As spring gets closer to summer (on the calendar, at least), certain style items should definitely move to the front of your closet — namely, the classic polo shirt. Short-sleeve shirts, as well as polos, are style essentials for the warmer months and as long as the fit is kept trim through the body and sleeves, the right short-sleeve shirt can go many different places. What’s so great about the modern polo is the variety of unique takes on the classic style —and that’s what the latest collaboration between Michael Bastian and Uniqlo does so well. This year’s edition of the collaboration has been out for some time now, but it’s definitely still worth looking into. Last year’s collection between the famed American designer and the fast-fashion outlet was an instant hit, selling out seemingly faster than the shelves could be stocked (at least in an online sense). In glancing through the site at various times last year, several styles were sold out completely for days at a time.
Some of the buzz seems to have died down a bit judging from the amount of styles and sizes left in some varieties within this year’s collection, but all the hallmarks of good design remain. There’s a wide mix of colors, including some with thick rugby stripes and open collars (reminiscent of a soccer jersey), and other polos with small prints and plaids. On a recent trip to a Uniqlo store in NYC, the shelves were positively stocked with these polos, nearly all of them marked down to under $23. For the fit and quality, that’s an outstanding price. Perhaps the most eye-catching in this collection are the polos with miniature animal print designs on them. While some are against such a trendy look, they hit the personal sweet spot in terms of a shirt with just enough personality.
The two printed polos in the personal collection have a longer four-button placket and a fairly substantial collar that stands up well on its own for most of the day. A small, button-triangle opening at each of the sleeves near the bicep is a nice added detail. And of course, the prints themselves are quite entertaining. Grey with white raccoon print? Sure. White with navy blue elephants? You bet. They bring just enough interest without being overly distracting — something that’s helped in no small part by the largely neutral colors used in each design.
Those neutral colors make them easy to pair with just about anything, from dark tan or brown chinos (or even black denim, as pictured) to a more colorful, complementary pair of shorts. Since the polo brings some pop with the print, it’s best to keep the shoes (and pants) minimal-looking. However, you can liven up your accessories a touch with a patterned watch strap in a complementary color without going too overboard.
Additionally, the fit of the shirts is spot-on; a medium is just trim enough without being too tight. And for being made out of pique material, the fabric is fairly breathable and stretchy — not too suffocating, like other pique-type materials (the materials listing puts it at 100% cotton). And on top of the other perks, the collection is extensive enough that if you’re in the market for a less flashy polo, there are plenty of more subdued options with just enough detailing (including this white option with two front-button pockets, as pictured at the top).
For now, the polos are on-sale through Uniqlo for at 2 for $29.90 — with a deal that great, a huge variety of options and styles, and a nice, modern fit, these polos are worth every penny.