Why the polo is the hardest working item in your wardrobe

·2-min read
percival hermes tommy hilfiger - Courtesy of Hermes
percival hermes tommy hilfiger - Courtesy of Hermes

The classic cotton-piqué polo is one of our most adaptable staples, appropriate for dress-down-Fridays and smart/casual invitations as well as the golf course. Still, there’s only so far a sports shirt made from a breathable fabric can rise up the ranks.

But a new generation of polos is doing the rounds; smart enough to wear to a summer wedding and way too sophisticated to consider playing golf in. Vertical stripes are very much on-trend and give the polo a classy retro vibe that wouldn’t be out of place on the Italian Riviera.

Jamie Dornan wearing the Reiss Swift Polo Shirt which makes for the perfect layering piece - Getty Images
Jamie Dornan wearing the Reiss Swift Polo Shirt which makes for the perfect layering piece - Getty Images

M&S has a great example, crafted from a cool cotton knit with a textured finish. Equally popular horizontal stripes bring a nautical flavour; Cut&Pin has a great one in silky-smooth, fine-gauge cotton and cashmere blend.

cut and pin ben sherman john lewis reiss
cut and pin ben sherman john lewis reiss

Knitted Navy Stripe Polo, £65, Cut& Pin; Team GB Union Stripe Knitted Polo, £80, Ben Sherman; Supima Cotton Fine Stripe Polo (Navy), £25, John Lewis & Partners; Bennard Chevron Knitted Polo Shirt (Wine) £28.44-£59.99, Merc @ Amazon Fashion; Wriggle Polo (Airforce Blue), £98, Reiss; Micro Popcorn Stripe Polo (Linen White/xenon Blue), £28, French Connection

Geometric patterns and prints are also high on the agenda; Joules has one in a hand-drawn print with a button-pocket and chambray trims. The slim-fitting wool-and-cotton blend Wriggle polo by Reiss, its zip neckline a nod to the preppy styles of the 1970s, would look scalpel-sharp worn with crisp chinos, loafers and a bomber jacket.

Of course patterns aren’t the only way to go. There is still room for plains, but in more luxurious fabrics. Sunspel, the British heritage brand (founded 1860) has you covered here.

asos design sunspel joules marks and spencer
asos design sunspel joules marks and spencer

Relaxed Grey Marl Polo With Vertical Red Stripe, £15, Asos Design; Riviera Cotton Polo (Cinnamon), £63, Sunspel (Sunspel.com); Premium Pattern Polo (Pink), £28, Next; Drift Jersey Printed Polo (Navy Geo), £39.95, Joules; Knitted Retro Emery Polo (Saffron), £120, Peregrine; Autograph Premium Supima Cotton Polo (Green Mix), £29.50, Marks & Spencer

Its iconic Riviera polo, worn by Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale, is the definitive plain but posh polo. Available in 22 different shades (my favourite is cinnamon) and cut from a lightweight cotton mesh, it is the very definition of a modern-day classic.

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