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For the polo shirt being such a basic staple of men’s style, there sure are a lot of bad ones out there. But these aren’t those. These are not your grandpa’s boxy, logo emblazoned golf shirt. These are slim or athletic, clean lean and mean. Below is the best of the reasonably affordable polo crop from this year. Got a lead on a polo that should have made this list? Send those tips in to joe@dappered.com.

 

Old Navy Go-Dry Cool Polo for Men – $14.99 w/ BONUS ($19.99)

Old Navy Go-Dry Cool Polo for Men

***BEST IN SHOW: CHEAP OPTION***

Size shown: Medium on 5’10″/185lbs

Super affordable at full price, and can drop to as low as $9.99 during big sales. It’s a basic, yes. Very basic. Nothing earth-moving in the design or details. But it’s so dang well executed. And the price is now stupid cheap. Lightweight, breathable, moves great. All poly tech fabric that somehow doesn’t feel crinkly or plastic-y or junky. No buttons on the collar, so it might suffer from some curl or flopping as the day rolls on, but geeze are these things excellent for the price. Big thanks to Nirmal P. for the tip on these. Seven colors available.

 

The Tie Bar Tipped Cotton Sweater Polos – $45

Tie Bar Tipped Cotton Sweater Polos

Size shown: XS on 5’9″/160

Comes in the basic colors like navy, black, and sky blue, but they also made them in a bunch of different, not-so-expected shades like lilac, tan, and the jade green shown above. A great fitting polo, and the 100% Mercerized cotton realizes the benefits of the same process BR uses to give their Luxe Touch polos that smoothness and slight sheen. Extremely comfortable and the collar and arms fit excellently, and they skim rather than constrict. If you want a trim fit, size down. They are tagged as dry clean only though. Which is a drag. Thought they were machine wash at one point? Musta been mistaken. $45 though? Might go back for seconds.

 

J. Crew Slub Jersey Polo Shirt in Yarn-dyed Stripe – $49.50

J. Crew Slub jersey polo shirt in yarn-dyed stripe

Size shown: Medium standard fit on 5’10″/190

Three different “stripe” varietals to choose from. Soft, mid weight cotton. Not beach blanket thick, not paper thin either. Seems to shrink up maybe a touch in the wash, so know that. Not their slim fit, but it is available in slim too.

 

J. Crew Slim Garment-dyed Slub Jersey Polo Shirt – $45

J. Crew Slim Garment-dyed Slub Jersey Polo Shirt

Size Shown: Large slim fit on 5’10″/190

And for the sake of comparison, here’s one of J. Crew’s polos in a large slim fit. Slub fabric again, so it’s got a bit of texture and encourages airflow. Garment dyed for that vintage look, without looking worn out. Tons of colors to pick from. Three button placket + pocket keeps it from looking like a super basic “uniform” polo you’d see school kids wear. It’s intentional, it’s got a bit of style, but it doesn’t shout.

 

Spier & Mackay 100% Cotton Pique Shirt Collar Polo – $45

Spier & Mackay 100% Cotton Pique Shirt Collar Polo

Size Shown: Medium on 5’10”/185

Dropping into the first person here. I don’t like all cotton polos, I don’t like pique, and I don’t like spread collars. But these, somehow, are terrific. So there’s that. Soft cotton pique that isn’t fat or squishy feeling. They picked really good material for these things. River shell buttons are thick and substantial. And the spread collar, made from the same material as the body of the shirt and then beefed up a touch in terms of construction, is rakish and a nice change of pace. One note on laundering: They say lay flat or line dry. So no machine drying here. And while they certainly feel a step above in terms of quality and materials, that extra bit of maintenance might be a dealbreaker for a lot of us. Ten colors to choose from.

 

Spier & Mackay 100% Cotton Pique Button Down Collar Polo – $45

Spier & Mackay 100% Cotton Pique Button Down Collar Polo

Size Shown: Medium on 5’10”/185

And now the button down version. Same fabric, this time with a not-going-anywhere, will look awesome with unstructured sportcoats, button down collar. Ten colors to choose from here as well.

