The Polo Shirt- Worst Shirt Ever?

I have a number of polo shirts, mostly Old Navy, that I wear casually. But does anybody look good in a polo shirt? The polo shirt has become a common work uniform shirt, or business casual shirt, because it is not too informal having a collar and is wash and wear. It was uncommonly worn by most people until the preppy fashion fad of the early 80’s. There were lower-middle class sport shirts that were similar but clearly different but these have all disappeared. Readers may remember the Penguin logo sport shirt of days of old.

So the clear advantages of the polo shirt are it’s semi-formality and its ease of maintenance. But does anybody actually look good wearing a polo shirt? I would say that other than for certain specific activities like golf you should probably wear something else. If it’s casual wear a T-shirt. If it’s not casual wear a dress shirt.

The rugby shirt is better- not being associated with lower middle-class work wear- but in addition to being preppy it’s pretty loud. I suspect the rugby shirt is best for playing rugby or maybe sailing.

I have some long-sleeve polo shirts that fall into a different category- you can wear them with blue jeans or dress pants or even shorts. As with the rugby shirt they aren’t associated with work wear but don’t have the excessive brightness and sports association.


17 Responses to The Polo Shirt- Worst Shirt Ever?

  1. jmkaye says:

    Nobody looks good in a polo shirt. Even attractive people in polo shirts look worse.

  2. Omega Dork says:

    I’ve never heard of a rugby shirt before this, and had to google it. I’m not sure, even now, how it is different from a polo shirt. Anyway, I think *I* look good in a polo shirt. It helps to have a flat stomach.

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  4. jason says:

    Its no wonder it looks bad when you wear the lowest quality brand. try upgrading to a polo from Burberry, D&G, etc. and you will notice the fit is way more flattering.

  5. Amanda says:

    Polo shirts look excellent on thin- or medium-framed guys with fit builds.

  6. Sheila Tone says:

    I love polo shirts. I think men should have shirts with collars unless they’re engaging in physical activity.

    Then again, perhaps I’d think differently if I were under 30.

    • jmkaye says:

      Hell, I’m over 40 and I still think polo shirts are butt-ugly, but that’s because I was traumatized by the 80’s. Collared shirts are a must, but I would rather see a man in a work shirt or a dress shirt, not a knit.

  7. Genius says:

    I live in a very informal society where most men don’t even own a suit and probably didn’t get married in one, either. I don’t like to wear a shirt without a collar when I leave the house, even when I go to the beach. I don’t think polo shirts particularly work for me, but I have a bunch of them and wear them with chinos and sandals to places where all the other men will be wearing ratty t-shirts, shorts and flip flops. It really makes me stand out and seem well-dressed.

  8. jh0 says:

    Polyester Golf Shirts are the way to go…. They look cool, they don’t show pit sweat (dry fast too), and they don’t wrinkle.

    You have to wear collared shirts if you are over 30.

  9. jacobus says:

    I’m pretty much an omega, but when I picked up the hottest girl I ever picked up (a college gymnast) at a bar, I was wearing a dull grey polo shirt…

  10. StrikeForceMorituri says:

    It comes down to the type of material you’re polo shirt is made from. I wear Pima cotton for my polo shirts not Pique. Pique never holds up during the few hours you wear the shirt, it stretches and gets very malformed. Pima on the other hand hugs your body and doesn’t stretch. I personally get my polo’s from lands end they hold up really well and their cheap as sin.

  11. kalushkin says:

    I agree that polo shirts look ugly on most people, but then again I think I pull it off nicely. Of course a six pack could always improve it even more.

  12. m.m says:

    Polos can be done well or done tragically – 90% of the time it’s tragic. But come on, there are so many different types of polo shirts. To dismiss all polos is like saying all T-shirts suck. A classy brand name polo on a slim frame is a great look, especially in the springtime with certain colors. I agree with you however – it’s a romanticized image for the preppy/fashionable crowd. However, don’t knock it because girls do react to it.

    Polos don’t happen to be my style – I go with douchebag tshirts, button-up collared shirts, and suit jackets. However, it can be pulled off quite convincingly. I think your issues with polos are accurate however – but mainly because of these two words: “Old Navy”.

  13. anon says:

    I agree. Polos are ugly.
    Please explain to me how they AREN’T ugly just because they have collars or its “springtime.” Just because you slap a collar on something doesn’t make it “well dressed” or “formal.”
    How about stop bring robots and make up your own mind what you like, what looks good, what is well dressed and what is formal instead of letting what ever crap corporate America force spoon feeds you decide?
    By the way I am a professional, a female, and over 30. I’d rather see a guy in a sweater, a turtleneck or a tshirt before a polo or a henley. Furthermore, most women I know do not like polos, etc., either. So trying to convine yourself that hey at least women dig them is just deluding yourself.

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  15. Polo shirts are a crime against humanity. I cry inside when I see people wearing them, which unfortunately, and obviously,is quite often.

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