The men’s polo shirt.
It’s an absolute classic.
In fact, did you know, it dates back as far as the 1920s?
Having decided that traditional ‘tennis whites’ weren’t so trés bien after all, Rene Lacoste – a French grand slam champion of the time – designed and debuted a new alternative. A white jersey t-shirt, with a three-button placket and a starch collar. Sound familiar?
In 1933, the retired player stitched on the iconic ‘crocodile’ logo and began to sell his garment to the masses. And it wasn’t long before other tennis legends and designers followed suit.
Fast forward over a hundred years and the polo is still a staple in most men’s wardrobes. But to pull it off in a modern way, there are a few dos and don’ts that you need to follow.
Read on to learn the rules of ‘polo styling’ and how to wear this trad garment – without looking like you’ve just stepped out onto a mid-century centre court.
The dos and don’ts of polo shirts
- Buy the right size
A polo shirt should be well-fitted, sitting close to your body (and accentuating your male muscular physique 😉) without being too skin tight. The bottom hem should also be about midway down your derriere – no higher than your hip and no more than a few inches below the waistline.
Trust us, the ‘tennis tail’ is not the way to go.
- Tuck it in
Unless you’re a pro-golfer, it just doesn’t work. If you’re wearing a men’s polo under a jacket, you could tuck in the front section just a little, somewhere around the belt buckle. But nothing more.
- Pop the collar
It’ll make you look like a teenage frat boy. Enough said.
- Wear anything underneath it
A men’s polo is meant to be worn as a base layer. So if you get a sudden impulse to layer it over a t-shirt or (heavens forbid) another polo, resist the urge. It’s pointless and will only add unnecessary bulkiness.
5 fresh ways to wear the classic men’s polo
1. Keep things relaxed
Breathable, comfortable, stretchy.
Polo shirts play the ‘athleisure’ card well – with the polo + joggers combo being a match made in heaven for casual days. Our advice? Stick to the same colour top and bottom, perhaps navy or dark grey. Opt for joggers that are slimline and tapered. And finish the look with a pair of white trainers.
2. Suit things up
In the age of loungewear, it’s saddening to say, the poor old suit has taken a bit of a battering in the popularity stakes. But the polo shirt is the perfect addition to give it a present-day, casual vibe.
Start with a tailored two-piece in grey or powder blue. Then, for the polo, either opt for a tonal shade (which mimics the colour of the suit) or go for a completely contrasting hue – such as cream or blush pink. It’s on-point, sexy and – most importantly – comfy. What more could you ask for?
3. Stay pale
It’s summer and (almost) everyone has a little extra glow. So why not lighten up your ensemble?
Go for the OG polo – white, with a small minimalistic logo. But rather than instinctively grounding the look with dark trousers, style it with either stone or cream chinos or white jeans.
To complete the look, simply add brown boat shoes and (if required) a dose of fake tan.
4. Invest in pleats
If you fancy giving a subtle nod to the mid-century roots of the men’s polo, pair them with pleats.
Be careful with this one though. There’s a fine line between pulling off classic chic and twinning with Grandad. Make sure you choose pleated trousers that err on the slimmer side, perhaps in cream or navy blue. And go for a men’s polo shirt with some design interest, such as a texture or pattern.
In fact, the bigger and bolder the better. Think bright vertical or horizontal stripes and retina-searing colours.
5. Look for piping
Courtesy of the world’s youngest influencer – Prince George – piping (or tipping) is currently ‘a thing’.
The concept is simple. It’s a dyed stripe in a contrasting colour, around the collar and sleeve hems. But it’s incredibly on-trend and an easy way to wear an old-school men’s polo shirt with up-to-date style.
Just pair with shorts or jeans to create a smart off-duty look.
Ready to invest in a polo t-shirt or three?
We’ve got it covered.
Our menswear department features a huge collection of traditional men’s polo shirts, including designs by Tokyo Laundry, and guest brands Le Shark, Dissident and Kensington Eastside. All of which are crafted from cotton pique – with a classic collared neckline and the standard three buttons – and come in the full range of men’s sizes (from S-XXL). So you can be sure to get the perfect fit.
Why not take a look and invest in this timeless garment? The polo may be an ‘old’ style, but it’s certainly not ‘old fashioned'. And it 100% needs to bat its way into your 2022 wardrobe.
If you have any questions about polo shirts – or would like further advice on sizing – you’re always welcome to hit us up. We’re by no means experts in runway fashion. But stylish, comfy classics are kind of our forte and we’re always happy to help. Just send an email to email@example.com and we’ll get back to you ASAP.