With Summer coming up, you have to find a way to shed the long sleeves. No where is that more difficult than in the office.
Your best bet is always going to be the polo shirt.
Short sleeve button ups always seem to lean towards either “Dwight Shrute” or “18 year old Urban Outfitters employee,” and t-shirts are only an option in the most casual of workplaces.
We’ve put together a list of what we consider the best polos for men, and to sweeten the deal, they’re all under $100.
Custom Slim Weathered Polo by Ralph Lauren
Let’s start with the classic. A favorite of young achievers and cookout dads everywhere, Ralph Lauren’s polo offers a very versatile line of business casual wear. While many people prefer the relaxed look for their colored shirts, that doesn’t fly in the fashion world. We chose this model because it combines a universal name brand with a modern cut. Offered in a wide array of colors, this (these) shirt(s) can play a major role in your closet this Summer. Pair it with khakis for the preppy look, or dark slacks for the serious professional.
Classic Twin Stripe Polo Shirt by Fred Perry
This iconic tennis shirt is one of the most adaptable article in your wardrobe. The brands status in the punk scene means that this shirt isn’t all business. From the cubicle to the club, this shirt can be as bold or as downplayed as you make it. It can be paired with work pants or jeans to fit whatever occasion you need. It may at times come off as slightly more casual than other polos, but any situation casual enough for a short sleeve shirt likely won’t care. Prices vary greatly across the internet, but we found a beautiful red one from Urban Outfitters that will set you back $85.
Men’s Classic Pique Polo Shirt by Lacoste
Lacoste does not enjoy the universal appeal of the previous two brands. Currently, it is firmly stuck in the prep market. However, this doesn’t make a difference if you’re looking for a work shirt. Less edgy than Fred Perry, and less fashion forward than Ralph Lauren, the Lacoste polo can still make an excellent casual Friday choice. They do offer a few slimmer cut options, but they hardly compare to either previous brand. Go with a basic, classic fit, and you’ll be happy this Summer.
Textured Cotton Tipped Polo by J.Crew
If you need something somewhere in between the Fred Perry and Lacoste, J.Crew has your back. The Tipped Polo from J.Crew features the familiar cuff and collar accents, but tones them down. For use as an acceptable work AND play shirt, the lined cuffs can’t be beat. At $49.50, the price can’t be beat either. If you need a budget version of the Fred Perry, this is a solid choice. Another plus to this shirt is the lack of branding. There’s nothing wrong with name brands, but often the name associated with the product is treated as more important than the product itself. There is no breast logo as is so common.
Muscle Polo With Polka Dot Print
Polos don’t have to strictly be office friendly. ASOS offers several street-fashion-esque options, including this Muscle Polo. It’s a very slip cut, meant to show off an athletic figure, and it features an all over pattern. Pattern shirts are very on trend, but they tend to be a little inappropriate for a traditional office setting. The modern cut doesn’t help either. So pick this incredibly affordable shirt up for the weekend. At $29, you could pick up a few from ASOS. Just be aware that everything from ASOS fits slim, and this will be even tighter. Consider sizing up. They have a great return policy if it doesn’t work out.
Slim Fit Supima® Cotton Performance Polo Shirt by Brooks Brothers
No mainstream brand says “business formal” like Brooks Brothers. They make fantastic suits from traditional to fashion forward. But I want to talk about their casual wear. The Performance Polo is made to last. It’s treated to resist every sign of aging. Now, they’ve made it with their extra soft Supima cotton. At $69.50, you won’t go broke on this one, but you’ll definitely get the high quality you expect of Brooks Brothers. Keep in mind that this is a Summer shirt. It’s light and thin; perfect for hot weather. But remember this will not be a year-round investment.
Premium Cotton Piqué Shirt by H&M
If you’re pressed for funds this season, consider something low budget from H&M. They offer a good selection of basic polos, which are good enough for any business casual event. They also offer a pretty sleek Fred Perry clone. Offered in an attractive burgundy, this shirt has everything but the logo. If brand is important to you, clones can be a little embarrassing. But if you just want the edgy look that a Fred Perry provides, pick one of these up for under $25. It may not last you past August, but you’ll look great until then.
Luxury-Touch Heathered Polo by Banana Republic
For a neat and professional look, sometimes a contrasting collar can do a lot. This polo from doesn’t go all the way to contrast (which we like better). In various colorways, the design uses a darker shade for the collar, giving a subtle two tone look. This is a budget option that you can be sure will last longer than an H&M or F21. Pick it up for just south of $50.