Polo shirts are a mainstay of the weekend wardrobe, every gentleman has one and yet this humble garment has been subject to mixed reception over the years. Introduced by tennis legend René Lacoste in the 1920s as an alternative to the restrictive button-ups that were the on-court norm, the design was soon adopted by polo players, with Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren becoming the outfitters of choice.
However, when polo shirts hit the golf course things took a turn for the worse. Garish colours, unflattering prints and cheap fabrics became the order of the day. It wasn’t long before mass production dealt the polo the final fatal fashion blow of ubiquity.
This season, however, they’re making a comeback thanks to stylish gents – and their go-to brands – who have reclaimed the polo as the wear-anywhere piece that works with denim, shorts and, if you really know what you’re doing, suits. All that remains is to find the one that works for you – here are the best polo shirts for men to buy this summer…
If in doubt stick to the classics
Still not convinced about the style merits of a polo shirt? Dip your toe into classic Casual Friday dressing with a fitted polo shirt in a timeless shade. Look for subtle upgrades in the form of fine fabrics (think cashmere for cool summer evenings and pure linen for warm days), mother-of-pearl buttons or a knitted long-sleeve style that makes for a safer office option (even if you’re only showing it off over Zoom right now).
Luca Faloni Brera polo shirt
Emma Willis cashmere polo shirt
Sandro linen polo shirt
Make a statement with a contrast collar
If you’re feeling a little bolder introduce a modern Brit Pop vibe to your polo shirt look with a contrasting collar. Just be careful not to take it too far. A white shirt with a coloured collar or vice versa is ideal and, if you absolutely must have a print, stick to stripes. These riffs on an always elegant blue colour palette are a case in point.
Mr P cotton polo shirt
Frescobol Carioca cotton polo shirt
Club Monaco cotton-blend polo shirt
It’s time to try towelling
Last seen on holidaying children and Sean Connery in Goldfinger, the towelling polo shirt has been making waves in menswear over the past few seasons thanks to early adopters such as David Gandy. Invest now with future holidays in mind and reserve for drinks at the beach bar, paired with this summer’s best swim shorts for an instant hit of surfer style.
Orlebar Brown towelling polo shirt
Sunspel towelling polo shirt
Aurélien towelling polo shirt
It’s summer - embrace pastels
The polo shirt is, realistically, an item most likely to appear in the balmy spring and summer months so embrace your inner French Riviera and invest in pastel hues. Keep things smart by choosing a plain polo shirt in a shade guaranteed to look good with a tan and pair with chinos or tailored shorts and shoes (not sneakers).
Sunspel cotton polo shirt
Onia polo shirt
Polo Ralph Lauren cotton polo shirt
Now you’ve got your summer attire sorted it’s time to learn how to barbecue like a king with tips from the royal butcher…
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