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The ultimate guide to Polo shirts

Polo shirt

A polo shirt is a simple but timeless summer wardrobe item. It is one of the most versatile shirts every gentleman should have.

Polo shirts can be wonderfully paired with chinos, shirts, jeans and many other pieces of closing. They work great for golf or tennis, strolls along the beach, relaxed weekends and so on. Therefore, any man should have at least two of them in his collection. Even though a polo shirt is a very popular summer garment, it can be challenging to find the right fit, cut and fabric. In this article, we take a closer look at every element of the polo shirt so all of you will know how to choose the best one.

Polo shirt

The best materials for polo shirts

Silk

Silk is light, comfortable and great for polo shirts. However, I don’t recommend you to buy a shirt made of pure silk as it can lose its colour if the weather gets too hot or wet. Better, choose cotton-silk or linen-silk blends.

Linen

Nowadays, linen is one of the most popular summer fabrics. It is very light, breathable, comfortable, soft and effective at absorbing perspiration. On hot days, opt for linen instead of cotton. Don’t worry about wrinkles – it is a part of the charm.

Cotton

Cotton is the most common material for polo shirts. It is very breathable, durable and doesn’t wrinkle as easily as linen. However, there is cheap cotton that can feature piling and faded colours after a couple of washes. Be careful and get only high-quality cotton, it feels better on skin and lasts longer.

Polo shirt

The fit of polo shirts

A polo shirt should be slim fit but not too tight.  The sleeves should be fitted as well and finish between the shoulder and the elbow. Shorter sleeves look vintage, while longer sleeves look too trendy. If you can slide a finger between the sleeve and skin – the fit is perfect. Same way as with a dress shirt, the shoulder seam of a polo shirt should sit on the shoulder bone. The unbuttoned neckline should reach just down to the chest area. The front and back of the shirt should be the same length. However, traditional polo shirts are shorter in the front than they are in the back and look better when tucked in. If untucked, a polo shirt should sit just below the waistband.

Classic fit

There are many different kinds of fit and no absolute rule. So, you can define the fit by comparing a shirt to the other polo shirts of the same brand. The classic fit is perfect for most men. Generally, such shirts have lower armholes and sleeves that reach closer to the elbow. You can easily tuck them into a pair of shorts or pants. The classic fit is not too tight and not too loose.

Slim fit

The slim fit is great for men in good shape or for athletic use. Such polo shirts have tapered waist and shorter front and back hems that make a shirt look great when worn untucked.

Custom fit

The custom fit is something in between the classic and the slim fit. Such shirts have higher armholes and shorter sleeves than classic fit shirts. They also feature tapered waist but have slightly longer hems than slim fit shirts and shorter than classic fit ones.

Polo shirt

Polo shirt Do’s and Don’ts

As for me, I wear polo shorts only casually, but you can see men wearing them with everything ranging from a blazer to ripped jeans. Despite its versatility, there are a few style rules you should follow.

Do wear them fitted

If you can’t slide a finger between your arm and your sleeve, get a larger size. If there is too much space, get a smaller one. High-quality shirts are made from light fabrics. They should drape nicely over your body without showing too much.

Do get the right length

Make sure that a polo shirt doesn’t extend further than midway down your buttocks. Otherwise, it will look bad when untucked and will crumple when tucked in. If you plan to wear a shirt untucked, the front and the back hem should sit just below the waistband.

Polo shirt

Don’t wear polo shirts with a blazer

Some men think that a polo shirt looks smart with a blazer even if the soft collar doesn’t lay flat. However, a dress shirt always looks better with a blazer. So, keep your polo shirt for more casual outfits.

Don’t wear large logos

It is not always possible to avoid logos entirely as a small logo on a polo shirt became a standard. So, the best choice here is a shirt with a logo ton-in-tone with the knit. Oversized logos are absolutely unacceptable, they look flashy and weird.

Alessandro Rocco Pietrocola is an entrepreneur, fintecher, investor, blogger and author based in London and operating mainly in Europe, Asia and Oceania with main focus on UK, Baltic Countries, Russia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, UAE, Middle East and New Zealand as area of interest! At the moment is the CEO of Astorts Group. He is an UK FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and NZ FSPR (Financial Service Provider Register) Approved Person and has great experience as director of regulated companies.
He uses to dedicate part of his life to inspire others and help them achieve the most out of their lives. Since he was 20, he had successfully founded and managed several companies operating in the field of management consulting, wealth management and fintech. He is Member of Institute of Directors in London, Member of Changer Club in Riga, Member of Fintech Association of Hong Kong, Member of Singapore Fintech Association, Member of Non Executive Director Association in London and Member of Alumni Network of Draper University in San Francisco. He loves travelling, he is a cigars lover, an amateur golfer and a dapper man.
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