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 sweatshirt-thick, boxy pique, old-man golf shirts, or goofball-young-guy polos emblazoned with enormous logos, a lot can go “wrong” w/ the humble polo shirt. Below is the best of the reasonably affordable crop from this year. Head here to get an idea on the measurements for the goober in all the in-person shots. Got a lead on a polo that should have made this list? Send those tips in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNIQLO 100% Cotton Knit Polo Sweater – $19.90
Oddly impressed with this one. 85% cotton and 15% nylon, and that 15% nylon seems to make all the difference. Why? It’s not overly squishy. For it being a knit polo-style sweater, there’s an airy crispness to it. Size shown above is a medium.
Spier & Mackay 100% Cotton Pique Polos – $30 USD
Thick in fabric. If you’re looking for something airy and lightweight? These ain’t it. If you’re looking for a more traditional feeling polo in a modern fit with a button down, or, cutaway collar? Then these are for you. But if you run warm, these aren’t gonna be a great idea in the heat. Construction quality is nice. Good buttons. Nice collars no matter the style you’re after. But they’re just… thick is the word. Size shown above is a large on 5/10″ 195.
J.C.F. 100% Poly “Performance” Polos – $15.60 w/ SPRINGTIME
The polar opposite of the Spier & Mackay fabric in terms of weight. These are paper thin. Too thin for most if you’re looking for a white polo, but the solids seem solid. White? It’s translucent. If you run hot though, these could be a real winner. Just might want to stick with a color, any color, because white is pretty see-through in some lights. Size shown above is a medium.
Target Goodfellow & Co. 60% Cotton / 40% Poly Pocket Polo – $14.99
Surprisingly decent for a super cheap price. Pocket at the chest is a nice touch, and while there’s no buttons to keep the collar in place, it’s a crisper fabric than you’d expect. Softer fabric than some of their 100% cotton polos. And don’t be fooled by the description in the “fit and style” box on their website. It’s not 100% cotton. These are 60/40. Size shown above is a medium.
J.C.F. 100% Cotton Garment Dyed Polo – $15.60 w/ SPRINGTIME
A longtime favorite that’s back once again. An absurd amount of colors. Lemme let reader Marshall A. handle this one: “It nails the deeper placket, pocket, and substantial fabric. The collars hold up well too, but that may decline with wears and washes. It worked pretty well with a blazer the other day. I’d say they’re definitely worth checking out.”
H&M 70% Cotton / 30% Silk Polo Sweater – $34.99
Thirty five bucks seems a little steep for H&M, but this thing is the real deal. Lightweight and a bit on the thin side, but not too flimsy feeling. 30% silk lends some great feel to the fabric, and some good strength too. Size shown above is a medium. Six different colors to pick from.
B.R. SLIM Fit Luxe Touch – $26.70 – $29.70 when 40% off
Many have reported shrinkage problems with these. Especially when it comes to the length. So much so that some suggest ordering a “tall” size even if you’re not. I don’t have this issue, and I can’t tell you why. I wash on warm or cold and dry on medium or cool. Do they shrink up a little in the wash? Maybe. But not to the extremes that I’ve heard. That said, if you struggle sometimes in the laundry department, you might want to heed those warnings. Anyway, it’s the fabric that sets these apart. They’re all cotton, yet somehow manage to be super smooth, stretchy, and soft. Like there’s almost some silk in there. Plenty of colors and patterns to pick from. Size shown above is a Large Slim.
Target Goodfellow & Co. Tipped Loring Polo – $12.99
One of Goodfellow & Co’s basic, 100% cotton polos. This one has some piping to the collar. It’s fine. Nothing mind blowing. 100% cotton but better than Amazon’s attempt at a 100% cotton polo. Fabric is softer/less junky feeling. Size shown above is a medium.