 

Target Goodfellow “Must Have” Polo Shirt in “Light Blue” – $16.99

Polopalooza 2022 Goodfellow Must Have Polo

Size shown: Small on 5’9″/160

It’s funny, when I first tried this on, I didn’t like it at all. Something about the unusual spread collar and the way it seemed to fit. But now? I really like it. The fabric blend is interesting: 61% polyester, 29% cotton, 3% stretch, and 7% linen.. wait, what? Linen? On a high-poly-blend shirt? A strange way to go. It does make the shirt seem just a bit softer, and it adds some unique flecking to the color. The welt pocket, a rare and welcome change from patch pockets on polos, was a sweet addition. Collar is sturdier than most thanks to its self-fabric construction (more on that later) and shouldn’t flop around much. It’s good. **NOTE: Target’s also doing that thing it always does where multiple fits, fabrics and styles fall under the same link, so be aware that switching to a different color means it’s probably not the same thing. Not to mention, “Light Blue” looks more greenish-blue in person, and very green on Target’s Website.**

 

Target Goodfellow Performance Polos – $19.99

Polopalooza 2022 Goodfellow Performance Polo

Size shown: Small on 5’9″/160

More Tar-zhay. We’re talking pure performance here – 90% poly, 10% stretch. Moisture wicking? Yep. Stretch-Armstrong stretch? Check. Cool patterns and a solid fit? You get the idea. I wasn’t sure what to expect here, because poly-heavy “performance” polos are usually anything but fashionable. They’re usually shiny, gaudy, and you wouldn’t be seen outside a golf course with them. But.. Target seems to think differently, and you can actually wear these quite easily off the links, too. Plenty of the available patterns are way out there, so it’s a shame they don’t have more solids! This pink and blue floral print is just subdued enough to throw some strong summer vibes out there without being too much. I do hate ribbed collars like these with a passion, but I’ll let it slide for such an otherwise strong profile.

 

Lululemon Metal Vent Tech Polo – $88

Lululemon Metal Vent Tech Polo

Size Shown: Large on 5’10″/190

Blasted Lululemon. They make great stuff, but man do they make you pay for it. Lightweight, breathable, flexible… the works. You could easily run a dang 10k (or more) in one of these things and feel great. Raglan sleeves are terrific, and sure seem to add more range of motion. Six colors to pick from.

 

Kent Wang Collar Band Polos – $75

Kent Wang Collar Band Polos

Size shown: Small on 5’9″/160

This legendary polo shirt’s legendary pricing gets even.. legendarier. $65 last year, with a $10 jump this year. Per the site, “The collar is constructed like a woven shirt with a collarband and two layers of self fabric, instead of the typical single layer of ribbed fabric that loses its shape quickly.” Serious question – why don’t more polos do this? The collar is darn near perfect. Solid, but not stiff. Honest to goodness mother of pearl buttons that have a satisfying heft when plugging them through the buttonholes. Split hems on the sides is a nice touch, as is the classy spread collar. And although pique polos are not a personal favorite, the texture is gorgeous. I’d put it between a slim and a standard fit, and while the cut is very modern, the arm openings do have some wiggle room. Body felt a bit boxy on me, but nowhere to size down. For the right body type, this is a fantastic polo. I’m just not that body type.

 

Banana Republic Luxury-Touch Performance Polo – $55

Banana Republic Luxury-Touch Performance Polo

***BEST IN SHOW MID PRICED***

Size Shown: Medium on 5’10”/185

Drops to $33 during a 40% off sale. Always a favorite and this year it’s no different… both in Best in Show as well as the item itself. Seems to be unchanged from years past. All cotton, yet somehow manages to be almost glass smooth, stretchy, and soft. (As if there’s some silk in there.) They’re so smooth they’re almost cool to the touch. There does seem to be a catch for some though. Many have reported shrinkage problems with these. Especially when it comes to the length. I don’t have this issue, and I can’t tell you why. I wash on warm or cold and dry on medium or cool. Do they shrink up a little in the wash? Maybe. But not to the extremes that I’ve heard. If you’re 6′ or over, consider ordering a tall instead of a regular. FIT NOTE: A terrific observation from reader Tom P. via Twitter: Looks like BR has ditched the slim and standard fit strategy here i 2022, and is instead going with “just” one fit. It’s difficult to tell, but a medium this year seems to fit pretty close to a large slim from last.



