Photo by Muffy Aldrich
The Modern Guide to The Thing Before Preppy

Monday, April 22, 2019

Polo Shirts

Photos by Salt Water New England

Questions about polo shirts typically revolve around:

1. Who makes and sells good polo shirts?

2. How do you select and wear polo shirts?

3. How do you take care of polo shirts?

4. What are opinions on specific polo shirt companies?

1. Who makes and sells good polo shirts?

There are many polo shirt options, made by a variety of vendors and chosen for a variety of reasons.

Some Men's polo shirt providers are:
Links to Women's Polo Shirts:

A few thoughts, observations and recommendations from others:
“Lacoste and RL are my two favorite brand polo style shirts. The cut and material plus to the two button placket make for a perfect casual shirt.” (John D,)
“Lands' End and LL Bean are the real thing.. Both are cut for gentlemen, not for narcissists.” (Boston Bean)
“I buy my husband J Crew Factory polos for about $10 for "everyday wear." It makes me cry to see the abuse he inflicts on the poor polos. We save the Brooks Brothers/ Lacoste/RL/what have you for "dress up" where he can spill a better quality of stuff on them.” (Patsy)

John Glenn

2. How to you select and wear polo shirts?

Others' thoughts and observations:
“The true polo has the tennis tail... to keep the tuck while on court.” (Craig Sevde)

“Beyond navy and white, it always seems a challenge to pick out polo colors.” (Gary) 
“As far as color, I recommend white... because they look really great and natural under pima cotton or fine merino wool navy blue cardigan, which is essential indoor air conditioning in summer.” (Comment) 

“Bottom button always buttoned for men. No flexibility on that. Now, for colors, white one, of course, favors white and navy (the warhorses), with Lacostes one can go wild! Solids only, please. Somewhere in the house I have a photograph of a very young Reggie, ca. 1962, wearing a Lacoste. For the life of me, I haven't a clue where it is, though. Wish I did!”  (Reggie Darling)

“If buttons are there, they are there for a purpose. Old School gents button both of them.” (Dutch Uncle)
“Polo shirts were most certainly completely buttoned up when worn with a jacket in the 60s, by the Ivy cognoscenti in New England, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.” (Lafcadio)

“Besides quality and cost my main concern is sleeve length. RL Polo and Lacoste I have tried on both had very short sleeves. They look fine on women, but on men look silly. I like sleeves that go almost down to my elbows. A company named "Southern Pointe" makes good one. Also Lands End.” (Anonymous) 

“I have always purchased my RL Polo shirts in XL size (and I always wore Lacoste's "Gran Patron" size) because they do shrink in the wash and I like mine a bit loose - not form fitting, especially on hot summer days. I was never concerned with sleeve length, either. RL's seem fine to me, but maybe some don't possibly because many of the more recent versions of those shirts do have longer, elbow length sleeves, which I find a bit baggy.” (Anonymous)

3. How do you take care of polo shirts?

“I avoid the shrinkage by laying the across a patio chair in the sun. Slightly pull them wrinkle free. I never dry them in a dryer. Granted I reside in Florida. They come out wrinkle free and full bodied.” (Craig Sevde)

“My husband wears his Ralph Lauren polos constantly and they hold up very well. The classic fit works nicely for him. Unlike Lacoste, they can go in the dryer with no problem!  I have accidentally put the Lacoste shirts in the dryer and they shrink horribly. However, I have found that if you wash them again, then stretch them out in both length and width while still wet, then hang to dry, they come out close to their original size.” (Anonymous)

4. What are opinions on specific polo shirt companies?

Who makes the best polo shirt?

