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

Lacoste Men’s L.12.12 Polo
Courtesy of Lacoste
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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. And remember, when it gets colder, you can still wear this iconic shirt. All you have to do is add a layer.


1. Cuts Clothing Polo Curve-Hem


LA-based Cuts Clothing provided SPY with a few shirts from their new summer line, and we’re big fans of their new polo shirts in particular. 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.

cuts clothing polo shirts Courtesy of Cuts Clothing


2. Banana Republic Luxury Touch Performance Golf Polo


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


3. Billy Reid Pensacola Polo


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.

Yellow Billy Reid Pensacola Polo shirt Billy Reid


4. Lacoste Men’s L.12.12 Polo


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 20 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.

Pink cotton pique polo shirt from lacoste Lacoste


5. Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Ivy Classic Fit Tie-Dyed Polo Shirt


Tie-dye is everywhere this summer! If you like the polo shirt in theory but worry it’s just not your thing, take a gander at this Tommy Hilfiger creation.  This cotton polo ties in the tie-dye and polo trends perfectly. The polo has a loose fit cut that’s perfect for summer.

tommy hilfiger tie dye polo shirt Macy's


6. Amazon Essentials Men’s Slim-Fit Cotton Pique Polo Shirt


Amazon has its own fashion line for guys, gals and kids. They make everyday articles of clothing that are well-made, on-trend, and wait for it… wallet-friendly. Case in point: the Amazon Essentials slim-fit cotton pique polo shirt. The pineapples add a touch of vacay vibes to your week. It also comes in 38 designs that include stripes, solids and all-over prints.

amazon essentials pineapple pique - best mens polo shirts Amazon


7. Psycho Bunny Underwood Cotton Polo


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. Get it now while it’s on sale.

pale green pyscho bunny polo shirt with logo Bloomingdale's


8. Vineyard Vines Printed Edgartown Polo


Preppy dressing doesn’t mean it has to be boring. It can be colorful, fun, and exuberant like Vineyard Vines’ Edgartown polo. This polo is an homage to Hawaiian shirts with its tiki huts and palm trees print. The one-pocket polo also comes in a tiny blue and white whale print. Made from moisture-wicking Pima cotton, it can be tossed in the wash.

Vineyard Vines


9. ASOS DESIGN Tipped Pique Polo Shirt In White


You can never have enough white shirts, they are such an easy match to whatever you’ve got at home. ASOS revs up their polo with stripes on the collar and sleeves.

Asos design white pique polo shirt with black stripe trim ASOS


10. Beams Plus Slim-Fit Striped Knitted Cotton Polo Shirt


This polo shirt’s vertical stripes adds versatility to the polo shirt silhouette, as at first glance it looks more like a short sleeve knit shirt. 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.

Beams Plus brown striped cotton polo shirt Mr Porter


11. Commes des Garçons Play 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


12. Nautica Men’s Short Sleeve Color Block Polo Shirt


Inspired by nautical flags and banners, this color block polo shirt, made from cotton, has a classic fit. It has a vented hem and comes in three different colorways.

Nautica color block yellow blue and white polo shirt Amazon

13. Alexander McQueen Skull Print Polo Shirt


Alexander McQueen adorned many of his designs with a skull motif. His relaxed, yet modern fit polo shirt is striking and quintessential McQueen. Looking for a way to stand out from a crowd, this polo shirt does it. It’s cool and slightly subversive. Made from cotton, the print is echoed on the back of the shirt.

Alexander McQueen black and white skull print polo shirt Far Fetch


14. Ralph Lauren Classic Fit Design For Good Polo


Ralph Lauren’s Design for Good Polo has an interesting back story. The brand held a contest to create a polo whose profits would go to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization (WHO).  Illinois-based artist Michelle Smith won the opportunity to have her design printed on 2,500 shirts that were created for men, women and kids. What’s extra cool about the design is that the model is her son. Can you imagine your portrait on a couple of thousand Ralph Lauren shirts? That’s pretty wow. What’s also wow-ier (is that a word?) is that the Ralph Lauren Foundation is also contributing $25,000 to the United Negro College Fund in honor of the artist, her son and the message.

Ralph Lauren

15. Rowing Blazers Terry Cloth Blue Polo Shirts


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 terry cloth polos Courtesy of Rowing Blazers