The timeless polo shirt should be a staple in any gentleman’s wardrobe and deserves a little more love than it typically gets. Originally the attire associated with tennis, the short-sleeved garment is now one of the most versatile pieces of clothing in the world. It’s a great shirt for summertime first dates, backyard BBQs, and when you’re not sure exactly where the plans for your day or evening will take you. It can easily be worn from the beach to a classy day at the races.
Polos are available in a variety of materials from natural to synthetic but cotton — with its cool, comfortable, breathable properties — is the most typical and most recommended fabric for these shirts.
Don’t wear an undershirt. A polo is meant to be worn as a base or single layer close to the body, and an undershirt adds excess bulkiness underneath it, and can peep out of the neckline/collar.
Choose a shirt with a pocket, unless secured. A pocket on the breast of a polo can add a bit of visual interest, but it rarely if ever gets used, and tends to simply sag and become misshapen, detracting from the shirt’s sharpness.
Wear an athletic polo for casualwear. Polos designed for sports like golf or tennis are made from synthetic performance materials and cut for ease of movement. They’re great for the course or the courts, but shouldn’t be worn outside of them.
Feel free to tuck or untuck, depending on the occasion. A polo shirt can go either way. Tucking, of course, gives you a more formal look, while untucking is more casual.
Have a core collection of solid, basic colours like blue, black, white, grey but expand into brighter and more interesting colours. You ought to have something a little different too, like pinks, purples, reds, and greens.
For the most casual get-up, pair your untucked polo with khaki flat front shorts, canvas sneakers and a field watch. To up the sharpness a bit, swap the shorts for dark denim or chinos. To go up another level of formality, swap a cotton polo for a retro-styled wool knit one. These sweater shirts often come with contrasting colours on the collar/arm bands, as well as a banded bottom.
To move up the formality ladder another rung, keep the polo but swap the chinos/jeans for actual trousers. Tuck your shirt in for greater professionalism, and pair with a nice belt and leather loafers. To dress the polo up further, it can be paired with a sports jacket and either nice jeans, chinos, or trousers.
*Photo: The London Man Blog