Is there a more versatile piece of clothing for men than the polo shirt? It’s the Swiss Army knife of shirts, with a use for every occasion. It’s comfortable as your favorite t-shirt, dressy enough for more formal occasions, but doesn’t feel out of place in more casual locations. Wear it to work, on the golf course, to a backyard party. There’s a reason it’s such a wardrobe staple.
The best polo shirts for men today fit better and feel more comfortable than ever before. Many also split the difference between performance shirts and standard polos, made with just enough stretch and moisture wicking tech to keep you cool and comfortable. Just remember: it’s easy to look sloppy in a polo shirt. The right fabric, and the right fit make all the difference. Here are some of our favorites men’s polo shirts — some traditional, some a bit more modern — as well as a few tips on how to wear them well.
The Best Polo Shirts to Buy Now
The folks at Proof designed this polo shirt so someone could feasibly wear it for three days straight and it wouldn't stink. Regardless of whether you follow through on that or not, it’s a great polo to have in your closet. Made of a merino wool blend fabric that's surprisingly breathable as well as moisture-wicking and antimicrobial, it also features a tailored but not comically tight fit. It’s available in a wide range of colors, from Olive to Heather.
“Vesper” shares its name with the iconic cocktail as well as James Bond’s love interest in Casino Royale. It’s as fitting an homage as it gets to the more expensive version of this shirt favored by 007, one of the all-time great polo wearers. All the proper details are in order, from the breathable micro-mesh fabric (made from Pima cotton and wood pulp-based modal) to the crisp navy color. Whether it’ll make you any better at Baccarat or spycraft remains to be seen.
The “tipped” design (contrasting colors on the sleeve cuffs and at the collar) gives this shirt a bit of retro, dressy appeal. The use of cotton jersey fabric also makes it a winner. Jersey fabric, first produced in the Isle of Jersey in Great Britain, is soft, stretchy and flattering when worn in the right size.
The performance polos of today are definitely winning on the leaderboard over golf polos from years past. This streamlined performance polo shirt is a great example, using raglan sleeve stitching, more commonly found on T-shirts and henleys, to showcase the shoulders (never a bad thing). Polyester-stretch fabric, infused with UPF50+ sun protection, makes it fit for the links but easily wearable back at home.
As its name suggests, this polo is built to prevent your torso from feeling swampy. Moisture-wicking tech helps that cause. So does a touch of spandex in the cotton-blend fabric, as it provides some stretch to help you feel cool and breezy, not constricted.
How to Look Good in a Polo Shirt
To find your new favorite polo focus on fit and fabric. The polo should be flattering to your form, with sleeves that lightly hug — not strangle — your biceps and shoulders.
The proper polo shirt also isn’t too tight through your chest and stomach. It should hit at about your belt line, so you can wear it tucked or untucked. The fabric should ideally be lightweight and breathable. This could mean it’s made from cotton or cotton blends, or with performance-minded stretch fabrics (including merino wool). Older polos were typically made only from cotton pique, a stuffier fabric prone to overheat. Avoid those if you’re able.
The Wellen Hemp Polo is made with organic cotton and hemp, two highly sustainable materials — hemp even regenerates soil as it grows. The resulting polo is form-flattering, nicely priced, and looks especially great with light wash jeans, chino shorts, or linen trousers.
Made in the city of angels from garment-dyed cotton, this polo is ultra soft. It’s also unique, ditching the buttons in favor of a relaxed placket perfect for sunny Saturdays hanging around the house.
The standard polo gets a subtle but sharp upgrade here via the use of intricate jacquard knit stripes. It’s a fancy way of adding texture to this sleek navy polo shirt, which happens to be dressy enough for casual Friday and cool enough for a child-free night on the town. Organic cotton adds a sustainable touch.
Lululemon is making some of the best performance polos out there. This one, for instance, is stretchy and teched up to keep you cool, but fits like the golf shirt you’ve always dreamed about. It’s comfortable, temperature controlled, and comes in a variety of great colors.