo, Kent Wang’s offering is a shirt that needs no introduction. Exclusively available from the online-only haberdashery, it features a unique two-layer collar. In practice, such an addition not only improves shape retention but also makes for a more natural lay, especially when compared to traditional single-layer ribbed options. It’s worth noting that because of its very slim cut, chances are good that you’ll have to size up if you’re looking for more of a relaxed fit.
Outerknown Hightide Terry Polo
Sure, Outerknown might not be the first name that comes to mind when looking for more formal attire, but the Kelly Slater surf brand is chock full of sustainable style. For instance, their Hightide shirt comes crafted from a combination of organic cotton and 100% post-consumer recycled polyester, meaning that it skips out on chemicals and cuts down on plastic bottles. And because it’s knit from terry cloth material, you better believe that it’ll be keeping you cozy in towel-like comfort.
Ministry Of Supply Apollo Polo
Were you to take a team of top MIT engineers and task them with designing state-of-the-art apparel, the result would be something a lot like the Ministry Of Supply MO. As such, you’ll find that the brand’s shirts boast some pretty next-level innovations, such as targeted ventilation and integrated odor control. With the Apollo Polo pictured here, you’re getting NASA-developed Phase Change materials that regulate body temperature and provide 19x the breathability of standard pique.
J Crew Birdseye Shortsleeve Polo Sweater
Okay, we’ll admit that this one is pushing the polo definition just a bit, but we can’t get enough of the vintage style. Between the button-up closure, the vertical stripe design, and the heavier-weight fabric, J Crew’s Birdseye sweater has all the makings of a first-rate fashion piece. Throw this on with a pair of jeans or chinos and you’re bound to make an impression in any room you enter.
Ralph Lauren Soft Cotton Polo Shirt
No list of polo shirts would be complete without an option from Ralph Lauren. After all, the brand’s eponymous designer is the one who made the garment an international icon. This soft cotton shirt largely keeps with the OG polo aesthetic, though it’s been updated with a slightly more relaxed fit, a luxurious cotton interlock construction, and an ultrasoft finish. Oh, and of course it sports the iconic polo player embroidered on the left chest.
lululemon Evolution Polo
When you’re in need of a shirt that can keep you cool both on and off the course, we’d suggest you take a look at the Evolution Polo from lululemon. Crafted from a sweat-wicking blend of polyester, lyocell, and elastane, it’s both exceptionally breathable and also extremely comfortable. In practice, this means that it provides a full range of motion from backswing to follow-through, with some added Silverescent X-STATIC technology to keep you stink-free.
Lacoste Regular Fit Paris Polo
René Lacoste singlehandedly invented the tennis shirt back in the 1920s, so it should come as no surprise that his brand makes the cut. With the Paris Polo, you’re getting the same stretchy cotton piqué construction, ribbed sleeves, and clean collar as his game-changing innovation. However, in order to create a modern, more refined style, Lacoste has concealed the button placket and embroidered the signature croc in an understated monochromatic colorway. Left up to us, we’d rock it in black, but you can’t go astray with any of the many available hues.
Far Afield Jacobs Short Sleeve Polo
Channel your inner Don Draper with this sweet mid-century polo from Far Afield. In addition to boasting a distinctive vertical ribbed design, it also happens to be made from sustainably sourced organic cotton. As a result, this is one shirt that’ll have you looking sharp whilst keeping it clean with planet-conscious materials. If you really want to round out the vintage vibe, top it off with a smart sport coat and pour yourself three fingers of your finest Scotch.
If a shirt’s good enough for Bond’s steely-eyed style, it’s good enough for us civilians living in the real world. First created for Daniel Craig’s performance in Casino Royale, Sunspel’s Riviera polo is a shirt that’s since become a staple in the world of men’s fashion. Spun from a breathable cotton mesh and cut with a trim fit, this is one option that’s as hard-working as it is handsome. In short: it’ll have you looking ready for her majesty’s secret service, though we can’t promise you keys to the DB5.
Orlebar Brown Cotton-Terry Polo Shirt
Just because you’ll be lounging around the pool doesn’t mean that you have to neglect your sense of style. Luckily, this polo from Orlebar Brown is perfect for waterside wear, as it’s made with an ultra-luxe cotton terry-cloth fabric that’s kept cool by a pair of airy underarm vents. Pair it with some dock shorts and a pair of deck shoes, and you’ll be the picture of peak prep style.
Mr P Cotton Half-Zip Polo
This shirt from Mr Porter’s in-house Mr P. line breaks from an otherwise button-heavy trend. In place of a traditional placket, it features a smart half-zip closure, an addition that’s distinctive in look and convenient in functionality. Since it’s made from mid-weight cotton fabric, it also doubles as a great base layer during transitional seasons. And besides, the sporty aesthetic could very well be what your wardrobe is missing.
Todd Snyder Seed Stitch Tipped Sweater Polo
Ever an authority when it comes to men’s sartorial expression, Todd Snyder proves once again just how smart silk can be. This polo shirt comes in a classic seed stitch knit that’s absolutely oozing with old-school 60s cool. While it’s technically billed as a sweater, the fabric is light enough that you can wear it no matter the weather. That is, you can rock it with shorts during the heat of summer or throw it on with a jean jacket once things begin to cool off. There’s really no wrong move.
The 18 Best Summer Pants For Men
Though a polo shirt will go a long way in helping you look your best, you can’t neglect the rest of your outfit. Pair it with one of our picks from our guide to the best summer pants for men and you’ve got a winning combo that’s comfortable no matter the occasion.
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