Polo buying guide.

Polo Guide

When worn well 

polos can be dressed up with a jacket 

or dressed down with jeans/shorts. Fantastically versatile with an air of power. I’m a big fan of polos, but I too often see people wearing misfit 

shirts or in ways that just seem obnoxious 

even when well-fit. I’m hoping this can serve as a PSA. And please stop with the big ponies.


As with any garment, easily the most important aspect and what is so often the downfall of polos worn by most.

  • Shoulders – Look at the t-shirt guide for shoulder fit. Basically, the seam should be on the shoulder bone like Clint here 


  • Side Vents – An oft-overlooked feature that highlights the versatility. This detail caters to different target audiences. As you can see here 

    , the side vent is constructed depending on whether or not the shirt is intended to be tucked. If you intend to wear a polo tucked some days and untucked for others, buy an even side-vent. Uneven side-vents are sloppy if worn untucked but are designed to make for a better tucked in polo. If you plan on never tucking in the polo, buy a polo without any side vents.

  • Length – When untucked, make sure the tail of your polo does not fall further than your back pocket. The front of the shirt should obviously be even with the back of the shirt. It should fall between these gents’ 

    . If you prefer to tuck your shirt in, keep it slim around your waist to avoid awkward muffin-top billowing. Up to you, but a well-fit polo can still look good untucked 



Everyone has their own preferences for color or design regardless if it’s a polo, dress shirt, or toothpaste tube. But for polos there are a few overlooked factors that can make a huge difference.

  • Placket – A placket is the strip of fabric at the opening near neck of the polo. When the placket has an offsetting color or design the entire polo shirt is changed. Plackets can be subtle 

    and understated 

    . Or they can have a distinct pattern that stands out 


  • Collar – Different colored collars are usually loved or hated. Yes, sometimes they can give off a Gordon Gekko feel. But with the right placket and shirt color it can look great 

    . Or switch it up with different colors/patterns 


  • Collar popping – I don’t really want to touch this. Ribbed collars are meant for popping, the self collars (same material) with the same material are not (via divoire ). If you do, get polos with shorter collars. I don’t, to each his own, but FTLG never pop more than one 


  • Long-Sleeves – Immensely underrated. These are an amazing alternative to OCBDs that will stand out and can be pass for either classy or relaxed. Great for colder months, awesome under a jacket…just check 







Depending on the brand/fabric, polo shirts can shrink a good amount after a few washes. Polo shirts of lower quality also tend to fade over time. When washing your polo, be sure to:

  1. Make sure you wash your shirts in cold or warm water with like colors (cold is better).
  2. Dry on low heat (delicates). Do not use bleach (unless you have a white shirt).
  3. If you can, remove your shirt from the dryer immediately and giving them a nice fold. If necessary, you can use a warm iron.

Brand Reviews

Polos are about as classic as a shirt gets, so naturally every leading menswear company offers them, but not all are equal.Here are some aggregated reviews from djsamson , thread commenters, and me.

  • Lacoste – The one 

    that started them all 

    . Get the slim fit because everything else will fit you like a tent if you have a slim or athletic build. Typically around $80-$150.

  • Ralph Lauren – A classic 

    in the polo department. Be sure to invest the extra money in slim or custom fit if you choose RL Polo. The classic fit that you will find at TJ Maxx and Macy’s is designed for overweight older men. Recently RL Polo has created designs with obnoxiously large logos 

    – avoid. Typically around $80-100.

  • Fred Perry – An industry standard, great selection and styles 

    in good fabrics. A more classic fit. (thanks recombex). Typically around $85-125.

  • Vastrm Custom-fit polos 

    . You can design 

    your own or personalize the details on an existing design.Strong focus on fabric and fit. You can get them MTM or choose from slim/sport/regular. This is also where you can get contrasting collars 

    , and long-sleeve polos are available upon request. Typically around $70-90.

  • Brooks Brothers – Generally a good brand, jseliger put in a strong word for the Lisle polos 

    as “6’1” and slender” man (buys medium then gets them tailored). “Material and longevity are excellent […though] slightly longer in the back.”Typically around $100.

  • Kent Wang Rkocour put in a vote for these, particularly the long-sleeve polos . I’ve heard a lot about the brand, but have yet to try. Better for slimmer/athletic men, really differentiates with collar and non-tight sleeve cuffs. You will probably want to size up one size (via releasetheshutter and Softcorps_dn ) Typically around $65-95.
  • J.Crew – A great choice if you’re looking for solid colors 

    without any logos. Short- and long-sleeve available. Typically around $40-90.

  • JCP– Probably a better low-cost alternative to H&M.Typically around $10-20.
  • Target Merona – Offerings consistent 

    with other Merona lines. Good quality for price, nothing too original, slimmer fit than some not as trim as edgier brands. Typically around $15-20.

  • Express – Reported bad experiences due to rapid fading with washes, though decent fit 

    .I’ve never owned one.Typically around $40-50.

  • H&M – The “L.O.G.G.” polos are pretty inexpensive at H&M but they have a lot of room in the back, with a slimmer fitting front. The cotton stretch polos at H&M are usually a little bit more money but they have a nicer fit. Typically around $15.
  • Uniqlo – Solid for the price, basic offerings but decent quality polos without logos. Use the sizing guide on the site (via theplaidavenger). Typically around $15-20.
  • Sunspel – Traditionally an underwear brand, they make polos as well. Yes, including Daniel Craig’s in Skyfall . Typically around $100-200.

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