The classic men’s polo shirt was originally conceived as activewear for tennis players. But not wanting the ball-hitting elite to have an item of clothing reserved just for themselves, clothing brands decided to push polo shirts for men out to the paying public. Their popularity has sky-rocketed, and now you can find most men in a stylish polo shirt, from slightly-pissed dads at a Sunday BBQ, to British punks who take their fashion seriously.
Don’t let its respective proprietors scare you off though. Wearing a polo shirt won’t turn you into a fifty-year-old bank manager or ‘lad’. In fact, polo shirts are often the crucial ingredient to a man’s outfit that needs to be dressed up, without screaming ‘it’s my first day at the office’. The best polo shirts for men can work equally well with a pair of chino shorts or a linen suit, such is its versatility.
Polo Shirts For Men FAQs
When were polo shirts invented?
While polo shirts can have their history traced back to the 19th century and British polo players, it was Lacoste who designed the polo shirt we know today, back in the 1920s. Designed to help mitigate several problems faced by tennis players at the time, Lacoste's polo shirt has since been imitated by myriad other clothing manufacturers, with specifically-designed versions being applied to the likes of polo and golf.
What to wear with a polo shirt?
The polo shirt's versatility comes from the fact that it doesn't have to be worn for sporting purposes. A slim-fit black polo shirt, for example, can be paired with dark jeans for an evening outfit. You can also find long-sleeved polo shirts that are equally smart in their appearance.
Want to upgrade your wardrobe with this versatile piece of men’s clothing? Here are our recommended brands for the best polo shirts for men.
Rhone blends fit, form and function in all of its clothing. Whether it's a t-shirt, polo or any other top, they can be worn at the gym, on the golf course or at work. Rhone's activewear roots means technologies are passed across to its casual range, so can rest assured that moisture will be wicked off your body and that the fabric is flexible enough for any movements. The company's polos are ultra-sharp and a versatile addition to any wardrobe.
Wellen is a clothing brand founded in Southern California and now stocked exclusively by Huckberry. The online retailer only selects the very best labels to feature on its site, with sustainability and high-quality garments being the order of the day. Wellen is more than happy to oblige, creating shirts such as this hemp polo, which fuses hemp with organic cotton to create an incredibly soft fabric that will last for years. Not quite slim-fitting but not overly-relaxed, Wellen's polo is one to move in.
You can always trust Outerknown, the brand from world champion surfer Kelly Slater, to deliver great quality clothing pieces that are both sustainable and stylish. Outerknown's polos benefit from heavyweight hemp and organic cotton, making them lightweight, durable and ultimately, comfortable.
Everlane is as modern a company as you can get. Founded in California and with physical stores in all the trendy hotspots, including New York and Palo Alto, Everlane not only aims to produce its entire clothing range in ethical ways, but to provide transparent pricing on to you the consumer. To some, that may signal poor quality clothing, but Everlane's range is anything but. This Performance polo is made from a highly breathable fabric that is both sweat-wicking and anti-odour, yet maintains a classic profile.
Bonobos was born because founders, Andy Dunn & Brian Spaly, couldn't find men's pants that fit (they were either too tight or too boxy) and wanted to fix this common problem men face while shopping.
They fixed it with their not-so-secret secret: all Bonobos' pants have a curved waistband that conforms to the natural shape of men’s waists. Bonobos then expanded into producing awesome shirts, suits, swimwear; you name a piece of men’s clothing, they do it!
Bonobos has a huge range of men’s polo shirts, all of which are made with premium, high-performance fabrics. Most feature moisture-wicking capabilities, and come in multiple colours and prints.
Uniqlo is a Japanese brand that all men need to get behind. It caters for practically every single essential you could ever need, with high-quality materials being used throughout. Add to that incredibly affordable pricing and you'll soon wonder why you ever bothered with high-end designer brands in the first place.
In short: Performance polos at a great price. Definitely one of the best polo shirts for men.
J. Crew is an American fashion brand with heavy ties to the 'preppy' look championed by Ivy League Universities. And what do top-performing students like to wear? Polo shirts for men. It's with this in mind that J. Crew's polos are made to perfection, using high-quality materials and produced in slim-fitting cuts that hug you in all the right places. With multiple colours to choose from too, you can easily stock up on a decent selection of fine-looking polos.
US-based clothing brand American Giant designs and produces all of its clothes in its home country, meaning they can have greater control over quality so you don't ever feel shortchanged. You also won't their clothes anywhere else, so with no middle man, prices are kept surprisingly low.
American Giant has two collections of polo shirt: one in classic cotton and another made from a more premium and bespoke slub cotton fabric that exudes quality. Available in a selection of essential colours and all featuring a chest pocket, they're durable and stylish in one easy-to-wear package.
American menswear brand Buck Mason takes American staple pieces and puts their own unique spin on them. Designed and made to be timeless, Buck Mason's clothing uses high quality materials yet remains entirely affordable. Polos benefit from soft-brushed breathable cotton (the softest in the company, no less) and a thoroughly relaxed, vintage fit.
