21 Best Polo Shirts for Men in 2023: Lacoste, Ralph Lauren, Todd Snyder, and More | GQ

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21 Best Polo Shirts for Men in 2023: Lacoste, Ralph Lauren, Todd Snyder, and More | GQ

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By Gerald Ortiz and Michella Ore

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In 2023, no wardrobe is complete without at least one—if not several!—of the best polo shirts on the market close at hand. They're as laid back and versatile as a T-shirt, only with the addition of a face-framing, respectability-enhancing collar. You can trust ‘em to help you look handsome in a host of situations—with shorts on the weekend (think deep '70s energy), with denim at the bar, with a blazer at an outdoor wedding. And let's not forget that they're a cornerstone of the most essential dress code of our time, Zoom Casual. Truly nothing masks the chaotic energy of your hybrid work situation quite like a relatively wrinkle-free polo shirt.

The polo shirt is deeply embedded into American style. It’s in the legendary The Official Preppy Handbook, and it’s impossible to step foot on a golf course without seeing one. But despite its Americana associations, the polo shirt was invented in the 1920s by the renowned French tennis player René Lacoste. Traditional tennis garb at the time required players to play in white flannel pants, and a starched woven shirt. Unsurprisingly, Lacoste wasn’t keen on lobbing tennis balls in such heavy garments. Inspired by a friend, Monsieur Lacoste designed a comfortable knit cotton alternative that featured short sleeves and a soft collar. And with a little crocodile embroidered on the chest to reference his nickname, Le Crocodile, the iconic Lacoste polo was born.

A hundred years on and the polo’s reach goes far beyond the sport of tennis and has evolved into countless variations from the inevitable long-sleeve polo shirt to fluffy polo sweaters to full-placket polos and more. It’s difficult to brick an outfit in a polo, but we assure you—it can happen.

The key to selecting the right polo for the occasion you have in mind largely comes down to fit and fabric. If you're in the market for a polo that skews more casual, boxy and loose works just as well as pec-grazing and bicep-hugging (naturally, how you define casual is important here); any event that requires some variation of cursed office-appropriate attire likely demands a less dramatic fit instead. Cotton is always a safe bet for year-round wear, but for extra oomph, a knit polo cut from a hardy-but-soft wool—or even an extremely ritzy cashmere—will keep the bitter chill at bay and help you look handsome-as-hell in the process.

All that's to say, you don’t have to stick to the dull polos you wore when you were younger. Like you already have with the rest of your wardrobe, get weird! We’re talking abnormal colors, vintage details, and yeah, oversized—but not Phil Mickelson oversized—proportions. Here are 21 of the best polo shirts for all tastes and comfort levels to get you reacquainted with—or just heavier into—the casual Friday hall-of-famer.

Custom Fit Mesh Polo Shirt

No designer has done more to bolster the polo's pedigree than New York’s very own Ralph Lauren, the Americana obsessive who scaled the highest echelons of the schmatte business off the strength of his pristine shirting alone. 50 years after its debut, the brand's reputation-making polo shirts (cut from a luxe pima cotton fabric, adorned with the now-iconic pony on the chest) still set the standard. The slim-fit polo is a staple, but Ralph makes classic fit polos that sync up well with baggier pants. Not only that, the polos come in every color under the sun, but the crisp white OG version will help you carve out a legacy of your own—as the slickest dresser around.

Short Sleeve Classic Chine Polo Shirt

Would this be a proper polos list without Lacoste? Famed French tennis player René Lacoste invented the polo as a way to blend performance with good style. Nearly a century later, the brand is still around (not bad for starting with just a shirt, right?) and the polo is as popular as ever, well beyond its origins on the tennis court. Today, the signature design still features the short button placket with that elegant collar, ribbed sleeves and hem, and that iconic cotton pique fabric that's both sturdy and soft as well as surprisingly breathable. In other words, they're still doing it better than most.

