The Polo Shirt Is the Perfect Almost-Formal Look for Men Breaking Quarantine
Waking up hungover or a little under the weather, you stagger to your dresser and pull out a polo shirt. Whatever you’ve paired it with, you suddenly look alert, alive, pulled together and, yes, even sexy. It’s no secret that stylish polo shirts are a men’s style must-have. The simple collared shirt goes anywhere. Fans of this legendary style include sophisticated gents like George Clooney and Benedict Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch has even been seen pairing his polos with porkpie hats, a look that we wouldn’t recommend for the typical fellow.
The best polo shirts for men aren’t flashy. They provide a classic, laid-back style. (For inspiration, see how fashionable men like Idris Elba and Justin Theroux wear polos.) They’re comfortable, can be tucked in or not, and are a clever way to show off your guns.
If you’re feeling fashion-forward, you can even wear polos under a long sleeve shirt or sweatshirt, though we would advise against the double polo look. Pair men’s polo shirts with jeans, sweatpants, trousers or shorts and you’re good to go. In fact, you’re better than “good to go.” The polo has an indefinably something extra that once worn, turns a guy from okay to street style star. If you’re breaking quarantine and ready to wear something a little nicer than comfy t-shirts, then polos are the perfect choice.
Pumped up and ready to go? Scroll through to see the best polo shirts for men to wear as the weather gets warmer and quarantine finally comes to an end.
1. Cuts Clothing Polo Curve-Hem
LA-based Cuts Clothing provided SPY with a few shirts from their new summer line last year, and we’re big fans of their new polo shirts in particular overnight. The brand added a super clever detail to their polo shirts, a curved hem. That means if you choose to wear it un-tucked, you’ll still look stylish. And if you’re sporting a couple of COVID-induced pounds, the un-tucked shirt camouflages the extra weight. This line is almost sold out, so don’t sleep on the best men’s polo shirts of the season. We loved them so much that we named them the Best Polo of 2020 in last year’s SPY Man Awards.
SPY MAN AWARDS WINNER
2. Lacoste Men’s L.12.12 Polo
When talking about the best men’s polo shirts, one brand immediately comes to mind — Lacoste. This brand’s been making them since the 30s, and they’re named after Rene “The Alligator” Lacoste, a tennis player and co-founder of the brand. They come in over 30 colors, but for some reason, red and pink seem to be the most popular shades for guys. You can’t just have one, and they’ll last over 10 years and still look new.
3. Billy Reid Pensacola Polo
Billy Reid’s been creating American-inspired sportswear since the mid-90s, and his polo shirts always look cool. His Pensacola polo is garment-dyed so the color won’t fade. Cut slightly on the slim side, it’s fitted through the sleeves and chest. Customers can choose from a variety of solid colors, so pick the hue that’s most in line with your style. The one-pocket polo is made from Peruvian cotton, so treat it nicely and wash it in cold water.
4. UNIQLO Dry Pique Short-Sleeve Polo Shirt
BEST GOES WITH EVERYTHING
You can never have enough white shirts, they are such an easy match to whatever you’ve got at home. UNIQLO revs up their polo a dry functionality to keep you feeling comfy and cozy all day long, even if you’re sweating up a storm. For just under $20, this is one of the most affordable options on the entire list and has total durability.
5. Bonobos Classic Pique Polo
Preppy dressing doesn’t mean it has to be boring. It can be colorful, fun, and exuberant like Bonobos’ classic pique polo. This polo is an homage to spring with the flower-all-over design ready for warmer weather. It’s definitely the most handsome print here, but the style also comes in a variety of solid colors if that’s not your shtick.
6. H&M Muscle Fit Piqué Polo Shirt
BEST GRAND DAD SHIRT
This polo’s vertical stripes along the collar and sleeve hem give this shirt the versatility that both grandpas and street geeks will gawk at. It’s totally modern yet totally vintage at the same time with a dated brown-all-around coloration and a muscle fit that won’t look that great on grandpa. If you’ve got one of those days when you have either an in-office or Zoom meeting, this shirt ups your style game without forfeiting comfort.
7. Banana Republic Luxury Touch Performance Golf Polo
BEST ON-AND-OFF THE GREEN
This dark blue camo polo shirt will look cool even if you never go to the links. Speaking of cool, you can wear it during the hottest days and feel like you’ve got an air conditioner on. The fabric has special odor-eliminating properties and will also wick moisture away from your skin. For guys who always need more golf shirts, this is the shirt you’ve been looking for all summer long.
8. Polo Ralph Lauren Classic Fit Terry Polo Shirt
BEST UPDATED CLASSIC
If you’re going to do a polo shirt, you have to include both polo OGs, Lacoste and Ralph Lauren. For years, those two brands ruled the polo shirt world. For summer, Ralph Lauren’s remade their classic polo in a soft terry material. When you put it on, it feels like a luxurious hug. The tiny polo player is capering on a chest pocket, and the polo is cut in the classic fit. That means not only does it look good tucked in or out, but you can also layer it over a tee, too.
9. Amazon Essentials Cotton Pique Polo Shirt
Amazon has its own fashion line for guys, gals and kids. Hell, they have multiple fashion lines at this point. They make everyday articles of clothing that are well-made, on-trend, and wait for it … wallet-friendly. Case in point: the Amazon Essentials cotton pique polo shirt. There are so many colors available, but this solid coral look is perfect for warmer weather.
10. Pas de Mer Scossa Polo Shirt
The boxy look is a style lots of guys are obsessed with in recent times. It has less of a fitted approach to it and feels very catered to guys of a wide variety of body types. This boxy polo from Urban Outfitters has an all-over, jagged white pattern place on a faded black shirt to draw attention yet keep you looking low-key. It really hits a lot of boxes in terms of modern men’s style. Hah, get it?
11. Psycho Bunny Abbott Polo
New York-based Psycho Bunny’s logo was inspired by pirate flags, and the brand adds a touch of insouciance to their line of premium menswear. Their cotton polo shirt launched an enduring menswear line that combines classic British tailoring with modern sensibilities. This polo has mother-of-pearl buttons, won’t shrink, has vented sides and is a classic fit.
12. Everlane Performance Polo
A lot of men choose to wear polos for one thing and one thing only: golf. If that’s the case for you, look no further than this pure white performance polo from one of our favorite brands ever, Everlane. It’s made with primarily cotton for comfort and a little bit of elastane to help you move around when swinging and walking. It is completely breathable, durable and has a hidden button plaquette for safe storage.
13. Commes des Garçons Play Polo Shirt
BEST DESIGNER POLO SHIRT
Founded by Rei Kawakubo in 1969, Commes de Garçons has challenged fashion norms and the styles are cutting edge. Commes des Garçons Play is Kawakubo’s diffusion line that was quickly taken up by skateboarders and has a long-standing collaboration with Converse. Their navy cotton polo shirt has the now-iconic heart with eyes embroidered logo, a slim fit and contrasting white buttons.
14. Nautica Short Sleeve Color Block Polo Shirt
Inspired by nautical flags and banners, this color block polo shirt, made from cotton, has a classic fit. It’s made for beachside diners and boat-loving boys to rock on or near their seaside adventures. It has a vented hem and comes in three different colorways, but we’re opting for this highlighter yellow approach.
15. Just Cavalli Animal Print Polo Shirt
BEST ANIMAL PRINT
Maybe you haven’t heard of Just Cavalli as of yet, but this designer is one to look out for. They took this wild (pun intended) approach to the men’s polo by beefing it up with a multi-color animal print that merges aesthetics from Snooki off Jersey Shore and the dance duo LMFAO’s classic funky style. We can’t tell if we love or hate it, but we are definitely intrigued.
16. Recover Sport Polo
Recover is one of those brands whose mission is to do help the planet while creating stuff that looks cool and fits well. They have a transparent supply chain, use only recycled materials for their stuff — this polo is made from 100% recycled materials, and most of their manufacturing is in North Carolina. This polo shirt’s material has moisture-wicking properties, an athletic fit and comes in three other colors.
