Polo: The Shirt With No Holes

Polo shirt time. But which ones to buy? We choose the best.
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Polo shirt time. But which ones to buy? We choose the best.

Polo shirt with jeans or cords is a classic combination and just the job for this time of year. Smarter than a t-shirt and not as restrictive and more breathable than a normal full button up shirt, I practically live in polos. Indeed I'm wearing one as I type this. There's a staggering array of polo shirts available - from the ones that some people have to wear at work through to posh branded ones that cost a fair few quid. Here's my pick of the bunch.


Ralph Lauren custom fit

I really like the fit of these, then again I am on the slimmer side, so probably not one for the huskier gentleman. Everything's right about Ralph Lauren  polos, the material, the weight, the cut, two buttons, the lot. The only thing that I've never been overly happy with is the flappy panel bit at the back that makes me realise why a dog gets tempted to chase its own tail. Avoid the ones with the big horses though, they're more suited to cockney cab drivers and blokes with parrot haircuts. You can pick one up for around £65.


12th Man

This is a new brand, that has the hook of only making 99 pieces in each garment style. So in effect, everything is a limited edition, if you're into that kind of thing. Their animal of choice - you've got to have an animal on your polo - is a raptor of some description. Possibly a hawk. They come in  at a pricey £78, then again they are hand finished and made in Italy.

Victorinox

Yup, the makers of the knife with the saw, scissors, nail file and thing for removing stones from horses hooves (handy if you do actually play polo I imagine) make polo shirts too. Pretty basic looking but they do the job. Nice and comfy and a good fit and best of all you can pick from up for about £30 which is around half their RRP.

Nicole Farhi

One of my favourite labels. I love everything she's done from jackets and cords and cardigans through to shorts, chunky knits and sunglasses. You should have at least one Farhi item in your wardrobe, so why not a polo shirt? A bargin at around £60.

Façonnable

I'm a big fan of Façonnable. The French brand do some great jumpers and long sleeved polos, and a nice selection of Yachting gear - not that I go yachting but nor do I play polo or run marathons - including this stunning jacket. Indeed one of my clothing based regrets over recent years was not picking up a beautiful tweed Façonnable hunting jacket from their shop on 5th Ave in New York. I've never seen that jacket since. Anyway, they also do a good line in polos, that are slightly roomier, making them ideal for the pie connoisseur. Expect to pay around £60 or so for one.


Fjallraven Crowley Pique Shirt

Right. I know some of you (hopefully if you've found your way here to reading this) may now me mocking my choice here as being at least 5 years out of date, and now worn by every man and his dog, but Fjallraven do make some quality, durable gear. Their short sleeved check shirts are still my favourite and their G1000 material is practically indestructible. So feel no shame in jumping on the Fjall bandwagon and purchasing one of their polos for around £60 or a lot less online. I've also included this because Norrøna don't make polos.


CP Company

Unlike most of the other polo shirts on this list, CP tend to change their styling every year, just so it's different. The current incarnation of the CP polo shirt has the logo in a little box, which isn't particularly subtle. I prefer their old embroidered logos that were the same colour as the shirt. That aside, these remain my favourite polos. OK so you end up paying around £20 extra for the privilege of wearing one, but you tend not to see them every day and the quality is very very good - 100% cotton, three buton, great fit and long lasting. Expect to pay around £85.


Lacoste

I may as well save the best til last. Whatever you think about Lacoste - it may conjour up images of trackie and baseball cap clad scallies on BMX's or whatever they ride these days - you can't deny their polo shirts are ace. Well, you can deny it but you'd be wrong. You know exactly what you're going to get. Just about any colour you can think of, great quality, superb fit and let's be honest, the coolest badge around. Worn by everyone from the aforementioned scallies to preppy types, they can't all be wrong. They're also pretty affordable at £60, but if you fancy splashing out another £25 then I'd recommend the 'marl' versions which will make you stand out from the crowd.

What colour should I wear?

Whatever the hell colour you want, though if you're anything like me, I'd match it with my trainers. I avoid hoops because I don't particularity like them and they do look a touch too scally. Also pink. Used to have loads of pink stuff but then it became quite fashionable and was sported by just about every young lad with too much hair gel up and down the land queuing to get in a Revolution on a Saturday night. The same goes for Munsingwear (or Penguin) I ordered a load of Penguin polos from the US, when you couldn't get them over here,  got a fair bit of wear out of them until they became staple wear for children's TV presenters and Dermot O'Leary. Straight in the charity bag. Oh, and avoid the collar up Danny Dyer look, it makes you look a tit.

Honourable mentions to Mulberry - not only do they make bird's handbags, but they did do a fine line in menswear which they seem to have now axed, which is a real shame, it is in fact a peach coloured Mulberry polo that I'm wearing now - and Gant - who do some excellent stuff too.

So get online or out to the shops and celebrate summer with a new polo or two, or three.