Summer Polo Shirts: A Style Guide

Staying comfortable is the name of the game during the summer. Since we can’t wear tank tops all day long - we’ve asked girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands and wives alike, and they have confirmed this - it’s time to pull out the trusty polo shirt.

The “polo” was first worn in the 1920s as an athletic shirt for high activity and hot days. These are similar conditions to your BBQ cookouts and throwing around the pigskin.

But the name is deceiving. The pique-cotton shirt was originally made for tennis - not polo - specifically, for a player who hated the standard long-sleeved formal uniform. That tennis player’s name was Jean Rene Lacoste - a last name that may sound familiar.

Eventually, polo players adopted the style. They found it to be more comfortable than their standard, restrictive oxford shirts. That’s how Polo Ralph Lauren came up with their logo and name - we've been calling the shirts “polos” ever since.

Fast forward to today, you can find polos in any number of materials, from supremely soft cottons to sweat-wicking synthetics.

Here are some tips to keep in mind this summer:

Nail the Fit

Consider a polo to be like your favourite fitting t-shirt. You need to be comfortable since you’ll be wearing it in 25+ degree weather.

Ideally, the length shouldn't be longer than your hips; the sleeves should be un-restricting. 

This is why you should conduct a three-point check - reach up, reach forward, swing your arms from side to side. You might look crazy and your kids might think that you’re doing “The Floss”, but trust us, it’s critical that your polo doesn’t restrict your motion.

If you can do that comfortably without the shirt rising to expose your midsection, then you’ve found the right size.

And if you're good with a measuring tape, you can find your fit with our sizing guide.

Mixing and Matching

This may be the best part about wearing a polo. The collar detailing means that you can wear it like your favourite button-up.

Featuring a longer hem in the back to keep it tucked in (if you wanna wear it tucked), wear your polo shirt with denim or with chinos, our go-to summer pants.

You can also wear it with a lightweight, breathable sport jacket from Daniel Hechter Paris. Sport jackets work with denim, as well.

Just remember to colour-coordinate. Don’t be a Tim Hortons’ vanilla dip donut - pair brights with darks. And if all else fails, stick with a white or blue tone to match any ensemble.

What’s Up, Button-Up?

Since the very beginning, polos have always had three buttons. It gives you the versatility to ventilate on hotter days.

Here’s some button etiquette:

  • At formal functions, keep the top unbuttoned for a clean look. 

  • Sometimes, doing up all the buttons can look sharp. Other times, it can look a bit awkward and uptight. We'll leave this to your discretion. Your comfort and preference are the most important things, after all!

  • Except for family gatherings, refrain from completely unbuttoning your polo. But if you’re attending a chest hair convention, ignore what we said and live your best life!

Marco Polo - Find Yours

Summer is about spending time with your family and the ones you love, not racking your brain over what to wear. The polo shirt helps to uncomplicate things.

As a versatile piece, you’ll save money since you can wear it to casual outdoor weddings and to your next backyard BBQ.

Now get out there and enjoy the warm weather, because winter will be back in a couple of months!

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