For as cyclical as fashion can be, some menswear staples earn their stripes through simply standing the test of time, proving themselves as certifiable classics despite the changing of the seasons and the ebb and flow of trends. You can never count out the polo shirt, is what we’re trying to say. The best men’s polo shirts take on modern touches, be it better or more comfortable fabric than old-school polo shirts – or a better fit, or cooler colors – while still remaining true to the style’s roots.
And the roots of polo shirts are pretty illustrious: The style was favored by–you guessed it–polo players, as well as tennis players, providing comfort, polish and ease of movement (not unlike the polo shirts of today). In these times, you can find polo shirts on the links, back at the clubhouse, on the runways, at a breezy back patio happy hour–and hopefully, in your closet. These are the best men’s polo shirts to shop now.
Defining something as the best of the best sets a pretty high bar to clear, does it not? When it comes to polos, we looked at a mix of both comfortable and durable fabric, easy-to-style designs (including classic colors), and the right mix of quality and relative affordability.
The right polo shirts are a cut above the rest in ways you might not expect – like the use of merino fabric in this aptly named 72-Hour Polo from Proof. The in-house brand at Huckberry took the polo shirt and went out into the great unknown, using anti-microbial, moisture-wicking fabric to turn the preppy polo into a staple you can wear on the road and back again. Get one in as many colors as you can.
Take it from us: Any chance to save on a menswear essential like one of the best polo shirts is an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up. But it’s not all about saving a few extra bucks: The details still have to be on-point, and that’s the most important thing. If ever you’ve tried on a cheap polo, you know the feeling right away. Here, we looked for comfortable, versatile and smooth fabric, easy styling potential and colors to suit every palette.
To check off all those carefully curated boxes, we turned towards J.Crew, the iconic American menswear retailer that knows how to outfit every guy – regardless of whether or not you see yourself as a fan of the polo shirt. They’ve made it easy to get into the preppy style with a casual, timeless take featuring flattering options like navy with white trim.
When you want to break out the big guns and drop some hard-earned cash on a polo shirt, you best look towards a brand you know you can trust, a brand that knows a thing or two about heritage, history and style. It’s worth it to spend on a brand with pedigree, one that uses premium materials in an impossibly timeless design.
Those were important factors in our “Splurge” pick, which blends luxurious cotton mesh fabric with made-in-Portugal construction and classic English design heritage via Sunspel. But the coolest thing about the Riviera Polo Shirt? It’s the official polo shirt of 007 himself, worn to great effect by one Daniel Craig in the legendary Casino Royale.
Think back to the first polo shirt you ever wore: It was likely a bit stuffy and uncomfortable, right? Times have changed, and performance menswear experts DUER know how to bring the polo forward into modern times. For durability, they’ve used nylon and Tencel, and for a soft touch, they’ve used pima cotton in this fittingly named polo. Plus, the array of colors pairs well with anything – you very well might make it your last polo purchase for some time (although the rest of this list begs to differ).
Charles Tyrwhitt delivered on all fronts with a dressy polo featuring fabric with a slight sheen, the kind you can wear to grab a rooftop margarita or to hit the links. The two-button design is a change of pace from typical three or four-button designs, helping this wear almost like a T-shirt while still delivering the polish of a polo.
Taylor Stitch was founded on a mission to make the best men’s buttondown shirts – they’ve got your top half covered when it comes to more breezy polo shirts, too. And as to be expected, they don’t quite do it like your average brand. They’ve used a custom knit jacquard weave in organic cotton, adding plenty of visual interest to more casual summer looks.
Remember the covetable Sunspel polo we mentioned above? If you want to harness similar style inspiration at half the price, reach for the Vesper Polo from the performance menswear maestros at Mack Weldon. The name is an homage to James Bond’s Vesper cocktail, as is the breathable performance mesh and color options like Total Eclipse Blue. Wear it as Bond would, with tan chinos.
If you’ve tried out NYC-founded brand Faherty’s soft and luxurious flannel shirts, you know it’s all in the proper fabric. That same sentiment carries over to the polo shirt for the warmer months, and Faherty harnessed that same blend of a soft touch and new performance features this time around. The result is a stretch cotton polo done up in a textured fabric that’s dressy enough for the office and easygoing enough for the weekend.
A typical Relwen mood board, we have to imagine, might contain menswear’s greatest hits with a smattering of military inspiration. The polo is among the original functional style staples, with sporting heritage aplenty, so it makes sense that the Ohio brand would offer up a sturdy-yet-breathable cotton jersey take on the polo. Better still is the fact that Relwen designed the collar specifically to frame your face.
It might be cliche to say that no list of the best men’s polo shirts is complete without an option from American style master Ralph Lauren, but it’s also entirely true. The designer’s simple, subtle polo shirts are known the world over from the distinctive chest logo, plus the array of vibrant color options. The ribbed sleeves show off your arms, and the option to snag a slim fit version is a nice bonus, too.
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