Rocking a Polo: How to Wear a Polo Shirt

The polo is a style of shirt that dates all the way back to the early 19th century. Since then, not too much has changed about this classic fashion staple, and for good reason.If you think the polo shirt is just for preps, think again. There are tons of ways to style this classic piece. Read on for our guide on how to rock a polo shirt.

White Shep Stripe Edgartown Polo By Vineyard Vines
Via: Country Club Prep Polos

Find a Polo Shirt Style That Suits You

There’s no question that preppy polos will always have a place in the world of fashion. They’re comfy, classic, and versatile: the perfect basis for a variety of wardrobes.

However, if the preppy look isn’t exactly your vibe, the polo shirt is surprisingly adaptable. There are different shapes, styles, and materials to choose from, each with its own aesthetic. If you’re looking to make this style of shirt work for you, you may find that one (or more) of these speak to you above the others.

Cotton Polos

The cotton polo shirt is the one that started it all. It’s plain, comfy, and a classic, perfect for pairing with a variety of outfits.

One of the top benefits of this style of polo shirt is its breathable cotton material, which provides a comfortable go-to style that can be dressed up or down. As an added bonus, they stay wrinkle-free, keeping you looking put-together without all the extra effort. The cotton polo shirt is also available in almost every color and pattern imaginable, from basic to bold. If you shop around, you’re sure to find one that suits your personal style, even if you don’t consider yourself “preppy.”

Country Club Prep Cotton Polos
Country Club Prep Cotton Polos

Linen Polo Shirt

The linen polo shirt is a lighter, more relaxed version of the cotton polo. If you’re desiring something lightweight and airy that pairs perfectly with a pair of chinos, then this is the style of polo for you. Although linen requires a greater amount of care when it comes to washing, ironing, and hanging, it’s still less fussy than a pressed dress shirt, while still providing a versatile, dressier aesthetic.

Knitted Polos

If you’re more into textures in your clothing, then you may prefer the knitted style of polo shirt. These shirts feature a woven, jacquard design that provides an interesting amount of depth to the piece. Like cotton and linen polos, knitted polos come in an endless variety of colors. However, these take it further by amping up the texture, perfect for those who prefer to make more of a statement with their fashion choices.

Via: Country Club Prep Knit Polos
Via: Country Club Prep Knit Polos

Long-Sleeved Polo Shirt

Although this style of polo shirt isn’t for everyone, the long-sleeved polo is worth a mention here. If you prefer to keep your arms covered, then this polo-style might be the one that perfectly suits you.

Long-sleeved polos are a subtle nod to the sport of rugby while providing a casual style that keeps you covered. If you’re thinking about it, try one on! You may be surprised by the result.

Style Ideas for the Polo Shirt

Once you’ve found the style of polo shirt that works best for you, you may be wondering how to style it with the rest of your wardrobe. Luckily, this versatile piece works with many fashion staples that you probably already own.

White Trousers/Khakis

Pairing a polo shirt with white trousers or khakis is perhaps the most classic method of styling this fashion staple. If you’re not the best at putting outfits together, this combination is pretty much fool-proof.

A classic polo with white trousers is the perfect crisp, put-together look that can be carried from business casual to outdoor get-together with ease. It’s ideal for preppier styles that still give off a comfortable vibe.

Blazer/Suit Jacket

If you’re going for a dressier, professional look, try pairing a polo shirt with a classic, structured blazer. It’s a more casual version of the classic “dress shirt, suit jacket” style, with no necktie required. The style pairing works perfectly if you’re trying to dress up a bit without looking like you’re on your way to a business meeting.

Summer Shorts

A classic polo shirt with shorts is the quintessential summer go-to look. The structure of the polo pairs perfectly with the casual, laid-back vibe of the shorts, making you look dressed up with minimal effort. This look goes especially well with a boat shoe, keeping you looking beachy, carefree, and comfortable. It’s an effortlessly cool summer outfit that you can wear if you’re looking to keep cool and look nice at the same time.

via: Country Club Prep Summer Shorts
via: Country Club Prep Summer Shorts


This one might be a surprise to you, but the polo shirt can also be styled with sweats if that’s your vibe. Stick to more structured, fitted styles of sweatpants for a comfy, sport style. You can balance the look with a nice pair of structured leather sandals or minimalistic white sneakers.

General Polo Shirt Style Guidelines

Now that you’ve got some ideas of polo shirt styles and outfit ideas, there are a few general guidelines to keep in mind in order to make it work. If you follow these tips, you’ll be sure to rock this casual classic in no time.

Here are some things to remember when shopping for a polo shirt:

  1. Make sure the fit is right. You want it to be loose and relaxed without being baggy or tight.
  2. Avoid baggy pants. This can look make you look frumpy and clash with the structure of the polo shirt.
  3. Don’t tuck them into trousers. This look can be way too pretentious or even “dad-like.” Overall, typically not a good look.
  4. No collar-popping. That trend is over; just don’t do it.
  5. Wear casual shoes, such as loafers, boat shoes, and minimalistic sneakers. Boots and/or dress shoes can look a little strange with polo outfits.

Although these are some of our general guidelines, don’t forget: there are no rules in fashion. If you like it, wear it!

Final Thoughts

The polo shirt is a style classic for a reason (and it’s not just for the preps)! If you’re interested in adding some of these shirts to your wardrobe, now is a perfect time to start experimenting with some new looks.

Check back soon for more fashion advice!
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