How to Wear a Polo Shirt - Go From Smart Casual to Office With Ease


4 MIN. READ

Elegant and versatile, polo shirts should be a staple of any man’s wardrobe. Few items of clothing can transition so easily from an informal outfit for an evening out with friends to a look suitable for a company board room. You can achieve that smart casual style and elevate it by learning how to wear a polo shirt with other items and understanding how to pick the right high-quality fabrics.

How to wear a polo shirt

Combining polo shirts with other items opens up many possibilities. Think of polo shirts as a more casual alternative to button-down shirts that also give you the kind of structure that t-shirts don’t have.

Smart casual

Polo shirts were initially worn by tennis players. They’re comfortable for practicing your favorite sport, but they also look great if you need a relaxed outfit to meet some friends.

You can create a smart casual outfit by pairing a polo shirt with your favorite fitted joggers. The soft texture of the joggers will complement the knitted feel of the polo shirt, and you can create a contrast by combining black or gray pants with a more colorful top.

Business casual

From the annual company picnic to the board room, polo shirts are extremely versatile. They are a must-have item if you work in a relaxed environment where you can express your individuality.

Polo shirts in neutral tones go well with dress pants, khakis or even dark jeans for a business casual feel. Don’t forget to tuck your polo shirt in to draw attention to a belt that matches your shoes for a touch of class.

Business professional

You can wear a polo shirt as an alternative to a button-down in some business professional settings. For instance, pick a polo shirt to wear underneath a blazer for a wrinkle-free outfit. Professionals who are on the go and who have to meet clients after traveling should embrace this look for easy elegance.

What shoes go well with a polo shirt?

Combine your polo with the right shoes to polish off your style:

Espadrilles

If you're wondering how to wear a polo shirt in a more informal setting, these light canvas shoes are the perfect companion for your summertime wardrobe. They can add a touch of color to an outfit, and you can coordinate them with the color of your polo shirt for a relaxed company picnic.

Loafers

For a modern yet professional look, loafers are an interesting alternative to traditional dress shoes. Leather loafers are the perfect finishing touch for an outfit that pairs a polo shirt with a blazer. The low-rise profile of these shoes can draw attention to tailored dress pants.

Polo shirt fabrics and other considerations

The right fabric and texture can elevate a polo shirt. Here's what you need to know:

Pique, double pique and Jersey knit

Pique polo shirts are made with cotton yarn that is spun to create a weave effect. The visible ribbing creates a textured look that contrasts nicely with the tight fibers of a blazer or dress pants.

Double pique is a technique that mixes two threads. The result is a lightweight garment with a unique texture and sometimes mixed colors for a mottled look.

Jersey knit is another option to explore if you want a smooth shirt that has the same lightweight feel as a t-shirt. Jersey knit polo shirts are ideal for the summertime and for those who are active.

What kind of cotton is best?

If you’re looking for a soft and luxurious feel, ringspun cotton is the way to go. This process consists of twisting and thinning cotton strands to soften them.

Pima cotton, which has longer fibers than traditional cotton, delivers a great mix of smoothness and durability as well.

An important note:Even though polyester and cotton blends are more affordable, they should be avoided in business settings since they can make your polo shirt look like part of a uniform.

Don’t forget the collar

Understanding how to wear a polo shirt means considering all aspects of your outfit. A ribbed or knitted collar will use the same fabric as the rest of the polo shirt. It’s a good option for a smart casual look but can get flattened under a blazer. A shirt-style collar that mimics a dress shirt collar is best if you want more structure.

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