Brooks Brothers

“I feel the color of the logo on BB polos and the color of the shirt don't match up nicely.” (HP Talk)
“Brooks Bros. polo shirts wear well, fade nicely. I DO NOT RECOMMEND their 346 (outlet) shirts as they ARE NOT the same quality shirts as those sold in the REAL BB stores.  I have almost ALL of the Brooks Bros. polo shirts in the huge variety of colors, including the new ones that come out each year. For the money, when compared to what Lacostes and POLO by RL cost, I believe they are a far better shirt for the money.” (Paul Connors)  
“I cannot abide the "cap sleeves" that BB, Bean and most of the others now put on most women's polos--ICK. So I buy BB men's and size down. Perfect! They drape nicely, the sleeves come down to just above the elbow like the Lacoste women's did in the good old daze, and they're long enough so they don't ride up. Also, the fabrics are nice and heavy, they resist stains, and hold up in the wash. I cannot STAND "clingy" polos!” (Greenfield) 

Ralph Lauren

“[In] ralph lauren men's polo by the way, sizing issue is very significant especially from china made polo shirts.” (Comment)
“Regarding RL shirts, I like them, but they all seem to develop small tears on either side of the side seams which didn't seem to happen to my old Izod Lacostes. t's irritating.” (Dave T,) 
“I am a huge fan of Ralph Lauren polos... I've been buying them for about thirty years, and I think I am just so used to the look, fit and quality that they are my classics.” (Comment) 
“His polos are of great quality.” (The LMM)
“I went to a factory RL store on the way back from the family ranch a few weeks ago and there is a noticeable difference in quality with the offerings. They definitely use different factories for those stores.” (HP Talk)
“Ralph Lauren. Best fit. The colors fade nicely. Wears nicely. Doesn't last forever, but for a very long time. Ages well.” (Paul)

“I am not sure what the issue is but Ralph Lauren Polo shirts just don't quite fit me right. I find they sort of "bellow" out around my waist but are overly tight around the arms. I've tried their 'custom fit' polos, as that fit is typically what I buy in oxfords from Ralph, but I still don't find they fit quite right.” (Joe)
“Polo still makes a decent shirt if you get the "Classic" fit. Polo is probably the easiest to get and has the widest variety of colors, for both men and women.” (Cubanchem)
“I was a Lacoste wearer (bought my first one in 1958) throughout the 80s but stopped once they withdrew from their contract with Izod and, apparently from the US, as well. I then migrated to Ralph Lauren Polo and they are as nice as I remembered Lacoste to have been. I have already worn through (maybe "outgrown" better describes that) my first batch of Polos and am now in my second one-including a couple from college campus stores (my own alma mater and that of and my son's). In the 1990s, I also purchased some from Old Navy and still have them, although some of their colors aren't as subtle as Polo's” (Anonymous) 
“Ralph Lauren: too short and guaranteed to lose length even with cold, delicate washing cycles and line-drying. Yes, my torso is somewhat longer than average, but the shirt that fit me off the rack last year is now closer to fitting my niece, who is in kindergarten. Too bad, as the collar and sleeves are proportioned very well. I have learned my lesson and now stick to pique shirts only.” (JSL) 

L.L. Bean

“My dozen or so LL Bean polo shirts have lasted wash after wash and haven't stretched out or shrunk. They also cost far less than Lacoste. As a bonus, the absence of a brand logo confuses shallow brand-whores because they can't figure out how much or how little I spent.” (Comment)
“I would also like to chime in on LLBean polos. Their mesh, banded arm ones are just fine. Also, instead of polo ponies, alligators or palm trees one can have a monogram, should the shirts be too plain. Works for me, and much cheaper.” (mary anne
“The Bean's Double LL polo shirts at $35-$40 are far superior to anything that Lacoste sells @ $98 the last time I looked. Made of thick, well made material that holds up in the wash. The lack of a logo is also a plus. Why would you PAY Top dollar to advertise someone else's brand?” (Orange Fiji)
“LL Bean makes shirts for giants,” (Cubanchem)
“For the money, Bean is my go- to just size down.” (may anne)
“Being a taller gentleman, I prefer the Bean "Double L" polos for overall fit. I typically do size down though, as they are cut rather generously.” (Darryl)

Vineyard Vines

“I am guilty of picking up a couple VV polos for under $20 at TJ Maxx and they seem to be holding up about the same as my RL polos but I do feel a like a “poser” when I wear them.” (Seas-the-day)


