Editor’s note: To fill up your digital shopping cart with more spring shopping picks, start over here.
The polo — underrated style move, or a once-cool style move that’s been co-opted by fellas rocking one too many with popped collars? We’ll consider those important questions and more here today on The Style Guide, where we’re into full-on spring shopping mode. A trusty spring jacket is going to be an essential layering piece, as will a slim, lightweight sweater, but eventually, things will warm up. And when they do, don’t count out the polo. The key to differentiate it from polos of years past (likely florescent in color — see Exhibit A) is to pick out one that’s cut slim and modern, with some unique texture or pattern to boot. The great thing is that designers have certainly stepped up their game in recent years — get a load of the retro, high fashion-inspired polos produced as part of the Michael Bastian x Uniqlo collaboration in recent years. And as with the style you see at the top of the page, you should be looking for similar inspiration and a trimmer fit. Yes, the polo has gotten its own upgrade (thankfully). And hopefully, the picks below are going to be upgrades for yourself, too. Read on, and get to shopping — those polos won’t buy themselves now.
#1. J. Crew Textured Cotton Tipped Polo Shirt — $49.50
J. Crew’s take on the textured cotton polo shirt looks to be a nice return to form from a retailer that’s had its struggles as of late. But when it comes to easygoing seasonal staples, it’s still tough to beat them. This polo combines some retro style inspiration (check out the tipped collar and sleeves) with what should be soft fabric and a trim fit. Any of the three colors would be remarkably solid to rock at the office with slim tan chinos and a retro pair of sneakers, but this writer’s a fan of the navy-and-white colorway in particular.
#2. Uniqlo Dry Shirt Collar Polo — $19.90
While this Uniqlo polo loses the fancy stripes of the J. Crew option in slot #1, it manages to look surprisingly dressy and crisp thanks to the button-down collar. Plus, the built-in DRY technology will keep you cool. Notably, Uniqlo’s polos are a remarkably good value for the price. The range of color options here again means any of the brand’s picks would be suitable to rock under a lightweight blazer in a heightened shade of blue. While plenty of us just can’t seem to stop wearing blue (myself included), the light shade shown here is perfect for spring Sunday brunch — and beyond.
#3. Grayers Slub Nep Jersey Polo in Denim Blue — $59.50
When it comes to prep style staples, Grayers is definitely a brand to which you want to turn. Its Slub Nep Jersey Polo is crafted from soft jersey fabric that manages to be surprisingly breathable. Having checked out one of these myself, the fit is slim and the styling potential is perfect for spring — for a styling suggestion, check out a recent #OOTD from this site. The heather blue fabric is a nice change of pace when you want to add some texture to a denim jacket, and the price is solid for a polo that can be worn with everything from lightwash denim to grey chinos.
#4. Bonobos Classic Pique Polo in Heather Brick — $58
Designers and brands have definitely been changing up their approach to polos, opting for softer fabrics than pique — but Bonobos knows its knitwear, so this pick still stands (or is it pique?). The Classic Pique Polo in this case takes a shade of burgundy more commonly seen in fall & winter and updates with some nice heather texture. It’d be a great piece to work into your rotation if you’ve already got polos in other colors, and the price isn’t too bad for being Bonobos (home of tuxedos that push $1,000). Feel free to rock this with slim stone chinos and brown suede chukkas on weekends galore.
#5. Sunspel Riviera Polo Shirt in Navy — $125
Last but CERTAINLY not least, I give to you — the polo worn by James Bond. Yes. Yes, indeed. Sunspel sure did strike it big when Daniel Craig wore its Riviera Polo in Casino Royale, simultaneously putting that particular style on the map and encouraging a bunch of guys to hit the gym. At any rate, if there’s such a thing as investment-quality polo, this is it. It’s about the furthest thing from the bad connotations given to the polo — this shirt is all class, with breathable cotton mesh fabric and styling potential worthy of James Bond.
As I sought out the perfect polo (or polos, in this case), I looked several places — perhaps you should, too. Brands like Banana Republic offer their own, slightly dressier takes on the polo, while a more classically focused retailer like Old Navy offers very reasonably priced, sport-inspired options. As with any picks here on the ole Style Guide, focusing on fit, quality and price are going to put you in the right position to pick up the perfect polo (say that five times fast!). Did I miss any key picks? Drop me a line on Twitter, and check out The Style Guide on Facebook either way.
What’s your favorite polo on this list? Do you have yours picked out yet?