Are you tired of wearing that same old polo? Sure, it’s a timeless top, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get a little boring every so often. Luckily, there are many variations on the classic piqué polo, one of which is the consistently stylish knitted polo — also called a sweater polo — that has been getting the job done for decades. A hit with mid-century Hollywood leading men, the style is now back in vogue in a big way. And while it may not be the most conventional look, this retro style is arguably one of the best ways to add a touch of color and liveliness to the standard outfit, and often adds a much more comfortable, skin-soft feel than most standard tennis shirts.
Knit polo shirts are genuinely the best of both worlds, fusing everything we love about breathable, casual tops with the cozy appeal of winter-ready sweaters. Luckily, whether you’re aiming to turn heads on the golf course or looking for the perfect breathable shirt to wear on your next beach day, there is no shortage of colors and styles to choose from across the board. So, without further ado, give your current wardrobe a summer-ready retro makeover with our guide to the 16 best knitted polos.
Tie Bar Tipped Cotton Sweater Polo
We know what you’re thinking: “Tie Bar… for clothes?” It may seem like a stretch, but the online tie-maker’s approach to attire goes far beyond timeless accessories, as its handsome Tipped Cotton Sweater Polo is merely one example from its quality catalog of business casual essentials. The polo is crafted from 100% mercerized cotton for silk-like smoothness and is rounded out with a chest pocket and sleek white tipping on the collar, pocket, placket, and sleeves for added flair.
Abercrombie & Fitch Geometric Button-Through Sweater Polo
Abercrombie & Fitch is surely one of the most notable shopping mall staples around, and this stylish take on a polo cardigan is one of the most impressive in its ubiquitous catalog. It features a ‘90s-inspired diagonal stripe pattern, a button-up front, and a classic polo collar, with each element coming together for a timeless look. Plus, it’s crafted from a blend of cotton and recycled polyester, as the brand is clearly aiming for sustainability.
J.Crew Cotton Silk Short Sleeve Sweater Polo
Like Abercrombie & Fitch, J.Crew excels at crafting fashionable essentials you can find at your local shopping center. The Big Apple brand’s Cotton Silk Short Sleeve Sweater Polo is as luxurious as its name makes it out to be, as its blend of fabrics clues you into its supple feel. The top comes available in three collar-tipped color choices that are remarkably easy to match, so you should have no problem picking up the perfect one.
Buck Mason Avalon Knit Polo
It comes as no surprise that Buck Mason put this rather rugged and casual spin on what’s typically a borderline-dressy piece of attire. This subtle choice from the California boutique is made from a textured 16 gauge cotton jersey that gives it its cushy, breathable feel. It is rounded out with a classic 3-button collar and a banded bottom and comes available in a variety of tonal colors that are versatile enough to wear with any outfit you have in mind.
Bonobos Sweater Polo
This vintage-inspired top from Bonobos sticks to the same code of craftsmanship as the rest of its formal-ready pieces. It is crafted from plush, breathable cotton yarn and textured all over to give it that body-hugging feel that makes your favorite sweater so comfortable. Above all else, it comes available in more colors than the rainbow, offering over 20 different shades and designs to choose from, like this bright orange geometric-patterned number with a Johnny collar.
Barque Vintage Jacquard Knit Polo
This stylish mid-century-inspired choice from Barque is touched up with an array of razor-thin stripes and is garment-washed for an extra-soft feel, deeming it stylish and comfortable enough for anyone to appreciate. It is crafted from a lightweight brand of fine-knit cotton for breathability’s sake and finished off with an array of genuine mother of pearl buttons for an added touch of sophistication.
Reiss Maxwell Merino Zip Neck Polo
Merino wool is an ideal material to keep an eye out for when you’re shopping for summer clothes, as it offers natural moisture-wicking and odor-regulating capabilities that help you deal with any pesky sweat. Reiss crafts an incredibly dapper ’50s-inspired polo knitted from the material, benefitting not only from merino’s performance capabilities but also its alluring sheen. Plus, the shirt is finished off with a full-metal zippered neck as opposed to the standard set of buttons.
Wax London Naples Polo
Wax London is one of our favorite boutique labels, and timeless pieces like this are a big reason why. The Naples Polo keeps it simple and classic, going to show there’s no need for added gimmicks just to stay trendy. The top is inspired by the dawn of Italy, knitted from an airy waffle stripe stitch, and features a classic ‘50s-style fit, with each of these elements coming together seamlessly to make one of the most stylish options this guide has to offer.
Ted Baker Swansea Short Sleeve Vertical Striped Merino Wool Polo
You may be familiar with Ted Baker’s handsome collection of leather boots and accessories, but the eponymous brand has quite an impressive variety of garments, too. This colorful take on the sweater polo is crafted from incredibly soft merino wool, giving it the breathability necessary to wear through all four seasons. Plus, its color-block motif and sleek front zipper manage to make it stand out that much more.
Far Afield Renard Textured Polo
If you’re looking for the most sustainable choice on the market, this ‘60s-inspired choice is crafted from 100% organic cotton, resulting in a breathable composition, enviously soft feel, and an unbeatable sense of eco-friendliness. The midweight top is highlighted by its stylish waffled texture and unstructured color, deeming it the perfect shirt to wear to the likes of tropical outings, tiki bars, or any lax get-togethers you have on your summer agenda.
Percival Kodo Knit Shirt
Percival takes pride in its wide variety of handsome sweater polos, with many of the brand’s options winding up on the backs of various celebrities. This particular one has been worn by The Rock himself, which is literally one of the biggest co-signs you can get from a standpoint of both stature and popularity. Celebrities aside, the Kodo Knit Shirt remains an extremely notable choice regardless, implementing a full-button placket, a tipped chest pocket and sleeves, and a stylish basket-weave that will have you perfectly suited for your next summer picnic.
Knickerbocker Garden Polo
The New York-based boutique serves as a seamless bridge between streetwear and casual clothing, and this sense of fluidity trickles down to its well-designed Garden Polo. The breezy top is made from 100% cotton and comes in a subdued tonal color that is the perfect choice to wear on any summer evening. Wear it with a pair of light blue jeans if you’re looking for a fool-proof casual outfit.
Corridor Tie-Dyed Cotton Polo Shirt
Take a quick glimpse at any Corridor lookbook and you’ll understand how seriously the brand takes the art of knitting. With everything from meticulously embroidered sweaters to this unique tie-dye knit polo, Corridor puts its all into everything it makes. This particular piece was made exclusively for MR PORTER’s Small World collection, a program devoted to people- and planet-first manufacturing methods. It is produced in partnership with a Lima-based family-run workshop that specializes in Pima cotton from locally-sourced alpacas.
Todd Snyder Vertical Stripe Full-Placket Sweater Polo
If you’re familiar with Todd Snyder’s catalog, you know that the New York designer’s eponymous label is adept at crafting retro-inspired summer essentials. That said, this shirt is one of the best hot-weather-ready choices you can make, as it’s bursting with color, comfort, and loads of style. The classy, vertically-striped polo cardigan is made from a smooth blend of Italian silk and cotton and then rounded out with genuine shell buttons, airy side seam vents, and a flat-knit collar to keep things classic, just as Snyder typically tends to do.
MR P. Knitted Cotton Jacquard Polo Shirt
MR PORTER’s luxurious in-house label knows what it takes to craft clothes with the best of them — after all, if you’ve shopped the online retailer, you’re well aware of its lofty standards. The Knitted Cotton Jacquard Polo Shirt lives up to those expectations, and might even be stylish enough to surpass them. It features a breezy open Johnny collar and a textured cotton-jacquard knit makeup that is simply too cool to pass up. Lastly, it comes available in a trio of different colors, so pick whichever suits you best.
Orlebar Brown Horton Merino Wool Polo
Like anything you buy from Orlebar Brown, this waffle-stitched polo is ideal for your next beach day and all others that may follow. For breathability’s sake, it’s crafted from premium merino wool, so it’s versatile enough to insulate against cool breezes while also wicking away moisture when the heat picks up. All things considered, this Italian-made choice is one of the best you can pick up for yourself if you’re looking to stand out on your next vacation, as the sharp striping details and devil-may-care wide open collar will see to that.
The 15 Best Camp Collar Shirts
If you’re looking to get your hands on another summer-appropriate top, then our guide to the best camp collar shirts will surely be of assistance.