Original Penguin “The Earl” Polo in Heritage Slim Fit – $39 – $59
A legend and for good reason. Heritage slim fit isn’t too tight, but it’s far from bulky. And that retro piping is the bee’s knees. Daddy-o. But beware: these things seem to be at risk for shrinkage in the wash. And that’s coming from a fella who rarely, if ever, shrinks anything in the wash. A bit pricey, especially considering many other brands are now making piped retro-style polos.
Target Goodfellow & Co. Sweater Polo – $16.99
Just not as good as the 85% cotton / 15% nylon UNIQLO option. All cotton here and knit like a sweater instead of a traditional polo shirt. A bit bulky in terms of the depth of the fabric, and pretty boxy looking in terms of the fit. Couldn’t find this navy option at my local Target, but that one might have more going for it. Size shown above is a medium.
Amazon Essentials Tech Stretch Polo – $15.00
Good. Very good. Super breathable. Stretch is incredible. Size shown above is a medium. Tough to top for fifteen bucks. Just wish they made solids. Currently all options are heathered/marled looking.
Old Navy 100% Poly “Go Dry” Performance Polo – $19
One of the better, super cheap “performance” style polos on the market. Fabric isn’t as soft as some other performance polos, but they’re super lightweight, and seemingly breathe and wick. Should drop further with codes and promos. Size shown above is a medium. These seem to run a little on the big side.
EXPRESS Tech Stretch Polos – $23.94 ($39.90)
Appears to be unchanged from last year, and still very, very good. 95% cotton and 5% spandex = quite a bit of stretch. Yet still plenty smooth and soft. Chambray, deeper 4 button placket is a nice touch as well. (Not that you should be unbuttoning all those buttons… hardly… it just makes the shirt look and feel a little more substantial.) Super smooth. Often goes on sale for 40% off and thus, can be had for around $24. Then there’s the usual multi-buy deals that they run as well. Thank goodness they left their lion logo thing off these polos. Really well done. Somewhere between a true slim and a more contemporary fit here. Size shown above is a medium. A good option for the guys with a little more bulk on em’.
H&M Stretch Cotton Polo – $12.99
H&M makes one of these every year, and this year’s is noticeably less flimsy feeling than previous editions. Jersey cotton fabric that feels sturdy. Not wimpy. Not overly thick. 95% cotton, 5% spandex has tons of stretch. Plenty of colors to pick from and a few patterns like the stripes shown above. Size shown here is a medium.
Kohl’s Apt 9 100% Cotton Soft Touch Polo – $20
A suprisingly decent offering almost every year that we’ve been doing this. Not a pique fabric, but instead a super smooth, almost BR Luxe-Touch like all cotton fabric. Super cheap too. Can drop to under $10 sometimes depending on the sale. Size shown here is a medium.
Kent Wang Collar Band Polos – $65.00
A bit legendary, and as you’d expect, they’re priced like a legend too. 100% cotton jersey that’s a little thicker than I had anticipated, but not overly bulky. The collars are constructed like a woven shirt, with a collar band and a double layer of self fabric (what the body is made out of). So, none of that limp ribbed fabric that curls, bends, and rumples. Honest to goodness mother of pearl buttons that are THICK and really do stand out. True slim fit. They’re nice. Real nice. $65 nice? I think most will say that’s a little steep. But maybe worth a splurge for some. Size shown above is a large.
UNIQLO Airism Button Down Collar Polo – $14.90 ($19.90)
***BEST IN SHOW*** These are a “wow.” These Airism polos are a massive improvement over the past “dry fabric” polos. 51% cotton / 49% Nylon is much smoother and almost cool to the touch. Tons of stretch here too. Plus, the 100% cotton shirting fabric collars are crisp, button down, and won’t drift during wear. The price sure is right too. Size shown above is a medium. Seems to run a touch on the shorter side in terms of the torso. Also, be aware that while these are machine washable, the tag suggests “line dry.”
Got a favorite polo that didn’t make the list? Send in a style tip. They’re always welcome at: email@example.com.