As the de facto shirt for tennis players since the 1930s, the polo shirt has transcended its athletic roots, becoming a casual wardrobe staple appropriate for everyone. Polo athletes adopted the style soon after tennis players and by the mid-century, the public recognized the short sleeve, soft collar, jersey-knit shirt as a ‘polo shirt.’
In 1972, Ralph Lauren introduced a polo shirt for everyday wear to his Polo label, catalyzing the design’s dissemination into the western wardrobe. Now, countless brands are offering versions of this preppy, smart garment. The design has remained relatively unchanged for decades and is an easy way to dress up any casual outfit.
Best Overall Polo: Onia Shaun Polo Shirt
Made from a breezy linen-poly knit, this buttonless shirt embodies casual cool. The design features a relaxed open placket and side slits.
Best Upgrade Polo: Sunspel Riviera Polo Shirt
Designed for Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, this shirt is made from soft cotton mesh. The design features a chest pocket, side slits and tonal buttons.
Best Affordable Polo: Uniqlo Dry Pique Short-Sleeve Polo
This quick-drying shirt will keep you cool no matter the heat index. It's cut from a cotton/polyester blend and features a two-button closure up top.
Outerknown Nomadic Polo
This affordable polo shirt is cut from a 215-gram hemp and organic cotton blend. It features mother-of-pearl buttons, a flat-knit collar and it’s available in seven different colors.
Polo Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt
This classic cotton shirt features side slits, ribbed trims and pearlescent buttons. It fits pretty standard, so trust your typical sizing.
Oliver Spencer Hawthorn Polo Shirt
This simple polo shirt is cut from a light blue mélange cotton-jersey fabric. Instead of a traditional multi-button finish, it features a single button-and-loop closure.
P. Johnson Cotton Pique Polo Shirt
Made from dark brown Pique Cotton, this shirt is incredibly soft and smooth, but also very durable. It features tonal buttons and ribbed trims, and unlike other shirts on this list, you need to hand wash or dry clean this shirt; it's also made-to-order.
Massimo Alba Wembley Polo Shirt
Made in Italy from a light-blue linen-piqué fabric, this shirt has a slubby texture that is different than cotton shirts. It includes five mother-of-pearl buttons, a chest patch pocket and a regular cut.
Canali Polo Shirt
This polo shirt is made in Italy from a textured white-cotton fabric. The simple design features pearlescent buttons, banded cuffs and a slim fit.
Howlin Mr. Fantasy Polo Shirt
Made in Belgium, this shirt is made from a soft cotton-poly terry. It includes a chest pocket, side slits and three-button closure.