“I remember in college (mid-70s) scrutinizing the "alligator shirts" in department stores and knowing that the banded sleeve, long tail and two button placket were the hallmark of the true Lacoste. Those style differences,and the French-language size tags, "Homme", "Patron," etc. The Izod Lacoste shirts had hemmed sleeves and shorter tails, and we found them somewhat mundane and a lesser prize than a true Lacoste.” (Comment)
“What separated IZOD Lacoste from the Lacoste shirt of that era is the longer tail, the occasional blue gator if it looked better on that particular color and the authentically preppy color palette. The reason for that is that the IZOD Lacoste brand was stewarded by an American, Vin Draddy, who had a keen sense for the American aesthetic, and protected the brand with a narrow distribution and consistent quality until he sold it to General Mills at the end of the 70's. Please note that the Lacoste brand was nothing in the rest of the world till it was something here in the US, (Mr Draddy did a favor for Rene Lacoste when he took on the label and married it with his Izod label in the 40's)where it was soon seen on the likes of Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, John Kennedy and the Duke of Windsor on the links in Palm Beach, all whom were friends of Mr Draddy. So the reason why the 'Izod's' from that error were of exceptional quality is because Mr Draddy demanded it. You'll notice that today's Lacoste shirts sold here in the US aren't even made in France anymore, hence the poor quality and inconsistent sizing. To compare that IZOD with the RL shirt, it never has and never will compare... beautiful colors, but no comparison. Don't believe me buy an IZOD Lacoste shirt that has both the IZOD spool of thread on the label and the Lacoste croc, with French sizing on EBay and 40 years later you'll still have a shirt with terrific color saturation a responsive rib and it will feel as good on as 40 years ago.” (Comment)
“Are the current polos from Lacoste really worth the exorbitant price?” (Comment)  
“I agree on lacoste being bad quality and sizing issue sure, but I would say lacoste polo shirts made in peru are still wearable and nice color (especially light pink, which they call flamingo) and very consistent in sizing. But, unfortunately, it's getting harder finding peru made lacoste shirt today. I see lots of elsalvador made lacoste getting way worse in quality and sizing... Based on my vast trials and experiences, srilanka made polo shirts are better in quality and sizing.”  (Comment)
“[An] important topic - the horrible quality of Lacoste shirts today. I keep thinking I am buying them at the wrong store (Lacoste on Madison Avenue) or that maybe they sell the good shirts to the department stores. Are they of a better quality at Bloomingdales? Is it just me or are these new Lacoste shirts just garbage? Thin, course material and strange fitting. Where does one buy the good ones? Is there a secret handshake of which I am not aware?” (DMA)
“I also remember the IZOD Lacoste shirt circa 1980's was a good shirt if a touch over priced. But today's Lacoste is a terrible shirt. The material is way too thin and the shirt's style is a little too √čuropean" for my taste.” (Orange Fiji)
“A longtime Lacoste Polo wearer, I don't feel comfortable anymore paying $90.00 for these items. Besides, as others have mentioned, the shirts are getting really thin and the quality has taken a nosedive, particularly the past 5 or so years.” (Harry)
“I have some Lacoste tennis tennis shirts with the newest being about four years old. The collar and fabric are a little thinner. The fit is a little off and the perfectly long tail is missing. Not really too big of a deal on any of those counts. Would I spend $90.00 on a new one? Probably not, as there are pefectly good substitutes out there. The only thing that I don't like on some of the newer shirts is the half circle on the top of the back.” (Dave T,)  
“I have long been a fan of the Lacoste polo shirt; my navy blue examples are 15 years old now and fading in nicely. I do agree that the latest ones aren't just as good.” (darkirishtweedboy)
“Lacoste is a mere shadow of it's former self.” (Cubanchem)
“Lacoste are still the best.” (/the weekender!)
“Having purchased Polo shirts at all of the major players Brooks/RL/Jos. Banks/ Nautica etc., I have found the Lacoste shirt to the best by far, more comfortable than wearing a tee shirt and with a collar more formal. Nautica comes in second, their Polo shirts are thicker, and uncomfortable in the heat of summer. RL makes the nicest Polo's but quality and sizing are issues, especially for the $$$'s.” (Pittsburgh Prep)  
“Lacoste shirts can still be found at both their own company stores and other better retailers like Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom and Nieman Marcus to name a few. The pique knits do seem to shrink more than they did in the past.” (Paul Connors)  
“I have tried to get away from polos in recent years, but still on occasion wear Lacoste’s in either white or navy blue. I prefer long sleeve white linen nowadays. Kind of an Amish no-frills-can’t-go-wrong-wearing-this type approach.   The newer Made in Peru Lacostes tend to be too heavy and suffocating on humid days. I get my polos on eBay and stick with the older classic ones that were Made in France.” (RDR) 
“My polos that have held up the best and have not lost any length are all from Lacoste or J. Crew. I do have a few older Izod Lacoste shirts with tennis tails and a boxy cut, but the newer Lacostes fit me better and look tidier. They have a slimmer fit and a longer placket than I think most female readers might like, but they fit my shoulders and arms nicely without clinging around my waist. They are long enough to keep me covered and have not lost any length, even though I have not coddled them as I did the RL shirt. I've been lucky to find them discounted at least 50%, as otherwise I would not be able to afford them.”  (JSL) 
“I have had two Lacoste shirts go bad on me. My blue one faded and with the collar ligher than the body of the shirt. Just like a cheap shirt. A lightly colored long sleeve shirt called vintage wash, the cuffs were falling off. They both got those stupid holes in the corners of the placket, like cheap shirts. I believe they made three years. I have longer wearing shirts from $19.99 house brands. Customer service was unhelpfull. Never again, Lacoste.” (jason_m)


