Arden Teal Cotton Polo - Moss
July 07, 2023

Best Outfits for Polo Tees

Elevate Your Summer Look with the Right Polo Shirt
The Polo Shirt is a menswear staple – a simple but timeless piece that has proven to be suitable for just about any occasion. A dressier alternative to the classic T-shirt, but not smart enough for formal events, the polo shirt has become the go-to choice for events that fall in between the grey area bordering casual and formal. At the same time, the polo shirt can be easily dressed up or down just by tweaking the accompanying clothing pieces. 


The flexibility afforded by the polo shirt has inspired a variety of stylish outfits, but it can be challenging to find a polo shirt with the right fit, fabric and style for you. With our informative guide, you will be able to find out how you can capitalise on all the style possibilities the polo shirt has to offer!


What is a Polo Shirt?


modern polo shirt
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The modern polo shirt, as we know it, is a collared top with a distinctive placket neckline. It typically comes with two to three buttons and short sleeves.


Fabrics: Natural to synthetic

Polo Shirt Fabrics

A Brief History of the Polo Shirt

A Brief History of the Polo Shirt

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René Lacoste has been credited with introducing the modern polo shirt. Lacoste, a tennis player, was sick of traditional ‘tennis whites’ worn at the time: A dress shirt, flannel trousers, and topped with a tie. 


Lacoste’s alterations include: 

  1. Shortening the sleeves, 
  2. Using a pull-over design with lesser buttons,
  3. Introducing the ‘tennis tail’ – adding a longer hem to the back (than the front) of the shirt, allowing it to remain tucked in without restricting the wearer’s movement,
  4. Using pique cotton – a new type of cotton with enhanced breathability and comfort.


Lacoste’s triumph in the 1926 US Open whilst donning his new shirt brought his design to the forefront. Since then, the polo shirt (named in reference to the original design by Indian polo players) has become one of the most common and popular tops worn worldwide. 

Yet, of late, the polo shirt has been brought into disrepute. This is in large part caused by the lazy dressing by the uncaring and its use as part of the standard-issue uniform for work and school. However, the tide is turning – with more people branching out and selecting more considered designs, the polo shirt has once again emerged as a fashionable choice for all ages.


Polo Shirt Styles

#1 Classic Short-Sleeve Polo Shirt

Short Sleeve Polo Tee

Arden Teal Organic Supima Cotton Polo – Navy, Tan, and Moss

A timeless classic. It is the design that comes to mind when someone thinks about a polo shirt. 


This versatile top works well with jeans, chinos, and even tailored pants. You can dress it up by layering it with a sports jacket with a pair of comfortable loafers, or keep it relaxed with a  tried-and-true combination of sneakers and jeans.


#2 Long Sleeve Polo Shirt

Long sleeve polo tee

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The long sleeve polo shirt is no longer commonly worn by the everyman. While rugby players still don the long sleeve, many feel that it defeats the purpose of being a cooling and comfortable shirt.


Still, when given the chance, the long sleeve polo shirt can be styled in many flattering ways for the cold season. Combine it with a trucker jacket, chinos and penny loafers for a warm comfy look.


#3 Knitted Polo Shirt

Knitted Polo Shirt

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The knitted polo shirt is typically made with cotton or wool to create a soft and comfortable look. This doesn’t mean that the shirt is restricted to the cooler months, with it being lightweight enough to be worn even during the warmer season. Pair it with a suede jacket for the perfect earthly-coloured combination.


#4 Open-Collar Polo Shirt

Open-Collar Polo Shirt

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The open-collar polo shirt closely resembles the short sleeve design, with one main difference – the placket is hidden. The open-collar effect gives off a cleaner and sharper look, which gives an extra touch of refinement to a smart casual look. Add a pair of jeans and brown mocassins for the perfect summer outfit!


