Oh the polo shirt, staple sartorial choice of obnoxious frat boys, tennis pros, and the Easter mass-to-brunch transition. But the once-dated piece is back in a big way as street style embraces more prep-inspired, classic menswear pieces — but this time, in a cool way. The versatility of the piece has made everyone from streetwear to luxury designers take it on, especially with the resurgence of a 70s inspired take on dad-style and tennis aesthetics.
The moodboards taking over Instagram and Tik Tok commonly draw from Jude Law in The Talented Mr. Ripley and John F Kennedy Jr, the epitomes of Ivy League style, just as much as they do Rihanna or Timothee Chalamet. And as summer approaches, who doesn’t want to feel like they’re on a beach in Mongi or Nantucket, especially if they're stuck instead making Zoom calls from their bedroom.
Though to some, the polo feels too much like a signifier of WASPiness or a reminder of the dark side of 2000s trends — shout out to Kanye's hot pink polo or memories of teens layering 5 popped collars at a time — the shirt's return is entirely more tasteful, while still maintaining an ironic twist, think dadcore, not prep school.
As we transition out of the ultra-casual T-shirts and hoodies of our indoors pandemic life into some semblance of style and structure, a polo might be the one thing missing from your wardrobe. From experimental styles and patterns to elaborate knits and even beachy materials, ‘polo’ is no longer a dirty word.
Below, browse some of the best polo shirts for men
Lanvin Patchwork Polo Shirt
Patchwork is very much in, and we're loving the way that Lanvin gives the preppy polo a new contemporary look with it. Splicing together two classic polos with clashing stripes, the luxury house nods to the varsity style of the piece without falling into the trap of cliché.
Jacquemus Le Double Polo
Another avant-garde take on the traditional polo shirt, Jacquemus embellishes a soft knit polo with peeks of an underlayer. Asymmetrical sections to the waist, arm, and collar work to both counteract and accentuate the understated remainder of the piece.
Our Legacy Piquet Long Sleeve Polo
In classic Our Legacy style, this long-sleeve polo shirt is given the oversized treatment. Cut from pure linen, it's a laid-back styling asset with its large collar, chunky buttons, and loose hems.
JW Anderson Oversized Veggie Polo
JW Anderson brings the fun to the polo party. What was traditionally a basic top with a simple embroidered logo becomes a work of art at the hands of Jonathan Anderson. An illustrated radish stretches elegantly to both shoulders, standing out against the neutral backdrop.
Stüssy 2-Tone Rugby Long Sleeve Polo
If you're on the hunt for a classic take on the polo shirt, look no further than this rugby shirt from Stüssy. The two-tone finish ensures that this piece styles effortlessly with the full range of the summer wardrobe. Cut from a mid-weight canvas, it's positioned as a solid choice for the colder half of the year, too.
Issey Miyake Pleats Basic Polo
There is no end to the power of pleats and the man leading the charge is, without doubt, Issey Miyake. We're not joking, anything can get the pleats makeover and it always looks good. This polo is ideal for summer thanks to the breezy pleating made from breathable technical fabric.
YMC Frat Striped Polo
I'm not sure which frats the YMC designers took inspiration from for the Frat Polo, but they're not the ones we've seen. This retro edition of the polo shirt forgoes the classic piqué construction for relaxed cotton while details like the elasticated V cutout to the collared crewneck roll back the years.
Brain Dead x Slam Jam Anarchy Core Polo
Even in its greyscale palette, this Brain Dead x Slam Jam polo shirt catches the eye. Arguably one of the more traditional builds in this roundup, it's modernized by detailing like mismatched buttons.
WALES BONNER Jose Mesh Polo
Wales Bonner is a brand that always pushes the boundaries of design, offering refreshing takes on trends with their unique blend of African and West Indian inspiration — which is to say, if it's bringing back the polo, then it must be back.
This mesh polo is a crochet linen blend to keep you feeling cool and looking cool, too. The prep-inspired v-neck is offset by the color combination of the rust, teal, white and black stripes for the perfect combination of classic and contemporary style.
Casablanca Boucle Memphis Knit Polo
Casablanca is a streetwear brand that has made a name for itself for its vibrant use of color and inventive graphics. With one of their most sought-after pieces being their “Tennis Court Hoodie,” it’s no surprise that they have taken their tennis inspo a step further with their new polo shirt.
Wearing this polo shirt is akin to manifesting being by the pool or on the beach. Everything about it evokes the perfect vibe: the cotton knit for breathable comfort, the sophisticated blue gradient, the playful wave pattern — a perfect garment that proves that boucle isn’t just for overpriced Instagram sofas.
Aime Leon Dore Short Sleeve Polo
Aime Leon Dore has become the cool kids of the SoHo streetwear scene by embracing dad style. The NoLita storefront is the focus of many an-Instagram and their statement pieces and collaborations with New Balance and Porsche get all the attention, but even the more lowkey pieces are worth paying attention to.
The short sleeve knit polo showcases the brand’s attention to detail and revelatory skill at recreating a classic. The basic body draws attention to the weave knit sleeves. An instant classic.
Rowing Blazers Racquets Polo
Arbiters of contemporary prep-style, Rowing Blazers offer a refreshing take on everything from rugbies, cricket sweaters, button-downs, blazers, and everything in between. Their polo is the most classic on the list, staying true to the best parts of the classic garment and adding their signature racquets motif.
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