The Polo Shirt Is the Perfect Almost-Formal Look for Men Breaking Quarantine

two men in polos
Courtesy of Lacoste & Bonobos
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Waking up hungover or a little under the weather, you stagger to your dresser and pull out a polo shirt. Whatever you’ve paired it with, you suddenly look alert, alive, pulled together and, yes, even sexy. It’s no secret that stylish polo shirts are a men’s style must-have. The simple collared shirt goes anywhere. Fans of this legendary style include sophisticated gents like George Clooney and Benedict Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch has even been seen pairing his polos with porkpie hats, a look that we wouldn’t recommend for the typical fellow.

The best polo shirts for men aren’t flashy. They provide a classic, laid-back style. (For inspiration, see how fashionable men like Idris Elba, Justin Theroux and Kevin Hart wear polos.) They’re comfortable, can be tucked in or not, and are a clever way to show off your guns.

If you’re feeling fashion-forward, you can even wear polos under a long sleeve shirt or sweatshirt, though we would advise against the double polo look. Pair men’s polo shirts with jeans, sweatpants, trousers or shorts and you’re good to go. In fact, you’re better than “good to go.” The polo has an indefinably something extra that once worn, turns a guy from okay to street style star. If you’re breaking quarantine and ready to wear something a little nicer than comfy t-shirts, then polos are the perfect choice.

Pumped up and ready to go? Scroll through to see the best polo shirts for men to wear as the weather gets warmer and quarantine finally comes to an end.

  

1. Cuts Clothing Polo Curve-Hem

SPY MAN AWARDS WINNER

BEST OVERALL

LA-based Cuts Clothing provided SPY with a few shirts from their new summer line last year, and we’re big fans of their new polo shirts in particular overnight. The brand added a super clever detail to their polo shirts, a curved hem. That means if you choose to wear it un-tucked, you’ll still look stylish. And if you’re sporting a couple of COVID-induced pounds, the un-tucked shirt camouflages the extra weight. This line is almost sold out, so don’t sleep on the best men’s polo shirts of the season. We loved them so much that we named them the Best Polo of 2020 in last year’s SPY Man Awards.

Cuts Clothing Polo Curve-Hem Courtesy of Cuts Clothing

  

2. Lacoste Men’s L.12.12 Polo

MOST ICONIC

When talking about the best men’s polo shirts, one brand immediately comes to mind — Lacoste. This brand’s been making them since the 30s, and they’re named after Rene “The Alligator” Lacoste, a tennis player and co-founder of the brand. They come in over 30 colors, but for some reason, red and pink seem to be the most popular shades for guys. You can’t just have one, and they’ll last over 10 years and still look new.

Lacoste Men’s L.12.12 Polo Courtesy of Lacoste

    

3. Billy Reid Pensacola Polo

TIMELESS STYLE

Billy Reid’s been creating American-inspired sportswear since the mid-90s, and his polo shirts always look cool. His Pensacola polo is garment-dyed so the color won’t fade. Cut slightly on the slim side, it’s fitted through the sleeves and chest. Customers can choose from a variety of solid colors, so pick the hue that’s most in line with your style. The one-pocket polo is made from Peruvian cotton, so treat it nicely and wash it in cold water.

Billy Reid Pensacola Polo Courtesy of Billy Reid

  

4. UNIQLO Dry Pique Short-Sleeve Polo Shirt

BEST GOES WITH EVERYTHING

You can never have enough white shirts, they are such an easy match to whatever you’ve got at home. UNIQLO revs up their polo a dry functionality to keep you feeling comfy and cozy all day long, even if you’re sweating up a storm. For just under $20, this is one of the most affordable options on the entire list and has total durability.

UNIQLO Dry Pique Short-Sleeve Polo Shirt Courtesy of UNIQLO

  

5. Bonobos Classic Pique Polo

BEST PRINT

Preppy dressing doesn’t mean it has to be boring. It can be colorful, fun, and exuberant like Bonobos’ classic pique polo. This polo is an homage to spring with the flower-all-over design ready for warmer weather. It’s definitely the most handsome print here, but the style also comes in a variety of solid colors if that’s not your shtick.

Bonobos Classic Pique Polo Courtesy of Bonobos

  

6. H&M Muscle Fit Piqué Polo Shirt

BEST GRAND DAD SHIRT

This polo’s vertical stripes along the collar and sleeve hem give this shirt the versatility that both grandpas and street geeks will gawk at. It’s totally modern yet totally vintage at the same time with a dated brown-all-around coloration and a muscle fit that won’t look that great on grandpa. If you’ve got one of those days when you have either an in-office or Zoom meeting, this shirt ups your style game without forfeiting comfort.

H&M Muscle Fit Piqué Polo Shirt Courtesy of H&M

  

7. Banana Republic Luxury Touch Performance Golf Polo

BEST ON-AND-OFF THE GREEN

This dark blue camo polo shirt will look cool even if you never go to the links. Speaking of cool, you can wear it during the hottest days and feel like you’ve got an air conditioner on. The fabric has special odor-eliminating properties and will also wick moisture away from your skin. For guys who always need more golf shirts, this is the shirt you’ve been looking for all summer long.

