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What is a Polo Shirt: Guide to Polo Shirts

Published: 10/01/2021 10:24 PM Author: PromoLeaf

Whether you’re complimenting your day-to-day work-wear or casual free time outfit, a polo shirt is the perfect style choice for an array of activities, and finding the right custom polo shirt will give your outfit a notch of finesse and professionalism.  Keep scrolling and learn how to wear a polo shirt with style, and find out what makes a polo shirt stand out from other options in your wardrobe. 

What is a Polo Shirt?

A polo shirt is a classic combination of the timeless button-up oxford dress shirt and the much more casual T-shirt.  Polo shirts typically feature a collar and placket with a few buttons and are made with a knitted cotton known as piqué.  This design offers breathability, elasticity, and absorbance that made it the perfect choice for sports such as polo, tennis, and golf.  It’s no surprise that the polo shirt has its origins in the game of polo, but the shirt received most of its fame through tennis, when the famous French player René Lacoste introduced polo shirts to the sport in the 1930s.  Today polo shirts remain a popular choice for anyone desiring a casual look that retains a certain level of class and prestige.

How to Wear a Polo Shirt

When discussing how to wear polo shirts, the first thing you want to look at is the fit.  There are two criteria for measuring the right fit that will really help you nail the perfect aesthetic.

  • Length: The bottom hem should hit no lower than your a couple of inches lower than your belt line and no higher than the hip, a good reference is that it should be short enough to tuck in and long enough to wear untucked 
  • Sleeve length:  The sleeve should end about midway down your bicep, any longer and it can make your arms appear smaller than they are.

The shirt should be a little tighter in the chest and arms before tapering down your waist.  In general, the shirt should fit close to your body without looking too tight.

Polo shirts are very versatile and can be worn for a wide range of occasions, from a laid-back beach day to a classy cocktail party. It all depends on how you dress up the rest of the outfit. 

At its most casual, a polo can be worn with a good pair of fitted shorts and casual canvas sneakers.  To up this laid-back style, swap the shorts for denim jeans or chinos, although if you want to avoid the corporate look you should avoid khaki.

For a more formal look, you can replace the denim jeans or chinos with a pair of trousers.  Throw on a classy belt and tuck in the polo.  Pair this with a pair of loafers and a nice watch and your look is complete.  Choosing monochrome colors is always the more fashionable and formal option, but a retro-styled wool knit polo with design can be a stylish option for those that can pull it off.

Add a sports jacket over your polo for the most posh occasions.  A sports jacket like the polo was originally designed for sporting pursuits, and so they naturally pair well together for an elegant look.

The Difference Between Polo Shirts and Other Shirts

Polo Shirt vs. T-Shirt

There are two major differences between polo shirts and custom t-shirts: the finish of the collar and the material. The polo’s collar gives it a slightly classier look than a t-shirt, which allows the polo to be worn to slightly more formal occasions. Although both shirts are made of cotton, polos are made of knitted cotton whereas t-shirts are made of woven cotton. Interested in custom t-shirts? We have compiled this t-shirt buying guide to help you every step of the way!

Polo Shirt vs. Button-Down 

Button-down shirts are almost invariably more formal than polo shirts, and can be paired with a tie while a polo is unable to compete in that area. Custom dress shirts are usually going to be made of stiffer fabrics like oxford, twill, or broadcloth. They are similar in that both shirts can be worn tucked or untucked depending on the level of formality you wish to present.   

Polo Shirt vs. Golf Shirt

Although polo shirts and golf shirts are fundamentally the same, they differ in fabric and fit.  Golf shirts are usually made from a much thinner knit than that of polo shirts, have a looser fit than that of polos, and usually contain moisture-wicking material.  Golf shirts are therefore geared more for the practicality of the sport, whereas polos are generally designed for fashion. 

We hope you found this guide to polo shirts useful.  When wearing polo shirts it’s important to remember to find the right fit for your body, and to style your polo shirt outfit to match the level of formality you want to display.  You are now on your way to creating a superb timeless outfit for a vast range of occasions. 

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