The shirt for all occasions

Polo shirts are the mainstay of the conservative and golfer alike. They're the lazy man’s formal wear, a get out of jail free card and they're not going anywhere.

In any number of restaurants or gathering places where attention to attire is required you’ll find the polo shirt.  It’s easy, it’s comfortable and while a shirt means work, the polo means the work is done and it’s time to relax.

Truth is we’ve all had one or two in the wardrobe and they’ve never hurt when the time came. Unfortunately the polo’s reputation as everyman’s reliable fall back does nothing for its street cred.

But a correct fitting polo can be cool, just avoid those long, tailed, over-sized things or those awful popped and printed collared numbers. Or any of the over worked and embellished variations.  Instead keep it clean and opt for stripes or French prep colours.  Keep the fit like a t-shirt - slim in the body and sleeves. 

Uber hip underground French label Kitsune has been honing its slim Euro-prep style for years and its latest offering is no different. Yet it is their ironic take that gives them the edge.  Look to them for tips on how to wear and how to develop that laconic French style.

I think a polo shirt looks best when taken just slightly out of its comfort zone. Introduce a slim fit version to a blazer of similar proportions and some black jeans.  Add pale suede shoes or desert boots to finish.  Try doing all the buttons up, if your style will allow, but definitely keep it as neat as possible. Don’t tuck it in, your fit should be suitably short and not too far over your waistband.

Yes, the polo does have a heavy workload on its hands, but that is why it’s so popular. From the hip to the hip-replaced it can do it all and do it well, when a little thought and consideration is given.

Style tip:  Kim Jones has been at the Dunhill helm for two seasons now which has resulted in some amazing contemporary gentlemen’s sportswear while still retaining the house ethos and ethic.  If you can get your hands on them, there have been some amazing polo shirts made as a result.

Do you throw on a polo because it’s easy and there are no questions asked? Or is it a genuine style piece you wear and use with aplomb?

This article The shirt for all occasions was originally published in The Age.