The Best Polo Shirts

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What to Look For

A well-proportioned collar and the appropriate shoulder width, sleeve opening and length are all important factors when selecting the best polo shirt for your body type. A women’s polo is usually cut in a classic- or slim- fit. The classic fit has a two-button front placket with slightly more room at the chest. The slim fit has a form-fitting silhouette. The men’s polo is tailored to the body. According to Men’, “The sleeve should hit around the bi-cep and be fitted but not constricting…your shirt should hang no lower than your hips.”

Common Pitfalls

Although pre-shrunk cotton does not eliminate shrinkage, it does significantly reduce the probability. The hang tag label should include this information. Polos that fade after several washes were incorrectly dyed. According to Men’, “The Lacoste polo shirts feature bright colors mostly due to the 13 hour dyeing process…that helps to eliminate color fading.” Drooping shoulder seams, as well as wide collars in women’s and men’s silhouettes, lack the proper fit and are probably poorly constructed.

Where to Buy

Retailers such as Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor and Macy’s offer a variety of women’s and men’s polo shirt designer brands such as Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Lacoste. These designer brands also have their own retail shops. Lacoste and Jeffrey collaborated on a men’s slim-fit polo, which sells at Jeffrey’s. Another slim-fit polo, endorsed by the GQ website, is made by designer Scott Sternberg’s Band of Outsiders and sold at Barney’s Co-op and Saks Fifth Avenue. Independent retailers, such as Hollister, Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy, offer short- and long- sleeve polo versions, as well as rugby stripes. Online stores like Sierratradingpost and Beso offer Columbia, Hanes and J.Crew and include top-rated customer reviews.


Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic offer economical styles of women’s and men’s polos, ranging from $9.99 to $32.50. Designer brands like Lacoste's range from $69.50 to $85.00 for women’s and men’s polos. Ralph Lauren’s women’s blue label polo shirts range from $75.00 to $135.00 and the black label starts at $125.00. Men’s “Earl” piped polo by Penguin clothing with a retro appeal retails for $49.00. Band of Outsiders sold at Barney’s Co-op retails for $175.00. Lacoste and Jeffrey’s men’s slim-fit polo retails for $130.00.

Comparison Shopping

Polo shirts come in different fabrics and blends. Soft fabrics, such as pique, jersey or pima, are usually 100% cotton and used in classic fits. Lycra/spandex blends are generally used in form-fitting silhouettes. Textured cottons, such as J.Crew’s heavy-weight cotton slub, give a vintage, worn feeling. Some shirts come in more recently developed synthetic fibers which are said to aid in the removal of body moisture. Polo shirts are part of the game attire in polo, tennis, and golf.

Insider Tips

Try on several polo shirt brands before you buy. Pay close attention to the collar height, button front placket, chest, shoulder seams, sleeve cuff and length. Each brand uses different cutting specifications, so its polo will fit differently. For instance, sleeve cuff openings are cut smaller for slim fit styles. The shirt should not pull below the underarm or tighten around your arm. Polo shirts with details such as embroidered logos, yarn-dyed and stripe-tipped collars and cuffs, striped patterns or contrast panel inserts will generally cost more than solid, basic polos.