Call it the Ripley effect or chalk it up to camp shirt fatigue, but knit polos—especially retro-leaning, stripe-y styles—are everywhere right now. A lot of our favorite versions cost a pretty penny, but riding the new wave of La Dolce Vita-drenched style doesn't have to mean dropping big money. Luckily, Abercrombie—a brand riding a revival wave of its own as of late—dove headfirst into the trend this season, offering up a version of what they dub "sweater polos" for around 60 bucks. This version feels incredibly worthy of a mid-century Jazz album cover, paired with some wide, pleated slacks, swanky loafers, and an ice-cold old fashioned.

Sometimes you want swervy tones and bold graphics and weird fabrics. And sometimes you just need a clean, crisp polo shirt to cleanse the palette. When the latter mood hits, you’d be hard-pressed to find one executed quite as flawlessly as this joint from Sunspel. Part of that just comes down to reps: the English label has been churning out top-notch basics since 1860, and it lays claim to producing some of the first T-shirts ever made. In other words, Sunspel has had more than enough time to nail everything from the soft-yet-sturdy pique cotton to the flatteringly tailored fit to the shine of the shell buttons. Like a Burberry trench or a pair of Stan Smiths, it’s simplicity you can count on.

If you've ever wanted to look powerful, like a big shot CEO on their day off or an A-list actor at a press junket for their new blockbuster action flick, the knit polo is the one-way ticket you've been hoping for. This one from Todd Snyder hits all the right notes: the tasteful contrast collar and ribbing, the knit construction, and the ‘70s-esque plaid colorway that’ll carry you into fall and well-beyond. We can't fully explain it, but everyone just looks like their hottest selves when sporting a classic polo like this, and we're not here to argue the data.

Think of the open-collar polo as the shirt equivalent of kicking back with your arms behind your head, soaking up an achingly beautiful sunset while you ignore whatever work shenanigans are going down in your inbox. Stòffa's Mouliné polo takes that joie de vivre and filters it through an elegant light charcoal melange and an impossibly rakish silhouette befitting of old Hollywood's most dapper leads.

Paul Smith's signature mesmerizing stripes aren't the only pattern the brand excels at This space-dyed polo is just as hypnotizing if not for the trippy visual effect, then for the tailored fit and silky soft cotton.

You expect certain things out of a performance polo, but you wouldn’t guess that it would be made of merino wool. It’s counterintuitive, but merino wool is actually a great material for high-performance activities. It’s naturally sweat-wicking, quick-drying, and way softer than you think and Proof’s 72-hour Merino Polo Shirt is—ahem—proof positive. It’s surprisingly silky, properly stretchy (without the use of spandex), and is as moisture-wicking and odor-blocking as the best synthetic joints. They’re also sun-protective with a UPF 30+ rating so while you might get smoked on the tennis court, you won’t get burnt. And don't worry—you can even throw these it in the washing machine.

Why yes, polos can be full button-up affairs.

Uniqlo x JW Anderson x Roger Federer

DRY-EX short sleeve polo shirt

The perfect polo to show off your sick new tat without looking resorting to just being shirtless everywhere you go.

Kinda feels like this polo belongs in a home with a wood-panelled living room and a conversation pit. In the event that you don't have either of those things, you could simply wear this groovy polo with some flared pants and shiny shoes.

Percival's sweater polo is just like a good squash soup—thick, cozy, and absolutely delicious.

Entering your quiet luxury era doesn't mean you have to go full Loro Piana. This handsome ribbed polo pairs up well with some billowing dress trousers and fancy slippers for a sort of '

Washed out, but not washed up! Alex Mill's pitch perfect polo has a ton of slubby texture and a vintage garment wash that gives it that been-around-the-block feel.

From hand-dyed patterns to painstakingly applied embroidery to natural dyes and hand-loomed fabrics, Karu Research's artisanal approach would stop anyone in their tracks, including this polo which features a chunky cotton knit and a cheeky take on the traditional chevron pattern.

Summer's hot enough, but carrying around a towel to wipe off your sweat is, if not socially acceptable, a little inelegant. A terry cloth polo is the answer.

If you were on the verge of yawning from the decidedly chill polos, here's your wake-up call.

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21 Best Polo Shirts for Men in 2023: Lacoste, Ralph Lauren, Todd Snyder, and More | GQ

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