This is a partner guest post by designer brand Original Penguin UK.
The polo shirt is one of the most versatile men’s wardrobe options out there, so if you don’t have one in your closet you’re missing out on a lot of easy style points. If you thought they offered little more than a preppy look, you should check out what is actually on offer these days – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Before we go into any of that, however, there are a few things we should clear up first. The versatility of the polo shirt comes from its ability to pair with jeans, trousers, a hoody or blazer, allowing you to jump from smart to casual and back again without a second thought.
However, there are some things you need to know about how to wear the humble polo…
Unless you’re super-slim and dressing super-smart, don’t. Even then it’s not a guaranteed winner. And never tuck a polo shirt into jeans – it’s a look which has Dad-at-a-picnic written all over it.
The buttoned-up look is not to be shied away from, but it is if the neck is too tight. A strained top button and bulging neck veins are not the way to impress (and invariably lead to shortness of breath).
One of the grey areas; it can work with smaller collars – but not if there’s a big old crease in it. As rule, steer clear.
Who thought wearing two polo shirts at the same time was a good idea? It’s a bad look that reeks of trying far too hard; don’t be one of them.
If you think you can live with these basic principles, welcome to the world of the polo.
The preppy look is typically found in offerings from Ralph Lauren and Lacoste: simple, block-colour styles in subtle shades. This simplicity means you can pair it with chinos, jeans or trousers, but it also means fit is important – too much material and you’ll look like you’re wearing a tent.
For something a little bolder and more edgy go for the British classic: Fred Perry. You can afford to be more bold with your colour choices, as the iconic double banding on the sleeves and collar will offset it just enough.
If the Mod look is just not retro enough, however, look at the polo shirt offerings from Original Penguin. The three-button placket has contrast trim for that classic 1950s look, while you can also mix it up with patterned prints on the torso. Lyle & Scott also has an interesting range of pattern-print polos, again playing on the retro theme.
Just remember that whatever you choose, keep it ironed – crinkly polos are definite no-nos!