“O'Connell's has an in-house polo which is very good.” (Cubanchem)
“O'Connell's and Andover Shop. No logos. Always been good stuff. Call 'em up.”  (Comment)

Lands' End

“The Lands End ones used to be nice as well but, alas, no longer.” (mary anne)  


“About four years ago I bought a bunch (one of each color they had) of polo shirts at Costco. The brand was called Lady Hathaway. I don't even know if that is a real brand but I paid $12 per shirt. I wear each one at least once every two weeks (some colors more often) and they fit awesome (not fitted, regular fit), the marerial is not too thin, the color has not faded, no threads have come loose or buttons gone missing. And no logo. Sadly, Costco stopped carrying this brand.” (Comment) 
“Collared Greens. Best Polo I have worn and one of the only ones made in the USA.” (Comment)
“I am also a big fan of Hackett and Sunspel, two British brands providing great quality casualwear which doesn't date quickly and stands up to hard use.”(darkirishtweedboy)

“I'm content with polo shirts from Jos. A. Bank and from Charles Tyrwhitt. But I don't claim to be fussy and I don't know whether other companies' polo shirts may be better or worse.” (Anonymous) 

“For me, Orvis fits well and are well made. For Summers in tropical Asia, the J. Crew "Broken-In" polos are the right weight for high heat and humidity.” (James) 

“I still buy Fred Perry M1200 polo shirts. The quality is still good, and they seem to retain their shape after multiple washes.” (Anonymous) 

“In the 80s I always loved the longer tail French made Lacoste originals, these are polo shirts before the IZOD takeover when that happen I started to gravitate to the new Ralph Lauren line of polos and still wear them still. Recently I've purchased some Southern Tide polos with the Skipjack Tuna logo, you might have seen some of the guys on Bravo's "Southern Charm" program wearing them. The polos are a super soft longer tail soft pique cotton, and they remind me of the French made Lacoste polos of the past. They also have a very classic color palette to choose from. So if you want a nice change Southern Tide is my recommendation for this summer y'alll!” (j.mosby)

A Few More Across the Decades

Kirk Douglas


  1. Having decided to go logo-less on everything I have found Bills Khaki's Polo Shirts to be outstanding. A bit pricey so look for sales. RL and BB are cut to close and LLB are too large.