Blue camo print banana republic golf polo shirt Banana Republic

  

8. Polo Ralph Lauren Custom Slim-Fit Basic Mesh Hawaii Tie-Dye Polo

BEST TIE-DYE

Tie-dye was everywhere last summer. It’s probably because we were all so damn bored in quarantine that we simply couldn’t help ourselves. From old tees to pants to bandanas to socks to totes to sheets, we tie-dyed everything. It came with a lot of fun, but also a lot of regret. Next time around, we suggest you buy your tie-dye so it stays longer and you can’t imagine your shirt as the color it once was prior. This cotton polo ties in the tie-dye and polo trends perfectly. The polo has a loose fit cut that’s perfect for summer.

Polo Ralph Lauren Custom Slim-Fit Basic Mesh Hawaii Tie-Dye Polo Courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue

  

9. Amazon Essentials Cotton Pique Polo Shirt

BEST DEAL

Amazon has its own fashion line for guys, gals and kids. Hell, they have multiple fashion lines at this point. They make everyday articles of clothing that are well-made, on-trend, and wait for it… wallet-friendly. Case in point: the Amazon Essentials cotton pique polo shirt. There are so many colors available, but this solid coral look is perfect for warmer weather.

 

Amazon Essentials Cotton Pique Polo Shirt Courtesy of Amazon

  

10. Pas de Mer Scossa Polo Shirt

BEST BOXY

The boxy look is a style lots of guys are obsessed with in recent times. It has less of a fitted approach to it and feels very catered to guys of a wide variety of body types. This boxy polo from Urban Outfitters has an all-over, jagged white pattern place on a faded black shirt to draw attention yet keep you looking low-key. It really hits a lot of boxes in terms of modern men’s style. Hah, get it?

Pas de Mer Scossa Polo Shirt Courtesy of Urban Outfitters

  

11. Psycho Bunny Abbott Polo

MOST CHEEKY

New York-based Psycho Bunny’s logo was inspired by pirate flags, and the brand adds a touch of insouciance to their line of premium menswear. Their cotton polo shirt launched an enduring menswear line that combines classic British tailoring with modern sensibilities. This polo has mother-of-pearl buttons, won’t shrink, has vented sides and is a classic fit.

Psycho Bunny Abbott Polo Courtesy of Psycho Bunny

  

12. Everlane Performance Polo

BEST PERFORMANCE

A lot of men choose to wear polos for one thing and one thing only: golf. If that’s the case for you, look no further than this pure white performance polo from one of our favorite brands ever, Everlane. It’s made with primarily cotton for comfort and a little bit of elastane to help you move around when swinging and walking. It is completely breathable, durable and has a hidden button plaquette for safe storage.

Everlane Performance Polo Courtesy of Everlane

  

13. Commes des Garçons Play Polo Shirt

BEST DESIGNER POLO SHIRT

Founded by Rei Kawakubo in 1969, Commes de Garçons has challenged fashion norms and the styles are cutting edge. Commes des Garçons Play is Kawakubo’s diffusion line that was quickly taken up by skateboarders and has a long-standing collaboration with Converse. Their navy cotton polo shirt has the now-iconic heart with eyes embroidered logo, a slim fit and contrasting white buttons.

commes des garcons play black polo shirt heart logo Far Fetch

  

14. Nautica Short Sleeve Color Block Polo Shirt

BEST NAUTICAL-INSPIRED

Inspired by nautical flags and banners, this color block polo shirt, made from cotton, has a classic fit. It’s made for beachside diners and boat-loving boys to rock on or near their seaside adventures. It has a vented hem and comes in three different colorways, but we’re opting for this highlighter yellow approach.

Nautica Short Sleeve Color Block Polo Shirt Courtesy of Amazon

  

15. Just Cavalli Animal Print Polo Shirt

BEST ANIMAL PRINT

Maybe you haven’t heard of Just Cavalli as of yet, but this designer is one to look out for. They took this wild (pun intended) approach to the men’s polo by beefing it up with a multi-color animal print that merges aesthetics from Snooki off Jersey Shore and the dance duo LMFAO’s classic funky style. We can’t tell if we love or hate it, but we are definitely intrigued.

Just Cavalli Animal Print Polo Shirt Courtesy of Farfetch

  

16. Polo Ralph Lauren Horse Jump Polo Shirt

BEST ALLOVER PRINT

The 5th Annual Polo Horse Show in 1967 was truly iconic, you simply had to be there. Missed it? Don’t worry. Yeah, you missed history, but it’s fine — you can pretend to know all about it by wearing this polo featuring a horse jumping over a couple of those horse jumping poles. You know the ones.

Polo Ralph Lauren Horse Jump Polo Shirt Courtesy of Urban Outfitters

  

17. Rowing Blazers Boast Ivy Green 1973 Polo

HONORABLE MENTION

We couldn’t talk about the best polos of the summer without including a look from Rowing Blazers, a brand that we can’t get enough of here at SPY. While the brand is best known for its rugby shirts, they also have a collection of kick-ass polos. If you’re collecting the best men’s polo shirts, then you need something from Rowing Blazers hanging in your closet. This summer, the brand has a collection of retro terry cloth polos, perfect for lazy days at the pool or virtual meetings. These polos are a little expensive (okay, they’re a lot expensive), but they’re a splurge-worthy shirt for any summer ensemble.

Rowing Blazers Boast Ivy Green 1973 Polo Courtesy of Rowing Blazers