 

Banana Republic Heathered Luxury-Touch Performance Polo – $60

Banana Republic Luxury-Touch Performance Polo

Size Shown: Medium on 5’10”/185

So what the heck is the difference between this and the solids? The fabric seems to be identical in feel, but these are slightly heathered. Why they’re five bucks more, I don’t know. These are made in India, while the best-in-show solids are made in Vietnam. Also, these come with a stitched BR logo on the inside of the very upper back near the collar. Okay. Neat. But not five extra bucks neat. Beats me guys.

 

Banana Republic Piped Luxury-Touch Performance Polo – $60

Banana Republic Piped Luxury-Touch Performance Polo

Size Shown: Medium on 5’10”/185

Rounding out the BR Luxe Touch trifecta with a retro-piped option. Made in India like the heathered “ocean blue”, but no BR logo stitching on the inside of the collar. Again, not sure what’s going on here with all these luxe-touch variations.

 

Banana Republic Solare Sweater Polo – $90

Banana Republic Solare Sweater Polo

Size Shown: Medium on 5’10”/185

A true sweater polo. 55% silk / 45% linen somehow ends up being both soft and textured (thanks to the linen) at the same time. Fit is a little bulky, but that’s not unexpected since it’s actually a sweater in construction. Not suffocatingly heavy, but not airy and light either. I think a lot of guys would like the idea of this polo sweater, but in actuality wouldn’t wear it much. And then there’s washing it… hand wash/dry flat. Dang.

 

Amazon Goodthreads Lightweight Slub Polo – $20

Amazon Goodthreads Lightweight Slub Polo

Size Shown: Small on 5’10″/175lbs

A hit that Amazon debuted a couple years back. 4.5/5 stars after (wait for it) 1500+ ratings. And genuinely quite nice for the price. Tail isn’t chopped. Super, super soft lightweight slub fabric. They do seem to be short on stock at post time depending on the color you’re after. Same goes for their mid-weight “sueded” jersey polos. You know it’s a crazy time when Amazon is having a hard time getting stuff in house.

 

UNIQLO AIRism Pique Button Down Collar Polos – $29.90

UNIQLO AIRism Pique Button Down Collar Polos

Size shown above: XS on 5’9″/160

An annual mainstay on this list for a reason: bang for the buck. I’m a sucker for button-down collars, as they’ve transcended mere casual wear to be perfectly acceptable on more upscale outfits (Did you know that Brooks Brothers basically invented the button-down collar, or “polo collar,” as we know it today? Fascinating read here). This is one of the best examples of that casual-dressy crossover. Looks perfect under a spring/summer sportcoat, and the 51% cotton / 49% nylon fabric is breathable and lightweight. The collar really does resemble a dress shirt collar, in both construction and overall feel. The tail is on the chopped side, but you should be just fine if you’re on the average height or shorter side. Tag indeed still recommends to line dry – C’mon UNIQLO! Downright cheap when offered for $19.90 on sale, and we’d probably pay a few bucks more to be able to throw them in the dryer without fearing it turning into a belly shirt.

 

Amazon Essentials Men’s Slim-Fit Quick-Dry Golf Polo Shirt – $16.40

Amazon Essentials Men's Slim-Fit Quick-Dry Golf Polo Shirt

Size Shown: Medium on 5’10”/185

Not bad! And for it being from the Amazon Essentials line (and not the more style-forward “Goodthreads” house brand), it was a surprise to find that it was actually a slim fit. Maybe not super slim, but slim enough that a medium didn’t leave me swimming in the thing. Basic all poly tech pique. Nothing fancy here. Super cheap. Color options, of which there are a lot of, might not be as dark in person as they seem to be in the product photos on Amazon.

 

Amazon Essentials Men’s Slim-fit Jersey Polo – $15.60

Amazon Essentials Men's Slim-fit Jersey Polo

Size Shown: Medium on 5’10”/185

This is gonna be a “pass” for most. It’s soft jersey knit cotton, but it’s also a medium thickness. And that just spells trouble on hot, swampy days. Decent fit though.