  2. Generally I find a loose broadcloth shirt with the sleeves rolled up to be much cooler and more comfortable than a polo shirt. When I do wear a polo I much prefer Paul Stuart's. I may try out LLB's this year based on the comments in your post.

  3. My go to brands are Southern Tide and Lacoste and Peter Millar! I also like the new Ralph Lauren RLX striped polo shirts super comfortable.

  4. The most important thing I look for in a polo is sleeve length. It should end mid-way down the bicep. Too many polos (and other short sleeve shirts) end at the elbow, which looks sloppy.

  5. Cording's actually makes a pretty nice English-made polo. They do shrink like crazy the first time they take a trip through the dryer, so sizing up is a good idea.

    1. Fred Perry's classic M12 polos are the other English-made option but they are more expensive than Cording's.

  6. It's now almost impossible to buy classic fit Polo Ralph Lauren polos or t-shirts in the UK. The Spanish owners of Hackett's polos are now focusing almost exclusively on slim fit.

    This season, Sunspel has hiked the price of its pique polos to £95. They are lighter in weight now and better quality than PRL, Gant and Lacoste. The sale discounts are worth waiting for.

  7. Excellent article from the Washington Post in 1977 re: the Lacoste Shirt.

  8. With a few exceptions I always struggle with the concept of polo shirts. On the one hand they are designed mainly for warm weather wear but on the other hand they are invariably made from a relatively heavy knitted fabric which drapes heavily over the body and is, to my way of thinking, excessively warm and uncomfortable for summer wear (at least here in Australia). On the other hand they offer little warmth in windy or colder conditions. Having said that they can be quite flattering if they are cut well and I have to say look damn nice on the deck of a yacht. But the bottom line is that when I have bought them I find they usually sit in the wardrobe unused except on those days where (a) I want something smart casual to wear and (b) it is neither too hot nor too cold for this style of top.

    1. I tend to agree, at least for most of the polo shirts I have. A couple that I have are quite light and comfortable in hot weather. All the same, I generally only wear them on vacation because they pack well.

  9. I prefer the Polo Golf line of shirts because of the longer, hemmed sleeves. The fabric is all cotton in an open weeve and the shirts are full cut and comfortable. The older ones are best and I have several but still find them thrifting very cheap.

  10. Ahem, does any True Prep worth his salt water actually recall purchasing a polo shirt? The very thought of purchasing anything, actually, other than perhaps a rake or a bauble for Missy at Christmas, is too vulgar to think on. Instead, True Prep's polo shirts simply appear in the drawer as though placed there by the haberdasher from heaven. Some were purloined from a roommate at Groton, others from a roommate at Bowdoin, still more from a cousin's girlfriend's brother at a home in Bar Harbor. In all events, the colors are simple and limited: navy, white and deep green. Pink is reserved for ersatz prep from places like Hartford and Morristown. It is helpful to have a few stains on the darker shirts, well earned down the line whilst washing down the J-class at the yard a few years back. Finally, lest we forget, when one dons a white polo of a certain vintage under a Brooks blue button down, the Prep ladies go crazy, that is, as crazy as a True Prep lady can go, which, we all know, is not too crazy. We do have standards, and they don't permit wanton behavior caused by male attire.

    1. Ha! Keep them coming.

    2. I had a friend at Bowdoin who borrowed one of mine. She was simply too charming to refuse. I forgot all about it until it turned up in my laundry nine years later. Wait, didn't I have a shirt just like this once? I had married her, you see, and in marriage the shirt came back to me. I let it remain in her drawer, though. Over 20 years later, we are still married, and she is still too charming to refuse.

    3. A True Prep at Bowdoin....?

  11. The original polo from Johnie O is the best around, hands down. 100 percent cotton. Wonderful.

    1. Complete agreement. I also really like Criquet's polo shirts. Both Johnie O and Criquet are not only REALLY comfortable, but stylish.

