The best men’s polo shirt
Nothing says classic American sportswear like a nice, crisp polo shirt. Polo shirts are usually made of breathable fabrics, such as cotton, and have two or three buttons. They've become a staple of men's wardrobes over the past few decades, worn by everyone from CEOs to baristas. You can't, however, just grab any polo shirt and throw it over your head expecting to look like James Bond. You need to get the right fit, the right color, and the right material.
If you want help finding that perfect polo shirt to add to your closet, then read on. We've written the following buying guide and even added a few reviews at the end for good measure. Our top pick, Nautica's Men's Classic Short-Sleeve Solid Polo Shirt, is thick yet lightweight and maintains that classic polo style.
Considerations when choosing men's polo shirts
The polo shirt is one of the most versatile pieces in a man's wardrobe. It can be worn casually with jeans or shorts. Polos can also be appropriate to wear with a pair of slacks to the office. Some might even dare to pair a polo shirt with a blazer, though this has to be done just right. The truth is that it's hard to wear a polo shirt wrong, because it lives effortlessly on the fine line between business attire and casual sportswear.
Polo shirts generally come in two different fit styles. Regular-fit polos are roomier in the shoulders and torso. They're more forgiving of a fuller build. Slim-fit polos offer a more streamlined, form-fitting silhouette, lending themselves to those with thinner frames.
Although most polo shirts have short sleeves, long-sleeved polos are readily available as well. Most short-sleeved polos stop midway down the bicep, while long-sleeved shirts go all the way to the wrist.
Polo shirts incorporate either a ribbed or rolled cuff style. Rolled cuffs, which are similar to the cuff on a T-shirt, have a double-stitch which is flat. Ribbed cuffs hug the arm more tightly, and give the polo shirt a more tailored look.
Polo shirts generally have either two or three buttons. The buttons should look stylish, but be functional as well. You should button at least the bottom button if you want a balanced look.
The standard polo shirt in the past was always 100% cotton, though that seems to be changing in recent years. Blended fabrics have gained in popularity and include any combination of cotton, nylon, elastane, and polyester. One advantage of blends is that they don't fade or stain as easily as 100% cotton.
Polo shirts come in an infinite array of designs, colors, and patterns. Solid-color polos are easier to match with pants or jeans, while matching a patterned or designed polo might take a little more effort. Patterns are more common of athleisure-wear styles, such as golf shirts.
Shrink-resistance, no-wrinkle fabric, and stain-fighting materials are just a few of the easy-care features available on polo shirts today. "Wick-away" fabric is one of the newest easy-care features to be developed. It keeps sweat away by pulling it off of your body and allowing quick drying.
Most men's polo shirts cost between $10 and $150. For $10, polo shirts are mostly cotton or cotton blend and may be of negligible quality. Around $60, polo shirts have more refined collars and sleeves and are made from premium materials. If you spend $150 or more on a polo shirt, you'll find better stitching, a more tailored fit, and high-grade cotton and other textiles.
Q. What's the best way to pack a polo shirt?
A. Rolling your polo shirts tightly before packing can help to keep them from wrinkling in transit. Although some people prefer to fold their polo shirts, doing so might leave light creases in the material once you remove it from your suitcase.
Q. How many buttons should I close on my polo shirt?
A. There's no hard-and-fast rule on how to button your polo shirt. While buttoning at least the bottom button gives your look a certain level of balance, try all combinations before deciding on one for a particular outfit.
Men's polo shirts we recommend
Best of the best: Nautica's Men's Classic Short-Sleeve Solid Polo Shirt
Our take: The ultimate classic polo from a trusted sportswear brand.
What we like: Material is thick and comfortable. The embroidered logo on the chest gives the shirt a little extra flair.
What we dislike: Must be air-dried if you don't want it to shrink.
Best bang for your buck: Amazon Essentials' Men's Regular-Fit Quick-Dry Golf Polo Shirt
Our take: A comfortable polo shirt at a comfortable price.
What we like: Large variety of color options available. Silky blend finish stays looking new, even after washing.
What we dislike: The size for this shirt runs large.
Choice 3: Under Armour's Men's Performance Polo
Our take: Durable material that keeps you comfortable even in hot conditions.
What we like: Stain-resistant and moisture-wicking polo that looks fresh, even when you've been sweating.
What we dislike: Somewhat expensive.
Adam Reeder is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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