A polo top is a knitted top with a very specific style of knitted collar and placket. The placket typically has two or three buttons, and an optional pocket. It’s inspired by golf wear, equestrian wear, and tennis wear. The most famous polo shirts are by Lacoste, complete with crocodile emblem and starched piqué fabric. Lacoste shirts or Crocodile shirts are classics that look as fab today as they did decades ago.
The fashion industry is giving the polo shirt and its fun iterations its trendy moment. Sleeves are all sorts of lengths and fits range from body-con to fluid. Fabrics are KNITTED and made of piqué, all types of jersey, gauze, mesh, ribbing, or yarn that resembles knitwear (sweaters in the US). The collars and plackets are standard. The collection showcases a wide assortment of polo tops across patterns and colours.
Very few of my clients and friends wear fashion polo tops, although many wear the gear version for golf and tennis. They generally find them too strict, sporty, angular and hard, unflattering and preppy, and don’t like the collar. Some find them twee, dowdy and unattractive. They’ll wear them for sport, but not for fashion.
I’m in the minority because I LOVE polo tops. They are casual but dressier and more interesting than a basic tee. I wore fluid versions in the ‘80s, and fitted versions in the early ‘90s. I also wore pony club polo shirts for horse riding in the ‘70s and ‘80s. The collar and placket are a slam dunk for my body type, giving me the structure that I crave around my shoulder neck points and narrow shoulders. My long neck loves the coverage of the collar, which I pop when it’s relatively stiff. Polo tops are a magical fit most of the time, so it’s no wonder I’m fond of them.
I have two knitwear versions at the moment that have been fab for Spring. A short sleeved version in ink blue from COS, and a patterned bubblegum pink with longer sleeves from Scotch & Soda. The fits are fluid and welted. They work well worn over or semi-tucked over jeans, utility pants and dressier pants. I always wear them with my chunky pearl necklaces with a few of the top buttons undone. The pearls add glam and a dressy integrity to the polo.
Although on-trend, polo tops are classics, which is another reason I like them. I’m back to wearing all sorts of classic tops this year because the trends are against me, so it’s fab timing that this classic is having a fashion moment. I hope to add some versions for high Summer, and cold weather too.
Over to you. What’s your take on the polo top?