  12. I live in the steamy jungles of darkest South Carolina and prefer Lacoste for Summer wear (8 months out of the year here) precisely because they are "thin." I read the comments above and looked at my labels – even the ones I bought in Paris were made in Peru… I always took the light “airy” weave to be a design feature suiting the shirts for wear in the humid tropical climes of former colonies.

    I didn’t see them mentioned here but Patagonia makes a very well made nice fitting and reasonably priced ($59.00) pima cotton pique polo. I have several that are pushing 20 years old. These are much heavier than the Lacoste – very similar in weight to Bean’s so I wear these in the Spring and Fall (and sometimes Winter).

  13. This is one of the few times I find Orvis products best meet my needs, I'm generally less happy with their clothing choices lately. The Orvis Signature Polo I find comfortable and decent value, with some good color options. I much prefer a three button polo such as theirs. In the right colors the Orvis logo is not too obtrusive, I will not display the Lacoste or Ralph Lauren logos, thank you very much.

    Like some other commenters, polos meet a fairly narrow need, a particular combination of temperature and social setting. A comfy, sporty and unassuming polo is appropriate on vacation when a really nice tee is not preferred.

    1. Logos, ugh! I would wear polos more frequently if I could find a few good ones that did not insist on having a stupid logo. And don't get me started about polos with chest pockets, what is up with that? Bookkeepers trying to look cool?

    2. Chest pockets as a place to put cigarettes?

      Dont't start slamming, this was only sarcasm.

  14. This was an excellent piece that addressed my thoughts, particularly the tennis tail. In the early 70s I drove my red convertible from tennis shop to men's stores accumulating -for about $14 I recall- the long tail Izod Lacoste in light blue and white, Then as noted above Izod sold to General Mills which ruined the brand. I didn't buy them when they were reintroduced by Lacoste years later but did when they showed up in Costco a few years ago. They did shrink and that required purchasing larger sizes but the lack of a tennis tail was the great disappointment. Obviously they expect you to wear them outside your shorts. Awful! Thanks again for this great post.

  15. I have been wearing Lacoste ever since I was a young boy because that's what my grandfather wore. I agree that in the last few years the fits has been inconsistent, and the made in El Salvador shirts are noticeability lower in quality than those made in Peru. I have had my eye on Boast for a while, may give those a try this summer. When I did my semester abroad in London I did pick up and enjoy some of the made in England Fred Perry shirts, but that was 12 years ago, so I am unsure if the quality has changed since then.

  16. Anon. 6:15 Please tell me what you said was written "tongue planted firmly in cheek"!! PA

  17. I must preface this by stating that I’ve been mindlessly wearing Lacoste and Brooks’ Brothers’ polos forever, and we all know what’s become of them as they shuffle from one Third-World sweatshop to the next.

    About two years ago I discovered a polo of equal quality at a price almost too good to be true. The shirt retails for $26 (yes, that’s not a typo), and sells for $7.99 on sale. It’s the St. John’s Legacy Pique Polo sold at JC Penney (I think this is the first thing I’ve ever purchased from them.)

    A born sceptic, I tried one out and found it to be of surprising quality -- plus there is no fading if you wash them in cold water. I promptly bought twelve each in the only colors I wear in polos -- white and navy. Wow, what extravagance. The ones I have are 100% cotton and Made in Pakistan. I’m not sure if they’re a blend today – but still well worth the price.

    I also like that these nice-looking shirts don’t have a logo, and nobody can tell I’m getting by on the cheap. I wear the white ones under my Brooks Brothers Brookscool or Country Club Blazers, and haven’t heard any complains.

    As Hemingway would say: They are good.

    1. Should read "St. John's Bay Legacy Pique Polo."

    2. I, too, have one of those, in pale yellow. Perhaps the only piece of clothing I have ever owned from J.C. Penney and it is fabulous (who knew?). Have been wearing it for years.

