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How to dress up a polo shirt

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Men and women alike love wearing polo shirts

Men and women alike love wearing polo shirts

In some businesses and operations, the polo shirt is de rigueur. It’s a golf outing or casual Friday, you name it, and the employees and attendees are clad in this apparel. 

If you start with the basic polo top look, do you know how to dress up a polo shirt? Think outside the box and, for instance, purchase a polo shirt featuring print rather than wearing the traditional solid color, or add accessories to take it up a fashion notch or two.

What is it?

This type shirt is also called a tennis or golf shirt. It has a collar, a placket generally with two or three buttons and often a pocket. The piece is made of knitted cloth as opposed to woven and it is fashioned out of synthetic materials, pique cotton, merino wool and sometimes silk.

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A pullover, it features either a turnover collar or round neckband and short sleeves, although long sleeved versions are available. It is synonymous with casual wear.

Polo players wear this kind of shirt, with the collar upturned (think Prince William of England riding his mighty steed during a match and looking quite stylish) and that’s why it was branded as such.


Jazzing it Up

Women like wearing these tops as much as men. Now that they’re available in long sleeves and signature print designs, they’re even more appealing to the female set. The shirts are no longer confined to the basic solid colors but come in delightful patterns and colors such as Dutch blue and deep seas. They are easy to care for, affordable and the perfect shirt for golf or just hanging around the house.

Add necklaces, long or short, and a casual print scarf to your look. And armload of bangles is a fun addition to a jeans and polo shirt look. A smart belt also dresses up a polo shirt and slacks combination. If you wear a heel with your outfit instead of sporty flats or tennis shoes, you will also create a more polished and dressier look.

Because a polo shirt is a relaxed fashion statement, it’s fun to do something unexpected with your makeup, giving your eyes a pop of color that contrasts with your shirt and wearing bright makeup. If your makeup is polished, your entire look becomes more pulled together.

Of course, the traditional short-sleeve version is still available. Grab one made from extra soft jersey with strengthened collar and placket in a beautiful color that flatters you. The shirt is comfortable, fashionable and timeless. 


For men, when wearing this shirt, put the collar up. This looks snazzy. Women, too, can do this. You can wear a long-sleeved t-shirt under the shirt in the winter, adding an extra layer for warmth. The top of the t-shirt pokes out of the open neck. 

Put a cardian sweater on over the shirt or, as some do, tie a sweater around your neck. Wear this with jeans, khakis or chinos.

** Do not tuck in the shirt.

Some choose to wear a polo buttoned up. This is a retro look.

Make sure the top fits properly and isn’t too tight or too big. Some of these shirts come in slim sizes so a medium may feel more like a smaller size. Shop around and see which manufacturer’s version fits you best.

Men, too, can wear color. Branch out and buy the shirt in some vibrant shades instead of sticking with the tried and true navy.


This style was not invented by clothing designer Ralph Lauren, although many think so. The actual creator was Rene Lacoste, a tennis player, who thought the rigid tennis garb too unwieldy and uncomfortable, so he designed a lightly-knit pique cotton, short-sleeved, white top with an unstarched, flat, distended collar, a button placket and featuring a lengthier shirt tail in the back than in the front. He first wore this shirt at the U.S. Open in 1926. Obviously, it was a big hit. 

Ralph Lauren’s “Polo” brand is on of the most lucrative lines of men’s casual wear in the U.S. The designer introduced this line in 1968. In 1972, he began selling the top to women and children, who wore it when playing tennis and golf. The top featured an embroidered polo horse and rider above the pocket.

Golf Etiquette

Golf is considered a gentleman’s game and country clubs can be quite picky about what golfers wear. This shirt is the perfect top to don. It is ship-shape, tidy, appropriate and comfortable. 


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