Polo shirts tend to get a bad rap, perhaps undeservedly so. Knit polos, on the other hand, are undoubtedly cool. The thing that separates a standard pique polo from a knit polo is the material. Pique and jersey polos are made from a cotton or polyester shirting material, while knit polos are cut from a sweater-like material, ranging from rayon and cotton to silk and cashmere.
Knit polos come in long sleeve varieties and can be a great alternative to a sweater in cold weather. Short sleeve knit polos can be will typically be light enough to be worn on all but the hottest days, while still providing a little warmth for those cooler summer evenings. Plus, short-sleeve knit polos have ribbed sleeves that hug your biceps (even if you’re still working on those biceps).
Knit polos have a decidedly retro energy, and many look like they were pulled straight from the closet of a member of the Rat Pack. You can lean into that retro vibe with wide-cut pants and loafers, or go for a more modern look with light wash jeans and white canvas sneakers. No matter how you wear them, they’ll elevate your everyday wardrobe. A knit polo is also great for wearing to the office, as it’s put-together enough for a Monday morning meeting and casual enough for after-work drinks.
These are the knit polos to buy right now.
1. J. Crew Cotton Polo Sweater
Polos typically have a short, two or three button placket, but they don’t necessarily have to. Take this knit polo from J. Crew, which has a full placket that buttons all the way down. It has a birdseye print with contrasting piping for a vintage-inspired look. The sweater is made from cotton for comfort and breathability.
J Crew Knit Polo
2. Entireworld Organic Cotton Short Sleeve Polo
Entireworld’s Scott Sternberg made a name for himself with the decidedly preppy Band of Outsiders, so it’s no surprise he excels at making polo shirts. This short-sleeve sweater polo has a three-button placket and is made from a knit fabric cut from 100% cotton. Colors include bright green, navy blue and a red and blue striped option.
Entireworld Knit Polo
3. Todd Snyder Sweater Polo
Todd Snyder always brings the heat when it comes to classic menswear pieces that regular dudes can pull off. This sweater polo has a subtle seed stitch knit to create a pleasing hand feel and visual texture. The sleeves and collar are tipped in contrasting white. The polo comes in sand, navy and plum, and is made from a blend of cotton and silk.
Todd Snyder Knit Polo
4. Banana Republic Supima Sweater Polo
BEST LONG SLEEVE
If you want a long-sleeved take on the sweater polo, Banana Republic offers this option, made from soft and durable Supima cotton. It has a zippered placket, rather than buttons, for a more modern look. There’s also a pocket with contrast piping for added visual appeal. This sweater polo comes in cream or black.
Banana Republic Knit Polo
5. Abercrombie & Fitch Button-Up Knit Polo
Another great full button-up polo option is this pick from Abercrombie & Fitch, which is made from a blend of cotton, nylon and silk. It has two stripes down the front with a solid-colored collar and sleeves and a textured pattern across the chest.
Abercrombie Knit Polo
6. Reiss Clapham Short Sleeve Polo
This knit polo from British brand Reiss has an understated elegance that’s perfect for an evening out. It has a ribbed texture and snap buttons on the placket. It’s made from 100% cotton and has a flattering, fitted look.
Reiss Knit Polo
7. Bonobos Short Sleeve Sweater Polo
Bonobos’ take on the knit polo has textured stripes across the front and contrasting piping on the collars and sleeves. It comes in an orange-red color, but a variety of other colors are available such as navy and light blue, which both have different styling details.
Bonobos Knit Polo
8. Mango Structured knit cotton polo
If you’d rather have a simple take on the knit polo, Mango has you covered. It comes in a solid navy color without additional ornamentation. It also has what’s called a “Johnny collar,” meaning it spreads out and has no buttons on the placket.
Mango Knit Polo
9. Scotch & Soda Structured Knit Polo
While many knit polos have a ’50s/’60s kind of energy, this polo from Scotch & Soda is decidedly more ’70s-inspired, with colorful, wide horizontal stripes across the front of the shirt. It has a textured look for extra visual appeal. It’s made from 100% cotton.
Scotch & Soda Knit Polo
10. Tombolo Polo
This polo from Tombolo is certainly a standout — it’s made from a terry cloth material, similar to a towel, making it a great pick for a beach day. It has an oversized placket and spread collar in a contrasting white color. There are no visible buttons, although two hidden snaps hold the collar together. There’s also a handy pocket.