#5 Zipped Polo Shirt

Zipped Polo Shirt

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The zipped polo shirt is also virtually identical to the standard short sleeve design. Except, instead of buttons, a zipper is used as part of the shirt’s placket neckline. The zipper gives the top a more sporty look, lending it to more casual wear. Pair the zipped polo with chinos and white sneakers to lean into the golfer look.


What to Wear With a Polo Shirt

#1 Shorts

Polo Shirt with Shorts

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Wearing shorts with a polo shirt is as casual as the polo gets. Whichever material of shorts you choose, be it denim or chino, your shorts will help you look and stay cool. To nail the casual look, select a polo that is well-fitted and keep it untucked.


You can stick to the traditional monochrome colours for a clean-cut look, or try playing around with the colours to achieve a tonal outfit or coordinated separates (an outfit where the top and bottom are of different yet complementary colours). Finish off the look with a comfortable pair of sneakers.


#2 Jeans

Polo Shirt with Jeans

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Replacing shorts with denim jeans dresses up your polo shirt by a level. Plus, with the unparallel comfort and flexibility afforded by jeans, you will be able to maintain a full range of motion without compromising comfort.

To complete the smart casual look, add a pair of Chelsea boots to complement the natural rugged nature of denim jeans.


#3 Chinos

Polo Shirt with Chinos

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Chinos are unique in their place between semi-formal and smart casual wear. This means replacing jeans with chinos is an easy way to dress up your polo shirt by another level. 


For a smarter look, you can opt for a wool-knit polo instead of a cotton one. Keep it tucked in to enhance the polished look. Add the finishing touch to your outfit with a pair of loafers or derby shoes.


#4 Tailored Jacket & Pants

Polo Shirt with Tailored Pants & Jacket

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When it comes to formal menswear, a tailored jacket and pants are customary. To wear a polo shirt to semi-formal events like a business casual work day, swap out the chinos/jeans for tailored pants and a fitted jacket. Tuck in the shirt, and pair it with a matching set of belt and loafers. Polos with more buttons are also a nice touch, as it more closely resembles a dress shirt.


For more formal events, stick to a white/black polo shirt with a darker suit. But, for more flexible occasions like a dinner with colleagues, try out different colours to distinguish yourself from the rest. You can go for a tonal look by selecting clothing pieces in different shades of the same colour. Alternatively, you can do the opposite and choose pieces of different yet complementary colours. For instance, match a pair of beige linen pants with a brown blazer, a forest green polo shirt and brown horsebit loafers.


Still, remember to stick with solid colours or at most subtle patterns. More than that and the polo shirts will become too casual for semi-formal occasions.


Tips for Wearing Polo Shirts 

#1 Dos and Don’ts

Dos and Don’ts

#2 The Right Fit 

A polo shirt with the right fit should be fitted but not too tight. This means that the shirt will be tighter at the chest and arm areas, and form a tapered silhouette down to the waist. Those with a muscular build can go with a slim-fit polo, but it is still important to ensure you can move around comfortably. 


There are a few easy ways to check whether your polo shirt is the right fit:

 Checking your polo tee for the right fit

#3 Assessing Quality 

When it comes to the quality of a polo shirt, the buttons are a dead giveaway. Misshapen buttonholes full of loose threads are warning signs pointing to poor workmanship and shirt construction.

Even though most polo shirts are likely to be machine-sewn, quality buttonholes should be tidy with no loose threads.


#4 Washing

When washing polo shirts, remember to turn them inside out beforehand. This will minimise exposure to the cleaning chemicals and in turn, help reduce fading.


#5 Collar

The collar of a polo shirt tends to crumple and mess up when paired with any kind of jacket. To make things easier, you can get collar stays to help keep them upright and ensure the points remain inside the jacket’s lapels.


Polo Shirts at a Glance

Arden Teal polo tee

Arden Teal Organic Supima Cotton Polo – Navy, Tan, and Moss

When styled properly, polo shirts are an easy way to inject some personal flair into any casual look. We hope this guide will inspire you to play around with the many style possibilities that the versatile polo shirt provides to find one that suits you!