  18. Most of my "polos" (and I have more than I need), are for no good reason, by Ralph Lauren. They just seem to multiply in my drawers.

    I did prefer the heritage, vintage LaCoste. The ones they make now just aren't the same.

    I have a couple of Fred Perry with the laurel wreath, a Sunspel, and a Vilebrequin that has a small embroidered turtle. I like the three brands just fine.

    Oh, and I have three Burberry polo shirts. The fit and quality are good, but they are not exactly subtle. They were gifts.

    I do prefer a ribbed hem on a mid-bicep sleeve.

  19. I wear solid color short sleeve Lacoste pique and size them up to allow washing and drying. My favorite of recent times in the Jeff Rose brand pique. They were made in Italy and are still truly outstanding. Sadly no longer available.

  20. For me it's Ralph's polos, mostly in white, sometimes in navy.
    Beeing on the slimmer side the slim fit fits perfectly. Not too much of a fan of logos, but the fit is just spot on. Also they last me a couple of years even if washed often and thrown in the dryer.
    I wanted to give Lacost a shot this year, but even their slim fits were so long that one could't wear them untucked - which I tend to do with shorts. Also the pique seemed a little to fine, almost see through.

  21. I go for the thicker pique cotton with traditional details. Stumbled across a white label company when we did up polos for our church bazaar that customizes for university, golf and sports clubs. They make any variety of polos but the 'classic' style is 100% nice weight cotton, boxy cut, with surprisingly good stitching. They exceeded my expectations; I bought for my family. The polos wear well, a little shrinkage, no logo. Have had our share of Lacoste, BB, LL Bean and LandsEnd (which used to make a killer polo) that are threadbare with constant wear in summer; throw them in washer/dryer. To replace them choose to go with the humbler, cheaper but in many ways superior quality of the no-brand - favorites in white, pink, navy.

    1. A good write-up for what sounds like a good product. But since it's a white label company the question arises: How many polos do you have to buy at a time?

  22. I don't have too many polos, but a trio of Brooks Brothers Cotton Performance polos have held up nicely for the last 4+ years, from lakeside cottages in Canada & the salt spray of Western Australia. Gracefully fading colours, sturdy fabric, and a drop hem on the back that keeps them tucked in. I have one in a discontinued colour, chrysanthemum red, that I am particularly fond of.

    One of the few items I would still buy from Brooks.

    My parents have gifted me with a few of the "346" outlet polos picked up on their travels, and they pale to the real thing - cheaper, rougher fabric, skimpier fit, and cheaper all around.

    As for care? Same as all my cotton shirts. Usually wash in cold water, hang to dry (but since they are knit folded over a rack rather than on the hangar). Once in a while I'll do a hot cycle with oxi clean (makes a bigger difference with white/blue shirts).

  23. Bills Khakis sells the best polo shirt. It is pique has a two-button placket, banded sleeves, and striped grosgrain trimming the split tail. White, navy, pink, and light blue are always available along with a half dozen other colors that change from year to year. They are made in the US, hold their shape through vigorous washing and don't wear out. Best polo I've ever owned.

  24. I rarely wear them now, so little so that I now only own two; a Lacoste and a Polo by RL. The rest have been sold or donated to charity. Classic plain ones are the best bet, striped ones are nice to start with but can age as they are prone to changing fashions.

    When I did wear them on a regular basis, I mainly wore the following:
    Lacoste - French made (Devanlay) and Spanish made (Basi). The ones I bought in the 1990s were good for at least 15-20 years wear and were still good enough to sell or donate to charity. Never split, tear or hole and the buttons are properly sewn on. Pretty much bulletproof.
    Fred Perry - Italian made only as these are thicker and better cut. The rest are thin and poorly made.
    Polo by RL (Custom Fit) - Quality can be hit and miss depending on which sweatshop they're made in and the split hem tends to tear. They last a decent amount of time but deteriorate with age.

