Julie Rath: On Avoiding Polo Shirt Monotony

The polo shirt has been unfairly accused of looking boring, most notably in the summertime. The key to avoiding a polo snoozefest is, rather than having the same exact shirt in every color it comes in, finding a variety of styles and details that suit you depending on the occasion. There are loads of options to choose from: colored stitching to make it casual, or a contrast collar for pop, to name just two. Below are some of my favs for this season in 6 different styles.

1. Supersoft Casual

Men's Style: Billy Reid Polo Shirt

The small pocket, long placket, and contrast stitching (especially the unexpected diagonal lines to the right of the pocket) combine nicely to give this polo a laid back feel. I’ve gotten this specific top for a few clients, and they’ve all remarked on how soft and comfortable the fabric is. Billy Reid, $88.


2. Sporty Stripe

Men's Style: Gant by Michael Bastian Polo

A polo that has horizontal lines across the upper half is excellent if you want to look broader through your chest and arms. I particularly like the fresh color combo on this one. Gant by Michael Bastian, $135.


3. Interesting Details

Men's Style: Orlebar Brown Polo

The marled cotton and button-free placket give this shirt a understated-cool and even beachy vibe. It would look great with white jeans or rolled up chinos. Orlebar Brown, $119.


4. Button-Down Collar

Men's Style: Brooks Brothers Black Fleece Polo

The good thing about a button-down collar is that the collar stands at attention and frames your face nicely. Brooks Brothers Black Fleece, $150.

FIT NOTE 1: This model’s sleeves are too long. The correct (and most flattering) sleeve length should be about halfway between your bicep and your elbow. Your tailor can shorten it if necessary.

5. DressyMen's Style: Ralph Lauren Purple Label Polo

A polo shirt is inherently casual and therefore should be untucked most of the time. This one is on the dressier side with its smooth fabric and slight sheen, so I’m ok with it being tucked in. Ralph Lauren Purple Label, $295.

FIT NOTE 2: When worn untucked, the bottom hem of a polo shirt should hit just below your waistline. If it’s any longer than that, you should get it shortened.


6. Quirky Print

Men's Style: YMC Polo Shirt


I like how this polo is offbeat in its pattern but understated in its color palette. Keep the look low-key by wearing it with dark grey jeans, or flashy fellows can rock it a pair of red cotton chinos. YMC, $70.

How about you? What are your favorite options from above, and how do you like to mix up your polos?


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