Brooks Brothers is often credited as being one of the first to get involved with the production of polo shirts for men, with founder John Brooks taking a liking to the shirts worn by polo players in the 19th century, and developed a design of his own. That same design is the one still used today, although Brooks Brothers' has updated the materials, to use an American-grown Supima cotton instead. Available in a variety of fits and colours, it's like you're wearing a piece of history.
Inspired by his father and his label Maxfield, James Perse started his own label in 1994. His Los Angeles upbringing is evident in his collections, blending casual and luxury styles while his passion for minimalistic lines and silhouettes can also be seen in his designs. James Perse polo shirts for men are casual yet luxurious, and are made to the highest of standards.
Founded in 1905, US retailer Jos A. Bank is perhaps best known for its collection of suits but has a full men's clothing range to complement them. The company makes all its own clothing and sources its own materials, which allows it to charge less than competitors. Bank's polo range is water-repellant, sports non-curl collars and can be had in a wide range of colours.
Following his design roles at the likes of The Gap, Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren, Todd Snyder founded his own label. He focuses his efforts on producing high quality, timeless basics that are incredibly versatile. His polo shirts for men are no excuse and are available in an array of cuts, colours and fabrics to suit every occasion.
Originally stared by Adam Brown, Orlebar Brown quickly became the name in luxurious, fitted swimwear. Orlebar's swim shorts are so good, they were even worn by James Bond in Skyfall. To complement its brilliant range of swimwear, Mr Brown decided to add other selected items of clothing to his collections. Orlebar Brown polo shirts for men are the perfect option for a casual look or resort wear and are available in bold colors and interesting materials which include linen and terry towelling.
Having worn these ourselves, we have to honestly say that OB makes some of the best polo shirts for men.
An icon on and off the court, Fred Perry has become synonymous with clean and cool polo shirts for men. More notably are his collaborations with Raf Simmons which take on a luxe sports vibe perfect for sweating or styling.
Sunspel is a master of minimalism. While to some the very idea of plain silhouettes is boring, this focus on making the best essentials has resulted in ultra high quality, timeless products that are key building blocks in the modern man's wardrobe.
No doubt the very thought of a polo shirt sparks thoughts of those made by Polo Ralph Lauren. The American fashion brand's iconic logo of a polo player is a symbol of status and sophistication, especially when embroidered on the pique cloth of a polo shirt. Its polo shirts for men are timeless and are likely to be a staple for all men for decades to come.
You don't typically think of 'science' when you're clothes shopping and yet, science drives everything Ministry of Supply does. They use science and engineering techniques to create garments that are comfortable, breathable, stretchy, sweatproof, are easy to care for, and will give you a full range of motion.
Their range of Apollo Polo shirts are "the most comfortable on the planet"; they're made with NASA-grade temperature regulating fabric that's 19 times more breathable than a cotton pique knit.
Famous for his quirky and unique designs, Paul Smith is a master of polo shirts for men. His label makes them in an array of colours, materials and patterns and can be had in a choice of classic, relaxed cuts or more modern slim fit styles.
Brazilian fashion label Frescobol Carioca injects fun, colour and style into all of its pieces, drawing heavily on Rio De Janeiro in the process. Polo shirts, for example, are sophisticated yet casual, rocking neutral colours fit for summer.
Mizzen & Main has made it their mission to combine comfort and flexibility with fit and style for the modern man on the move. They persistently aim to blend a legacy of tradition, respect, and classic style into their menswear while embracing the technology that gives garments moisture wicking, stretch, and wrinkle resistant properties.
Mizzen & Main’s range of polo shirts for men are perfect for golf and everyday wear. Made with performance fabric and available in multiple colours and patterns, Mizzen & Main polo shirts are anti-microbial, moisture-wicking, and UPF 30+.
Reiss is a British label that hopes to make everyone feel comfortable and confident in its clothing. The company's designs are both modern and classic, a perfect blend for a polo shirt. Reiss has a range of traditional polos as well as some more modern examples featuring unique materials and zipper collars.
Lululemon is a Canadian brand practically synonymous with active wear. But while it may have a strong presence in the world of gym and yoga, the company's clothing can also be worn on a more casual basis, with many of its pieces benefitting from sports-orientated technologies. This Evolution polo for example features Silverescent technology, which has been developed to prevent odour build up, leaving you smelling fresh and feeling cool.
Marine Layer was founded with the aim of creating incredibly soft t-shirts and polo shirts for men. The company develops its own unique fabrics and materials, with beechwood being a main ingredient for its natural properties, the result is an incredibly soft fabric that you won't want to take off.
Public Rec, founded in 2015, set out to make comfort look good. They achieved this by releasing a line of athleisure clothing that’s stylish, high quality, tailored, and, above all, comfortable.
Public Rec has a huge range of men’s polo shirts, all of which are extremely versatile and can be worn for both casual and smart-casual wear. Available in multiple colours, all of Public Rec’s polos are wrinkle resistant, moisture wicking, and highly breathable.