  25. I love Lacoste and Ralph Lauren polos. I go for bright coloured polos in either classic or skinny fit. The best way to care for the polos is to hand wash in cold water and lay flat to dry. Never ever put them in the dryer. I noticed the quality of Ralph Lauren polos has been deteriorating in the past few years. As a result, I have been not bought any new polos from RL in the past 5 years.

  26. Musto for anybody dipping their Topsiders in saltwater...

  27. Thanks for the wonderful images!

  28. I am retired and frequently wear polo shirts. Bills Khakis has the best that I can find.

  29. Apparently, some readers prefer a gigolo cut to s gentleman’s cut.

    Old Bostonian

    1. Laugh out loud! Thanks for making my day!

  30. I've worn Lacoste, Polo, Lands' End, L.L. Bean, and a few others over the years. My preferred brand for new acquisitions now is Patagonia.

  31. To hack around the yard I use the Duluth Trading no-polo shirt. I like the very long tails.

    Have used RL under blazers in summer but now will consider Bills.

    I tend to get things very dirty and run them through the wash on hot and also through dryer. I tend to shrink them pretty fast which is why the tall, extra long tails come in handy.

    As Sartre said the broadcloth with sleeves partially rolled up is more to my liking these days for vacation or social events

    1. I, too, am with Sartre's preference. Problem is, I usually need to carry a pencil/pen in a shirt pocket, and absolutely refuse to even look at pictures of pocketed polos. (I mean, now, really? Why does this even exist??)

      And yes, you can stick a pen in the placket, but again it smacks of category-error.

      So it's OCBD, sleeves rolled or not as the weather or situation call for.

  32. I don't necessarily have one "Go to" brand in my closet but I definitely do have favorites. My one Brooks Brothers gets significant wear, as does a Musto I picked up from the Racing Yacht Club of Australia. Both fit well, are comfortable and durable and I'd recommend them. I do also have a couple Vineyard Vines, mainly ones I've picked up off of eBay on the cheap.

    I will also say I've had some clunkers that I will not buy again. The much ballyhooed Southern Tide? Nope, for many reasons. I haven't really had success with Ralph Lauren either.

  33. A few of my preferences, no matter the brand:

    1) Two buttons
    2) Tennis tail
    3) No logo
    4) Cotton pique - no jersey, no performance fabric
    5) No billowy "golf" sleeves
    6) No pocket, tipping on the collar, or any otherwise extra nonsense

    Beyond that, the prices vary widely, and seeing as these aren't fancy garments, I have to really have a reason to spend much on one.

    I started life with LR (a little too young to have been around for the non-reboot Lacoste years), but as they age, they begin to fit me poorly. I'm right with the other poster that they become tight in the arms and billowy though the torso.

    Right now LL Bean seems to hit the mark (not perfectly, the tennis tail could be a little longer and even a small is pushing it for my frame). But, they hit the points above at the right price.

    My BB polos fit me well, but again, the logo.

    1. For the LL Bean polos: Get a "tall" size shirt. It will give you a long torso that will easily stay tucked in.

  34. I think that Southern Tide needs to be added to the list of Polos. I'm not a fan of the Southern "Insert Brand Here" trend but Southern Tide deserves special consideration. I tried them after having borrowed a polo shirt from a friend where an unfortunate accident on a boat resulted in my shirt being ripped, and he happened to have a spare one in his bag. I have switched to buying all my polos that are event related from them ever since. I have polos from all the usual suspects; VV, Polo, BB, Lacoste,and LLBae. Southern Tides' polos are superior to all of them.

  35. I buy the Lands End Supima polos. They three-button, made in Peru, and very comfortable. IMO the LL Bean polos are too heavy for southern (North Carolina) temperatures.

  36. Many, many years ago I loved LaCoste, but the shirt that bears that name I now find to have tails tgat are too short. I recently acquired several from O'Connell's. The tails are long, the details are right, and the pricing is quite good. They cone with a buffalo, a lighthouse, or no logo. Other than those choices they all seem to be identical. I prefer no logo, but the fact the two logos are small and tasteful and promote one of the true purveyors of the garb we all love makes the logos more palatable.


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