I remember as a teenager buying my first polo shirt from Giordano. Since then I’ve expanded my wardrobe to include more of these essentials. You know the saying, “the older you get, the wiser you become?”
First spotted by the grandson of John E Brooks, the founder of Brooks Brothers, at a game of polo while in England, polo shirts are a wardrobe essential perfect for a family BBQ, going to the beach and pool side relaxation. The best thing about the polo is that they’re versatile.
If it’s a casual event go for jeans and sneakers to coax out the laid-back side of the polo. Although it’s the oldest combination in the book, it looks relaxed while maintaining a mature, sophisticated appearance. Sneakers further amplify the loosened look of the polo shirt, thereby providing comfort while remaining on trend. Throwing on a casual jacket is a nice way to spruce up the sprezzatura.
Polo shirts are also great with chinos or dark trousers, and a light sports jacket or a blazer. Darker colours complement light coloured sports jackets in khaki or sand while also harmonising well with blues and navy. Although this can be a tricky look to pull off, the jacket helps accentuates the polo’s features and creates an elegant and urbane appearance.
No matter how well a polo is styled the most important thing to do is to make sure it fits properly. Despite their resemblance to the basic tee they’re meant to fit a little differently.
Polo shirt sleeves should fall just beyond the mid-bicep. If they fall any lower, there is a risk of making the upper arm appear truncated. Additionally, although this will depend on the body of the wearer, ideally the polo shirt should be long enough to be tucked in but short enough so that it could stand on its own.
The neck opening is also something which must be observed. When it’s unbuttoned, the neck should fall into a perfect V-shape. Check if it can open properly as this will aid in framing the face. The fit has to be just right for it to look its best.
Having a polo shirt buttoned or unbuttoned, is a matter of personal preference. Leaving both buttons unbuttoned creates a natural look and allows the lapels to hang unencumbered. On a polo with a three button placket, it can seem strange. Buttoning the bottom two will allow the shirt to look neat and tidy but be aware the collar may sag. For those going for a slightly more sophisticated look, buttoning all buttons brings the collar to a perfect point adds a classic touch with a hint of kitsch.
As a staple it’s always well worth investing in good quality polos. Places like Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, and Kent Wang offer great bang for your buck. More artisanal ready to wear specimens are available from Patrick Johnson and Ascot Chang. Locally Kazuna offers unmatchable value for made to measure polos. Their extended plackets, spread collars and divine lapel rolls are designed specifically to be worn underneath a sports jacket or blazer. For the more sartorially adventurous, Moths of Sydney, a new venture by Le Noued Papillon’s Nicholas Atgemis, offers a shirt that combines the aesthetics of the polo, t-shirt and button up.
So many options- so little money.