The Best Polo Shirts Are a Lot Sexier Than You Remember
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The Best Polo Shirts Are a Lot Sexier Than You Remember

Oct 09, 2023

In 2023, no wardrobe is complete without at least one—if not several!—of the best polo shirts on the market close at hand. They're as laid back and versatile as a T-shirt, only with the addition of a face-framing, respectability-enhancing collar. You can trust ‘em to help you look handsome in a host of situations—with shorts on the weekend (think deep '70s energy), with denim at the bar, with a blazer at an outdoor wedding. And let's not forget that they're a cornerstone of the most essential dress code of our time, Zoom Casual. Truly nothing masks the chaotic energy of your hybrid work situation quite like a relatively wrinkle-free polo shirt.

The key to selecting the right polo for the occasion you have in mind largely comes down to fit and fabric. If you're in the market for a polo that skews more casual, boxy and loose works just as well as pec-grazing and bicep-hugging (naturally, how you define casual is important here); any event that requires some variation of cursed office-appropriate attire likely demands a less dramatic fit instead. Cotton is always a safe bet for year-round wear, but for extra oomph, a knit polo cut from a hardy-but-soft wool—or even an extremely ritzy cashmere—will keep the bitter chill at bay and help you look handsome-as-hell in the process.

All that's to say, you don't have to stick to the dull polos you wore when you were younger. Like you already have with the rest of your wardrobe, get weird! We’re talking abnormal colors, vintage details, and yeah, oversized—but not Phil Mickelson oversized—proportions. Here are 24 of the best polo shirts for all tastes and comfort levels to get you reacquainted with—or just heavier into—the casual Friday hall-of-famer.

The Legacy-Defining Polo: Polo Ralph Lauren custom fit mesh polo shirt, $105

The No Buttons, No Problem Polo: Stòffa Mouliné cotton polo shirt, $650

The Top-of-the-Line Polo: Sunspel cotton piqué polo shirt, $160

The Surprisingly Affordable Retro Polo: Abercrombie tonal stitch button-through sweater polo, $70

The Polo That Makes Everyone Hotter: Todd Snyder Italian cotton silk tipped Riviera sweater polo, $248

The Somehow Even Hotter Polo: Knickerbocker cotton Yuma polo, $195

$105.00, Amazon

No designer has done more to bolster the polo's pedigree than Ralph Lauren, the Bronx-born Americana obsessive who scaled the highest echelons of the schmatte business off the strength of his pristine shirting alone. 50 years after their debut, the brand's reputation-making polo shirts (cut from a luxe cotton fabric, adorned with the now-iconic pony on the chest) still set the standard. Today they come in every color under the sun, but the crisp white OG version will help you carve out a legacy of your own—as the slickest dresser around.

$650.00, Mr Porter

Think of the open-collar polo as the shirt equivalent of kicking back with your arms behind your head, soaking up an achingly beautiful sunset while you ignore whatever work shenanigans are going down in your inbox. Stòffa's Mouliné polo takes that joie de vivre and filters it through an elegant light charcoal melange and an impossibly rakish silhouette befitting of old Hollywood's most dapper leads.

$160.00, Sunspel

Sometimes you want swervy tones and bold graphics and weird fabrics. And sometimes you just need a clean, crisp polo shirt to cleanse the palette. When the latter mood hits, you’d be hard-pressed to find one executed quite as flawlessly as this joint from Sunspel. Part of that just comes down to reps: the English label has been churning out top-notch basics since 1860, and it lays claim to producing some of the first T-shirts ever made. In other words, Sunspel has had more than enough time to nail everything from the soft-yet-sturdy pique cotton to the flatteringly tailored fit to the shine of the shell buttons. Like a Burberry trench or a pair of Stan Smiths, it's simplicity you can count on.

$70.00, Abercrombie

Call it the Ripley effect or chalk it up to camp shirt fatigue, but knit polos—especially retro-leaning, stripe-y styles—are everywhere right now. A lot of our favorite versions cost a pretty penny, but riding the new wave of La Dolce Vita-drenched style doesn't have to mean dropping big money. Luckily, Abercrombie—a brand riding a revival wave of its own as of late—dove headfirst into the trend this season, offering up a version of what they dub "sweater polos" for around 70 bucks. This option skews particularly casual thanks to its full-placket design, so you can wear it like a true mid-century wise guy: open, over a tank top, with pleated trousers and loafers.

$248.00, Todd Snyder

If you've ever wanted to look powerful, like a big shot CEO on their day off or an A-list actor at a press junket for their new blockbuster action flick, the knit polo is the one-way ticket you've been hoping for. This one from Todd Snyder hits all the right notes: the tasteful tipped collar, the knit construction, and the goes-with-everything blue color that will look even better when you push up the sleeves to flash your timepiece. We can't fully explain it, but everyone just looks like their hottest selves when sporting a classic polo like this, and we're not here to argue the data.

$195.00, Knickerbocker

This summer, we're all about showing some skin. And sure, a splayed out camp collar is still a great way to spotlight your clavicles, but we're onto more sultry style moves. Namely, sheer, mesh, lace—anything and everything that'll give a sneak peek into what's going on underneath the clothing. It's a very sexy time for menswear right now and just when you thought polos couldn't get any hotter, the rise of see-through clothing came along at just the right time. Knickerbocker's Yuma polo has the perfect knit that, like a good movie trailer, gets you excited without totally giving away the plot. Too many knit polos try to come off as an antique lace or crocheted fabric and end up just looking cheap and a little cliche. Knickerbocker's, though, steers well clear of those pitfalls by keeping it simple while maintaining its seductive allure.

$98.00, Amazon

$98.00, Alex Mill

$215.00, SSENSE

$128.00, Metalwood

$345.00, Corridor

$110.00, Mr Porter

$98.00, J.Crew

$150.00, SSENSE

$340.00, SSENSE

$225.00, Mr Porter

$750.00, Matches

$70.00, Adidas

$240.00, Mr Porter

$413.00, Matches

$535.00, Matches

$69.00, COS

$30.00, Uniqlo

$236.00, Matches

Originally Appeared on GQ

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The Legacy-Defining Polo: The No Buttons, No Problem Polo: The Top-of-the-Line Polo: The Surprisingly Affordable Retro Polo: The Polo That Makes Everyone Hotter: The Somehow Even Hotter Polo: