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5 Ways To Dress Up A Polo Shirt

Anyone you know most likely has a polo shirt. But, often, people only wear it casually and never consider wearing it on more dressy occasions. But you can dress up a polo shirt; you only need to know the right way to do it.

This post will list how you can ‘fancify’ a polo shirt. Thus, in any instance, you’re running out of ideas, you can rely on this clothing staple to pick up the slack.

Why The Polo Shirt? And Where Did It Begin?

The polo shirt is known for its sporty origins. It was created in the late 19th century for British colonial officers playing polo and stationed in India. To play the game, players must wear comfortable and practical attire since it’s fast-paced and done on horseback.

The earliest version of this shirt was a long-sleeved cotton or linen button-down shirt with a flip-up collar to protect the player’s neck from the sun’s harsh rays. There are buttons to fix the collar in place, and the long sleeves can be rolled up and secured with buttoned tabs to fasten them firmly while playing the game.

In the 1920s, the shirt transformed into what it is today through the inspiration of Lewis Lacey, an Argentinian polo player who collaborated with French tennis player Rene Lacoste. Lacey found the long sleeves too restrictive, and together, they found a way to make it more comfortable and practical.

Rene Lacoste designed a short-sleeved shirt with a buttoned placket and a slightly longer back hem to tuck into the players’ trousers. He used a breathable cotton fabric known as jersey petit piqué.

During the 1950s and 1960s, polo shirts surged in popularity and became attached to polo and tennis players and golfers. They became associated with a preppy and casual aesthetic and symbol of relaxed sophistication.

Today durable women’s polo shirts for outdoor activities double as attire for a date night and even semi-formal events. Some wear it on more dressy occasions like a wedding.

Here are the ways you can dress up a polo shirt:

Pair It With Chinos

Pairing a polo shirt with chinos will help you achieve a smart casual look that’s refined and relaxed. To accomplish this, you must:

  • Choose a well-fitted polo shirt in a solid color for a clean and polished look.
  • Select chinos in neutral tones like beige, gray, or black.

You can tuck or untuck, depending on the occasion.

Your goal is to create a polished look, so simplicity is the key. And once you go out in the street, your confidence should shine.

Layer It With A Blazer

If you want to add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your look, don a blazer on top of your polo shirt. You can wear this on semi-formal or formal occasions. The key to doing this successfully is by paying attention to proportions. The polo shirt should have a slimmer fit and shorter length than the blazer to create a sleek and balanced look.

In addition, the polo shirt’s collar should sit comfortably under the blazer’s lapels. It’d help if you pressed the collar of your polo shirt firmly to avoid any awkward bulges or folds.

Wear It With Tailored Shorts

During the warmer months, when smart-casual events abound, you may wear your polo shirt with tailored shorts. Pairing the two together creates a stylish and comfortable option you can effortlessly pull off.

It’s best to look for well-tailored shorts that hit just above the knee or slightly higher. Chino and linen shorts are always best to pair with polo shirts. Choose appropriate classic colors and make sure everything fits well. Finally, pair it with the proper footwear, such as clean white sneakers, soft loafers, or boat shoes in neutral colors.

Add A Sweater

During the colder months, you may layer your polo shirt with a lightweight sweater. You may choose a complementary color to pull off this look, or you may also choose contrasting colors to add visual interest.

When you layer the sweater over your polo shirt, ensure the collar remains visible, adding a stylish contrast to your look. While your polo shirt should have a slim or regular fit, your sweater can be loose or relaxed. Just remember to make the overall look feel polished. Adding a classic wristwatch or elegant belt will complete the sophisticated look you wish to achieve.


A polo shirt might be too simple, but you can elevate it by adding a few well-thought-out accessories. To enhance your polo shirt ensemble, you may consider adding the following:

  • A classic wristwatch – Choose a style that’d complement the entire look. Whether it’s a sleek minimalist piece or a bold statement watch, it’ll surely add a touch of sophistication and functionality to your overall attire.
  • Stylish belt – A classic belt won‘t just keep your pants in place but will also make you look polished and refined. You can match the color with your shoes for a coordinated look or opt for a contrasting color for that pop of visual interest and modern vibe.
  • Sunglasses – During sunny days or an outdoor occasion, a stylish pair of sunglasses will create that visual impact while at the same time protecting your eyes. Choose one that complements the overall color palette of your entire outfit.
  • Hat – The best hats to pair with a polo shirt ensemble would be a fedora, a bucket hat, or a casual baseball cap. But a wide-brimmed straw hat would also do the trick if you’re in a tropical location.
  • Scarf – Layer a scarf on your polo shirt to pull off an elevated appearance in cooler weather. The type of scarf would pretty much dictate the final look. A cotton or linen scarf will create a casual look, while a cashmere or wool scarf will give you a more refined and elegant vibe.
  • Bag – Carrying a suitable bag for the occasion will complement your outfit. You may choose a leather messenger bag, a canvas tote, or a sleek briefcase to add function and sophistication. Girls can pair it with any arm candy they prefer if it makes the entire look cohesive and as long as it doesn’t stray away from the polished and refined elegance that a polo shirt ensemble brings.

Remember that the accessories you choose must match your style and the occasion. When accessorizing, note that less is more, and those you choose shouldn’t detract from the overall aesthetic of your outfit.

Final Thoughts

With all the ways presented here on how to dress up your polo shirt, hopefully, you’ve discovered the many potentials of this versatile and underrated piece of clothing. So don’t hesitate to experiment and let your polo shirt become crucial in your fashion ensemble. Even in its simplicity, you can exude confidence and style with a polo shirt dressed appropriately.