Not many of us will ever hop up on a horse and take a swing at a ball with a mallet (meanwhile, those who play Buzkashi think the use of a plain ol’ ball is weak) but the polo is still a foundation of most of our hot weather casual wardrobes. They key, as is almost always the case, is fit. And for many, it has to be logo free. You’ll find the good, bad, and ugly from this year’s lot below. Sizes shown are all medium unless otherwise noted. Mount up…
THE GOOD: GAP “Lightweight Heather” Rugby Collar Polo – $26.21 w/GAPGET ($34.95)
So polos can be pretty boring. Especially if you prefer solids. GAP’s Lightweight Heather polo with the contrast rugby style collar is the right answer for mixing it up. Three button placket that doesn’t dip too deep when buttoned with just one button. Nice trim fit. A little long in the tail, but not too bad. Nice non-pique jersey style that’s soft and smooth. Goes on sale all the time. One of the best of the lot and a big win for GAP. Three colors to pick from. Code GAPGET takes 25% off your purchase and expires 4/11.
GAP Contrast Stitch Pocket Polo – $22.46 w/ GAPGET ($29.95)
Contrast stitch? Not on the one that was tried on in-store. It’s more than possible that there’s a duplicate version of this thing in stores without the contrast stitching across the pocket, shoulders, sleeves, and hem. Three colors online, none of them are this darker charcoal version. Fit is the same trim style of the rugby collar above.
Arizona Jean Co. Vintage Wash Pique – $15.00
One of the few pique polos that feels lightweight and smooth. It has a “washed” effect that has really softened the fabric. $15 through JC Penny, and despite what you might think, sizing down is NOT a good idea. They fit true. Like a GAP with a little more room, but if you’re a medium in most polos, you’ll be a medium here. It’s not $40 good, but it’s $15 great. Make sense? Cotton, except for the heather grey version which is a 60% Cotton 40% Poly blend.
Express Fitted Signature Polo – $26.94 ($44.90)
Polos aren’t like blazers or suit jackets. Four buttons aren’t necessarily off limits. This is one of if not the only polo Express makes without their logo on it. The contrast placket is a new edition this year, as is that extra 4th button. Two small details you won’t find on other polos. Great price at the 40% off sale, but who knows when that’ll end. 95% cotton and 5% spandex with noticeable stretch.
Banana Republic Luxe Touch Polo – $31.15 w/ BRTUESDAY ($44.50)
The fabric is what’s so good about these things. Cotton, and smooth to the point of being slick. But they don’t shine like they’re some weird poly golf shirt or anything. Consider sizing down, but a bunch of the reviews say they shrink badly in the wash. Didn’t personally have that problem at all. Size shown above is a small. The one major drawback is the collar, which can pancake out into a flare. That’s an absolute no when wearing a button up shirt, but for a polo, it’s not quite as bad. Code BRTUESDAY is good for 30% off and expires today, 4/10/12.
THE BAD: J. Crew Slub Cotton Polo – $19.99 ($39.50)
This really doesn’t belong in the “bad” section because it’s pretty well executed. Slub polos are just awfully hard to dress up since you’ll always look a little ratty thanks to the texture. Some could say the same for a linen suit… but you’re still in a suit. Nice enough, but not all that versatile. Decent price on sale. The white slub gets a little translucent. Ribbed cuffs on the sleeves. Nice fit that’s certainly not too trim.
Target Merona Slim Fit Polo – $10.00 – $12.00
Ooof. Some will disagree, but these weres a disappointment. The Mossimo slim fit polos from last year haven’t shown up yet, and they might be getting replaced by these slim fits from Merona. The issue is that these things are weirdly long. Notice where my thumb is in the pic on the left. That’s just above where my 501s hit. Unless you’re over six feet tall, these things are going to be way long. Fabric is good, price is excellent, but they’re just oddly long.
Old Navy “Slim” Pique Polo -$10 – $15
A classic Old Navy “slim” fit mistake. It’s trim in the arms and shoulders, but the body doesn’t seem to slim down at quite the same rate. Old Navy is getting better with their slim cuts, but this one doesn’t work. Thin fabric too.
NOTE: The “Tri-Blend” polos just showed up online, and these did real well last year as long as you sized down. Might be the closest thing we get to the Mossimo blend polos this year. No word on fit, and $24.50 is spendy for O.N.
THE UGLY: Target Merona “Ultimate” Polo – $10 – $15
But if given a choice between this and the fitted Merona, the fitted Merona wins in a walk. That right there is a size medium, and it fits like a cardboard box. About as comfortable as one too. From user MK’s review on Target.com: “GOOD SIZING AND LOOKS GOOD. Im a big dude, 280, and the XXL fits properly. I’d expect that they will be one season shirts, but at the low price i paid (they wont let me say, but lets say it was about 12 bones), i dont expect heirlooms.” Right-o MK.
Where are you guys finding polos this year? And are you okay with a logo as long as it’s something classic, like say, Original Penguin? Leave your polo picks as well as your take on the upper left chest logo in the comments below.