17. SHEIN Men’s Half Zip Solid Knit Polo Shirt
BEST FOR ZOOM MEETINGS
We love the versatility of the classic polo shirt, and we’ve talked about how it basically goes with everything. While we’d love to wear ’em everywhere, there are times when you have to get a bit more dressed up. And after the year we’ve all gone through, putting on “adult” clothing sounds like agony. That’s one of the reasons we zeroed in on this polo shirt. Due to the way it’s styled, it could look snazzy under a blazer for a formal Zoom or in-person meeting or when it’s time to either meet someone’s parents or … you get the idea.
18. Vuori Strato Tech Polo
BEST FOR TRAVEL
Vouri makes performance gear that doesn’t look out of place in an office or out on the town. Their Strato Tech Polo’s materials not only wick away moisture from your skin, but the fabric also kills odors. Whether you’re dealing with a crazy commute or traveling for the weekend, if you happen to sweat your face off during those fun activities, no one’s going to know as the shirt will keep you smelling sweet. This polo shirt has a modern athletic fit and has a 30 UPF rating. That means that it’s like wearing sunscreen, as it blocks harmful rays. It also comes in four other colors.
19. AAPE by *A Bathing Ape Logo Embroidered Polo Shirt
Bathing Ape’s been making coveted graphic T-shirts since the 80s, but did you know that they made polo shirts? Made from 100% cotton, the back of the polo has “AAPE NOW” in white just below the striped collar. The front has the brand’s embroidered logo on the left side.
20. Burberry Monogram Motif Cotton Pique Polo Shirt
BEST FOR LOGOMANIA FANS
Polo shirts and designer logos go together like cookies and milk. If you’re opting for a logomania-styled polo shirt, you can’t go wrong with one from Burberry. They are often cited as a heritage brand that deftly mixes classics, trends and yes, streetwear into their styles, so they’re never stuffy. This cotton pique polo has a subtle tonal embroidered logo on the chest, and the placket is trimmed in the brand’s plaid. It comes in seven other hues too.
21. Paul Stuart Pima Cotton Interlock Polo
For some reason, when you say “polo shirt” the immediate image that comes to mind is spending the weekend either near the sea or in the bucolic countryside. They never seem to be “city wear.” Paul Stuart’s pima cotton polo is a more tailored type of polo shirt that looks spiffy in an urban playground. Made from silky soft pima cotton, this polo’s been reduced in price by 25%.
22. Richer Poorer Relaxed Fit Polo Shirt
Designed to look like it’s your most favorite shirt in your dresser, Richer Poorer’s relaxed fit polo shirt has that deliberately worn-in and most-loved look done to its fabric. The polo sports dropped shoulders and a knit collar. It also comes in a charcoal shade.
23. J. Crew Bowery Egyptian Cotton Pique Polo Shirt
BEST AFFORDABLE LUXURY
Have you ever heard people talk about Egyptian cotton sheets? They wax rhapsodic over the insanely high thread count, the softness of the fabric, and how the colors stay true no matter how many times they’re washed. Transpose all that into one well-made polo shirt by J. Crew. It’s super soft, will keep its shape for years, and has a tennis tail —that means it’s a tad longer in the back. Not feeling this shade of green? There are nine other shades to pick from.
24. Rossignol Logo Tab Polo Shirt
Rossignol’s associated with cold-weather sports; you hear their name and think of skiing down a mountain. Their polo shirts may not be a good idea to wear when shredding powder, but they’re great for sunny, summery days. The brand’s colors are appliqued as a tab on one sleeve, while their rooster is on the chest of this polo shirt. It also comes in navy.
25. Rowing Blazers Boast Ivy Green 1973 Polo
We couldn’t talk about the best polos of the summer without including a look from Rowing Blazers, a brand that we can’t get enough of here at SPY. While the brand is best known for its rugby shirts, they also have a collection of kick-ass polos. If you’re collecting the best men’s polo shirts, then you need something from Rowing Blazers hanging in your closet. This summer, the brand has a collection of retro terry cloth polos, perfect for lazy days at the pool or virtual meetings. These polos are a little expensive (okay, they’re a lot expensive), but they’re a splurge-worthy shirt for any summer ensemble.