Polo t-shirts are simple yet timeless pieces of clothing. They are the classy alternative to traditional casual men's t-shirts and are effortless to style with the right pieces to complement them. Stylish polo t-shirts with buttons, distinctive collars and fabrics are a fashion must-have for men and can be worn on (almost) all occasions.
So what is it about men’s polo t-shirts that have made it such an enduring classic? Is it the evergreen combination of the soft collar, short sleeves and textured pique cotton that manages to bridge the gap between smart and casual?
Or is it the notion of iconic men who have championed it over several years?
This blog is the ultimate guide to men’s polo t-shirts and where to buy the best polo t-shirts online!
A] History of Polo T-shirts
The polo t-shirt was invented in the mid-1920s by Mr. René Lacoste. He was an enterprising French tennis player looking for a comfortable alternative to the elegant tennis whites that consisted of white flannel trousers, a V-neck sweater and a long-sleeved shirt worn with a tie.
Inspired by his friend, the Marquis of Cholmondeley, who wore a short-sleeved shirt with a button-down collar to the tennis court, Mr. Lacoste designed a similar one for himself. He added a crocodile logo on the chest of the t-shirt in honour of his nickname, “Le Crocodile”.
Championed by brands like Polo, Ralph Lauren, Fred Perry, and the aforementioned Lacoste, polo t-shirts have become one of sportswear’s greatest crossover hits and a favourite of some of the world’s best-dressed men as well!
B] Fabric of Polo T-shirts
Polo t-shirts are made from the following fabrics or a combination of these.
Cotton Polo T-shirts
Cotton is hands down the best material for polo t-shirts. Premium cotton polo t-shirts are soft to the touch, easy to maintain, and breathable for warm summer afternoons as you play golf or attend a family picnic! Chances are, you already have one or more than one polo t-shirt given it’s the most comfortable fabric!
Polyester Polo T-shirts
Although polyester is recommended for polo t-shirts, especially for sports, it is not an ideal choice. It is harmful to the environment and fashion items made of synthetic fibres, leave a lot to be desired in terms of quality. Polyester is neither breathable nor durable, and its production is harmful as it leaks microplastics when washed. Additionally, polyester is not biodegradable. Hence, whether or not it’s recycled polyester won’t make much of a difference.
Mixed Fabric Polo T-shirts
This category brings us to the question of whether a polo t-shirt that contains only a small amount of polyester is better than a pure polyester product. It is technically better, but not good.
Even though the quality of a polo t-shirt made of a cotton-polyester mix is better than a polo t-shirt made from pure polyester, mixed fabrics cannot be recycled. However, mixed fabrics are slightly more comfortable to wear and durable & softer than pure polyester.
C] Trendy Colours for Polo T-shirts
Now that you know the history and fabrics of classic polo t-shirts, let’s look at the trendy colours to choose from.
- Pastel Colour Polo T-shirts For Men: Lighter colours like lavender, sky blue, baby pink and mint green are pastel colours. These shades are excellent for summer brunches, beach outings and daytime events.
- Neutral Colour Polo T-shirts: Neutral colours like white, black and grey can be paired with jeans, chinos, and trousers and are must-have shades of polo t-shirts. When shopping for men’s polo t-shirts, choose neutral and semi-neutral shades as they pair well with most bottoms.
- Workhorse Colours For Polos: These are semi-neutral shades that add a tinge of colour to your wardrobe. The workhorse shades are versatile and include colours like olive, beige and navy.
- Jewel Tone Polo T-Shirts: Another addition to your polo t-shirt collection should be darker colours as they are inherently versatile. These include jewel tones such as violet, dark green, and burgundy.
D] Do’s and Don’ts of Polo T-shirts
Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when styling polo t-shirts.
- Think beyond jeans: While polos and jeans look amazing, there are many ways to style a polo t-shirt. So why limit your style? You can pair polos with chinos, joggers, shorts, and formal trousers.
- Size them to your height: Ensure that the tail of the untucked polo t-shirt doesn't extend beyond midway down your back. Not only will it crumple and show when tucked in, but it will throw off the proportions if left untucked. Avoid tennis tails if you want to wear polo t-shirts untucked.
- Tuck or untuck them according to occasions: There is no rule on whether you have to tuck or untuck the polo t-shirt. It depends on the outfit and the event. Tucking gives a progressively formal look, while untucking is casual.
However, if the t-shirt is longer than the back, it is certainly intended to be tucked. You can tuck the polo t-shirt when pairing it with formal trousers or leave it untucked when pairing it with shorts or joggers.
- Button at least one of the buttons: Having every one of the buttons undone looks One button buttoned-up is typically good. Whether you need to have all of them buttoned up is your choice. However, do not leave all buttons undone.
- Avoid wearing an undershirt: A fitted polo t-shirt is tight and long enough to cover all right places. However, while an undershirt helps soak sweat, abstain from wearing one with polo as it could slip from under the sleeve and crumple at the collar.
- Avoid popping up your collar: Gone is the trend of popping up collars. Use sunscreen for neck protection when wearing polo t-shirts, and you won’t have to pop the collar in the first place. Popping the collar is like wearing sunglasses at night, something that one must leave for millennials to do!