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Is the polo shirt still stylish? We investigate

The polo shirt: Still stylish, or an old trend?

Man in black polo and dress pants
Chris Blonk / Unsplash

The polo shirt has been a staple in the man’s wardrobe for as long as we can remember. Of course, for many of us, it has been relegated to the business casual wardrobe. Pairing it with a good pair of chinos and comfortable dress shoes has become the go-to office wear. If you still believe that an excellent knitted polo is the pinnacle of style, we stand in solidarity with you in reminding all others that it is the unsung hero of the closet. If you don’t believe us, keep reading; we’re going to prove it.

man in black polo and watch
mohammed idris djoudi / Unsplash

King of casual

The polo first arrived in India in the late 1800s but gained the majority of its prominence when British polo players began wearing them as uniform shirts during matches. There is a good reason the polo players picked the polo: it is comfortable and allows plenty of movement while maintaining a look of elegance and formality, two things the British keep on hand even during a sporting event. Since then, the garment has become one of the premiere additions to a casual wardrobe.

A good Ralph Lauren polo is the quintessential look that all other polos look to hold up to. The solid colors with vibrant colors are a base framework for others to work from. When fining ways to wear these looks, pairing them with denim or chinos are a great base look for any casual wardrobe. Throwing on a leather jacket ups the coolness factor, and utilizing Ralph Lauren’s signature bright-colored chinos will help you stand out in any crowd.

Man in blue Ralph Lauren polo
Ralph Lauren

Our choice for the classic – Ralph Lauren Soft Cotton Polo

There aren’t any brands that are more classic than the Ralph Lauren staple. It isn’t the first to ever hit the shelves, but it is definitely the best. These are solid, durable, and will never go out of style.

Man in polo and suit
Monstera Production / Pexels

The underrated dress option

Here is the truth, the polo isn’t only a casual staple. The polo is also a stellar choice for the dressier side of your closet. Of course, it won’t look as buttoned up (pun intended) as your standard dress shirt. But with a little thought, it will look better than anything other shirt with a suit. A polo with a suit will often give an island look with an aura of casual, carefree living. If you stick to lighter colors, it will double down on that idea. Darker colors will dress it up a little, but not much.

The trick with keeping the polo looking great all the time is to break out from the classic looks and embrace something a little more unconventional. And taking the King of Casual and pairing it with the King of Dressy is definitely unconventional. That doesn’t mean you should go wild and crazy, but if you can swing some different colors or a good, vintage look, you will find yourself the center of attention.

Dandy Del Mar polo
Dandy Del Mar

Our choice for the unconventional polo – Dandy Del Mar Cannes Waffle Knit

Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, and other rugged men of the 70s knew how to take their style and use it to change the world. Dandy Del Mar has an entire line of menswear that calls back to one of the most unique and fascinating times in men’s style, and this waffle knit is one of the best you will find.

James Bond in polo
Courtesy of MGM

The choice of oo7

There are entire blogs, websites, and books dedicated to the style of James Bond. He is the tentpole that nearly all modern menswear models itself after, and the polo is one of his most common garments. Whether it is a light blue piece donned by Sean Connery or the tighter edition worn by the most recent Daniel Craig, Bond has always been a fan of the polo shirt.

What makes the polo shirt the go-to for England’s favorite super spy? It is the perfect combination of the casual comfort of a t-shirt and the elegant collar of a dress shirt. So Bond can kick every bad guy’s butt and still look his best. If you have watched any of Daniel Craig’s films, he looks better than most as he wears his polo.

State & Liberty Ott Polo
State & Liberty

State & Liberty Ott Polo

Men’s clothing can be restrictive sometimes. While there are plenty of clothiers who tend to be committed to doing things the old way, State & Liberty is one of the few that do things the new way. The Ott Polo wears an athletic uniform and looks like a polo. If the original pioneers of the polo game were alive today, this is the polo they would have had in mind.

Polos are some of the most common and yet somehow underrated garments in your closet. If you are wondering if your polos are still fashionable, then read the above, and you will find your answer.

Mark McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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