 

Bonobos Jetsetter “Performance” Polo in Standard or Slim Fit – $69

Bonobos Jetsetter "Performance" Polo

Size Shown: Medium Standard Fit on 5’10”/185

Also available in slim fit. Fabric is a 50% cotton / 50% “drytex acryclic” blend. A lot of us give a suspect side-eye to anything that claims to be “performance” with cotton in it (especially 50% cotton), but this one feels, looks, and wears so good that even if it doesn’t perform quite like an airy & wicking tech polo in the dead of summer, we’ll let it slide. Super soft and smooth. Doesn’t have quite the sheen as a BR Luxe Touch, but it’s plenty dressy enough to wear with an unconstructed sportcoat. Collar doesn’t button down, but it’s nice. Not a cheap ribbed floppy thing. It’s made well, and from the same smooth fabric as the body of the shirt. Nine, count them NINE colors to pick from. Also worth mentioning: TUMBLE DRY LOW HECK YEAH YOU CAN MACHINE DRY THESE. Seems like the spendier “nicer” polos lately have all been lay flat to dry/line dry. Not here.

 

Bonobos Sweater Polo – $99

Bonobos Sweater Polo

Size Shown: Medium on 5’10”/185

Thinking a lot of guys would find a way to splurge on the Jetsetter polo, but these are a bit of a miss. Noticeably shorter and a little boxier than the Jetsetter even though they only come in one, unidentifiable fit (there’s no “standard” or “slim” button to click on the Bonobos site when picking your size). All cotton, knit like a lightweight sweater. It’s… fine. Machine wash cold but lay flat to dry. Most won’t see the juice being worth the squeeze on this one. Not for a hundred bucks.

 

Proof 72 Hour Merino Polo – $88

Proof 72 Hour Merino Polo

Size shown: Large on 5’7″/175

Proof built this bad boy with merino wool, but in an “89%”wool, 11% nylon” blend. The nylon aides in creating a cool, smooth fabric that Proof claims can go 72 hours of wear with no stink. The shirt drapes well, and offers plenty of room for mobility without being boxy. Spendy at $88, but Proof made this one to move and do-it-all over the course of not just one day, but a few. Hence, the “72 hours” name. So some of us would rationalize the splurge as it really being three (days worth of) polo shirt(s) in one? While this isn’t as aesthetically polished as say, the Banana Republic luxe touch polo, it fills a very simple yet valuable need – a shirt that looks good and stays out of your mind all day long. No fuss. Machine wash cold, tumble dry low. Eight colors to pick from in sizes ranging from XS to 3XL.

 

Rhone Commuter Polo – $98

Rhone Commuter Polo

Size shown: Medium on 5’10″/185

Hang on for one more polo because we’ll get to the great Rhone polo. This one is not as good. Fabric is really thin feeling. Almost papery. And a bit shorter in the tail when compared to their excellent delta pique polos. Still incredibly breathable and wicking, and comes with that welcome hidden button down collar, but it just doesn’t have the feel, fit, or finish of it’s Delta Pique brother. Many will disagree with this assessment, as evidenced by the rave reviews online, but yeah. A lot of us are gonna stick with the Delta Pique.

 

Rhone Delta Pique Hidden Button Down Collar Polo – $88

Rhone Delta Pique Hidden Button Down Collar Polo

***BEST IN SHOW SPENDY***

Size shown: Medium on 5’10″/190

And still the champion. Going to be a game changer for a lot of us. These have everything. Breathable, wicking tech Polyester/Lyocell/Spandex “Delta” Pique material that’s lightweight but strong. Hidden, under the points, button down feature that really does a great job keeping the collar looking good all day and in all conditions. Raglan style sleeves & stretch infused fabric for ease of movement. Athletic fit that’s accommodating but not bulky or boxy. Machine wash, but like many other polos on this list, the tag says to lay flat to dry. I HAVE accidentally thrown these things in the dryer once or twice, but so far, no damage or shrinkage. Yet laying flat to dry for these is super easy. 100% tech fabric (not a cotton tech blend) means they dry SUPER fast, and almost totally wrinkle free as long as you get them down flat. The one draw back is the logo three/overlapping Xs on the right shoulder. It’s noticeable on some colors due to the contrasting thread they use. Could be a deal breaker for some.

Got a favorite polo that should of made the list and you’re up for a quick review + in person shots for a fit perspective? Send a heads up to joe@dappered.com and we’ll see if we can get you squared away.

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