For the polo shirt being such a basic staple of men’s style, there sure are a lot of crappy ones out there. Whether they’re old man sweatshirt-thick boxy pique golf shirts, or goofball-young-guy polos emblazoned with enormous logos, a lot can go “wrong” on the humble polo shirt. Below is the best of the reasonably affordable crop from this year. All polos shown are size medium on a 5’10” 180 lb frame unless otherwise stated.
GAP Mini Stripe Jersey Polo – $13.19 w/ LUCK ($29.95)
The color online says this is “red stripe” but it seemed to look much more orange and blue (War Eagle?) in person. 100% cotton, super soft, and that mini stripe has a bit of a retro thing going on too. Nicely cut through the sides. A little long, but not terrible. Placket has a nice bit of contrast too. Code LUCK is good for 40% off through today, 4/28/
Yep. Polo under a blazer. Keep it a cotton or linen blazer, and wear it with jeans or with some laid back chinos. As long as everything fits right, it can look pretty dashing. And the buttons on the collar help keep this polo from smushing out underneath the blazer’s lapels. Fabric is a pique-like, but super lightweight Cotton / Poly blend that really does help keep you cool and dry. There’s a bit of texture to the fabric too, so it won’t look like a short-sleeve poplin dress shirt. Fit is decently trim through the sides. (Blazer by J. Crew, Sunglasses by Warby Parker)
Again, these are NOT the exact same Mossimo 60% cotton / 40% poly jersey polos they were selling a few years back. Now, the good news: they’re still pretty darn good for ten bucks. Aside from the pocket, the other major differences from the old, well loved version would be a slightly heavier, ribbed material at the collar and cuffs. The previous 60/40 incarnation didn’t have that. Fit is still nice and trim.
“Not sold in stores”? Hogwash! They do seem to have trickled into some brick & mortars. And no, these ALSO aren’t a resurrection of the Mossimo Athletic 60/40 polos from the past few years. A little more polished than the chest-pocket option, but still casual. They’re not as thin as you’d think, with a small amount of slub to the weave… but they still feel really good on. Nice amount of stretch with these things too. Buttons are kinda crappy, but these should dip to the low double digits with sales.
Original Penguin 2.0 in Heritage Slim Fit – $41.30 w/ SPRING30 ($59)
Compared to the original, this one has more narrow/shortened collar points, while also shortening the placket. Sorta streamlines the look. Same great heritage slim fit. Fun for sure, with the piping and penguin.
The best of the ultra-affordable. 95% cotton, 5% elastane. Nice depth to the three button placket. Super stretchy, very basic, and very… thin. It’s H&M, so quality is going to be hit & miss, but while this holds up (who knows, it might hold up for awhile?) it’ll be a favorite for many.
They’re not cheap, even when on sale, but Billy Reid’s knits really do feel a cut above in terms of quality. Real mother of pearl buttons, cotton sheeting on the placket, collar band, and under collar give it a little more structure, and they’re cut from 100% jersey cotton. Made in Peru.
Lots of 70s influence in the greater men’s style world lately, and these are included in that trend. Not the best idea if you’re pasty, have a good amount of chest hair, or both. Them plackets don’t close fellas. Still, great looking color & stripe combos on these things.
NOTE: Consider sizing down (that green on the left is a small… blue on the right is a medium). Yes indeed. Kohl’s. Just because some stores don’t get a lot of play here on this website doesn’t mean they’re not being scouted with some regularity. And here it’s paying off. These Apt 9 solid trim-fit polos are a nice medium weight, smooth cotton (not spongy pique) and they have a better than decent fit off the rack. They feel well constructed too. Not flimsy. Tons of colors to pick from.
B.R. Luxe Touch Contrast Trim Polo – $29.70 w/ BRRAIN ($49.50)
Little bit of Mad-Men retro style going on here without going over the top. Cut in their super-stupid-crazy-smooth luxe cotton. Always on sale. Some guys size down in the luxe-touch polos, but the size shown above is a medium and seemed to fit quite well. Easy to dress up or down. First mentioned over here. NOTE: That “BRRAIN” code is tricky. Looks like it’s a select customers dohickey. So, not everyone is gonna get 40% off. Some will get 30% off, some will get 35% off.
Not the cheapest of the bunch, but they’re slimmed down through the sides, execute the color blocking thing well, and ship & return free since it’s Bonobos. * You’ll need the extra 20% off sale items code SALEAWAY for this price.
B.R. Luxe-Touch Solid – $26.70 or Rugby Stripe – $29.70 w/ BRRAIN
Worth mentioning that these super-smooth polos come in a bunch of different styles. Solids are basic, but good to have on hand. The rugby stripes are a bit more casual. Collar on these is pretty spread. If you’re inbetween a size, consider sizing down. Meanwhile, they call the polo on the right their “Luxe-Touch Vertical Rugby-Stripe Polo.” Now, yes, the stripes are stacked one on top of each other, in a vertical fashion… but wouldn’t you call those horizontal stripes?
GAP Heathered Contrast Placket Polo – $12.59 w/ LUCK ($29.95)
60% cotton / 40% polyester. Marled/heathered so the base is a dark grey with flecks of white in there. More casual that most on this list. A nice replacement when a t-shirt seems a little too grungy. All but sold out online, but they seem to still be kicking around in brick & mortars.
Less is more? “It looks like a golf shirt” … So what? It’s light years ahead of the NBA’s attempt to sell sleeved jerseys. And unlike a hockey or football jersey, you won’t be swimming in this one. Sure, the crest is looking very early 90s lately… and you can’t be hittin’ the chips and salsa while wearing this… and…. SHUTUP ‘MURICA YEAH SOCCER WOOOOO!!! (Here’s to hoping it’s not too brutal of an exit for team USA in Brazil this summer)
Your turn guys. What’s your favorite polo that’s still available for purchase? For the record, a bunch of stores were visited w/out much luck. Macy’s, J. Crew, Express, Nordstrom Rack, Old Navy, JC Penney, and more came up dry this year (either in terms of style, or price).