A day at the polo is symbiotic with style. Along with the horses and game play, getting dressed up has become part of the polo’s appeal. And with a fresh new year, comes a fresh take on how to dress for the occasion.
Unlike the formalities of the Spring Races, Polo is both smart and casual. And the best way to approach your get up, is to think European; those adrift in a boat in Positano or sipping martinis in Capri – anything Italian-style, really.
Go For Bold
Bold looks like two things: statement tailoring or out-there accessories. It’s your decision. For suits, traditional patterns like windowpane checks and chalk stripes make a sure-fire statement; worn as a full, two-piece suit to pack a bigger punch. Just keep the suit colour relatively coy – cement grey or navy blue proving solid bets with neutral-coloured lines for the patterns.
Pop colour should be kept for the finer things: blue suede brogues or a vibrant blazer in red or yellow, made from grainy cotton for added texture. Try teaming the jacket with neutral trousers so not to look like a walking piece of fruit.
Overall, going bold means ‘light’ and ‘shade’. When you add colour or print to an item, take it away somewhere else to balance the brash act.
While ‘dressy’ still applies at the Polo, comfort is key: open neck shirting, relax fit blazers and ankle-bearing trousers underpinned by tassel loafers are aplenty. Tailored shorts teamed with a contrast coloured blazer is a key look for the season. So jump on the co-ord train – if you’ve got the pins to work it.
The final comfort tweak is fabric. Lightweight materials like linen, cotton or a blend of the two are great for the January climate and are easy to wear comfortably (beware the crease factor). Want more weight? Cotton-wool blend styles are a more drap-able cloth suited for more structured tailoring. Avoid thick gauge wools at all costs – you’ll melt.
Let Details Dictate
Suits and ties can look dull. But tailoring is instantly stylish when the neckwear is knitted and rejected altogether and replaced by a tussled pocket square and lapel pin.
The panama hat in natural straw or white is this season’s biggest headwear trend. A gold or silver ring with minimal design adds some expense to the hand, alongside thin-beaded bracelets or leather wraps around the wrist tying in colours from your jacket.
Details are in the styling too: rolling the shirt cuffs and jacket sleeves to just below the elbow (never above) gives a laid back touch set against other sartorial pieces: waist coast and open collared shirt or simply a neutral tee.
Key Polo Styles
Nice & Natural
Superb for reflecting the sun’s harsh rays, natural and light coloured suiting is perfect for the Polo. Opt for a linen taupe double-breasted jacket with strong peak lapels, the extra width adding some size to a square cut shoulder.
The Polo is outdoors so earthen hues such as brown tie in well with the surrounds and call for other natural colours to jump on board: navy shirting and chocolate Derbies in suede for extra texture.
Cream is another natural option for summer and is slightly more demure than white. Mix a cream pant with an olive green jacket as separates or a deep red pant and cream jacket. Both are natural and neutral hues winning it big this season.
Blue suits will never get old. An azure double breasted jacket with gold buttons is Captain Class, teamed with white jeans or chinos. Stripes should feature on your shirt too or go tonal with a Chambray denim variety, open at the neck before adding texture with a neckerchief.
A brown leather watch is a stylish way to keep time as you sail from pavilion to trackside throughout the day. And swap your Derbies for leather boat shoes or a tassel loafer; the slip on functionality allows for the ankles to air a little – no socks. Finally, the fedora or boater hat is a necessary nautical touch. Bon voyage.
Summer suits should be fun, and the Polo makes way for men to let loose on colour. Big colour trends are green – from bottle, to forest to emerald – and purple, ranging from burgundy to lilac. For a more clean-cut approach select a jacket – sans print – with a slight fleck in the jacket fabric or a tonal windowpane check or stripe.
Stick to accessories with complimentary pattern colours, ensuring some of the colours are muted against hyper brights or pastels, the darker pieces anchoring the look. Suede shoes and contrast lace or soles are a nice Dandy touch. And if you’re opting for more feminine colours, keep the jewellery masculine, opting for a sturdy, metal wristwatch or metallic shades.
Bring out the best from a sometimes boring black suit – with separates, rocking a black or anthracite coloured jacket over white chinos. Eliminate any nautical referencing with a black button down or white t-shirt. Creeper sole black Derby shoes are the footwear choice for contemporary monochrome men and are as comfortable as sneakers.
For an urban monochrome, go for a soft-shouldered black two-piece with a crisp white t-shirt (minimal print if you wish) and wear the latter nonchalantly untucked. Play around with silver accessories – rings and watches and finally – eyewear, letting the colour seep from your retro neon-mirrored lenses onto the pitch.
Just because the Polo requires some sort of social dress code among peers, doesn’t mean you have to lose yourself in the process. While you’ll earn style points for sartorial adventure, comfort and personal style reign supreme.
Personal touches can be as simple as a favourite timepiece placed purposefully on the wrist. Or a more modern trick like contrast laces or a hyper coloured sole to liven up a standard brogue. Above all, the Polo is still very much ‘smart casual’ – flip flops, cargoes and singlets are definitely not invited.