The long sleeve polo shirt is an item that is never out of fashion, just more out of favour. There are periods where it’s considered a legitimate wardrobe essential, but then it quickly fades from vogue again.
In this respect it’s similar to the likes of the denim jacket and the Fair Isle knit – each of these pieces enjoys their ups and downs but are always in the picture, sartorially speaking.
Often underestimated, as a cold-weather and transitional tool the long-sleeved polo scores highly and it can be worked into your outfits in a number of ways. From a simple base layer to a knitwear replacement, today we showcase five distinct styling approaches, all of which exude a sense of timelessness.
The Long Sleeve Polo
The polo shirt is perhaps the perfect smart-casual piece. Its clean lines and the addition of a collar give off a smart, refined feel yet the softer material and cut ensure it never comes across as stuffy.
Able to be dressed up or down effortlessly dependent on the occasion, the modern style-conscious gent will almost certainly own a selection of classic, neutral polo shirts. Considered year-round staples, they look just as great in summer with shorts as they do dressed up with tweed trousers and a blazer during the colder months.
However, the long sleeve polo is arguably more versatile and appropriate during autumn/winter than its short-sleeved counterpart. Perfect for layering underneath knitwear, blazers or outerwear, the longer sleeves help retain warmth and allow the piece to be utilised as a standalone top layer during the transition into spring.
In terms of how one should fit? The answer is exactly the same as a short-sleeved version: cut slim through the body to create the sharp, clean lines you need to pair with more formal attire and end approximately halfway down the trouser fly (allowing it to be tucked in, if necessary).
Ways To Wear
There is no sure-fire way of knowing whether the polo shirts utilised within the layered looks below have short or long sleeves, yet we have included these outfits because the technique and aesthetic remains the same, no matter which style you opt for:
Look One: Casual Base Layer
As far as celluloid style inspiration goes, there aren’t too many films that can compete with the Richard Gere classic, American Gigolo.
Throughout the film, there is one particular outfit that illustrates exactly why the long sleeve polo deserves its place in any modern wardrobe: a simple denim and polo pairing that’s completely unfussy, suitably timeless and definitely worth incorporating into your own personal style.
Give this classic look a contemporary update by opting for slim-cut, charcoal wash jeans and rugged black boots.
Inject a vibrant splash of colour through the top – this teal version is bold enough to complement the darker colours present and really grabs the attention, without appearing out of place:
Look Two: Smart Base Layer
As previously mentioned, the long sleeved polo is an extremely versatile garment; this next look demonstrates this fully by styling ‘up’ the same teal version utilised within the outfit above.
This time, ditch the denim and boots for some navy tailored trousers and sleek brown leather Derbies.
Ideal for smart-casual gatherings, the major dilemma here is whether to tuck in the polo or not. Try styling both ways and seeing which you feel most comfortable with. A slim leather belt would make a great addition if you do choose to tuck.
There is no shame in taking the untucked route, either. If you have got the fit right, the lines will remain clean and the aesthetic just as refined.
Throwing a blazer over the top finishes this outfit off in a sophisticated way, while a cardigan makes a great alternative for those that want a slightly less structured take:
- Gucci Knitted Wool Polo Shirt
- Maison Martin Margiela Knitted Wool Cardigan
- Reiss Fairline T Wool Mix Formal Trousers Navy
- Asos Derby Shoes
Look Three: Knitwear Alternative
Not content with being just a base layer, the long sleeve polo makes an on point knitwear alternative. Take on board Will’s recent advice and revive your check shirt collection by layering a long sleeve polo over a gingham shirt and under a dark denim jacket.
Keep it classic with some pressed slim chinos and take a trend-led approach to your footwear – runners or hiking boots are both suitable options here.
Personalise your look with a carefully selected accessory or two – you can’t go wrong with a seasonal fitted beanie in a rugged cable knit:
- Nn.07 Lindh Check Cotton Oxford Shirt
- Allsaints Mode Merino Long Sleeved Polo
- J.crew Rinsed Denim Jacket
- Browns Cotton Twill Trousers
- Burton Navy Nepp Cable Beanie Hat
- New Balance X Herschel 710
Look Four: Smart-Casual Suiting
Skip the shirt and tie and dress down your tailoring with a long sleeve polo.
A khaki suit offers a nice alternative to classic cold-weather formal wear, as it is traditionally a spring/summer choice. Contrast the lighter hue with a dark polo for a look that will see you right the way through to spring/summer with just an alteration in fabric.
Pop a bold printed pocket square in the breast pocket for a touch of flair. Complete with some suitably casual but refined leather desert boots:
- Asos Polo Shirt With Long Sleeves
- Topman Sand Skinny Suit
- Reiss Poppy Poppy Print Pocket Square Russian Blue
- A.p.c. Leather Desert Boots
Look Five: Roll Neck Creative
The roll neck has really come to fore this AW13 – in terms of both popularity and exposure – after having spent the previous two years bubbling away on the fashion fringe.
One prevalent way of styling the roll neck, spotted across the high fashion runways this season, sees it being layered underneath a button-up shirt for a look that plays with traditional silhouettes.
Recreate this fashion forward aesthetic with a long sleeved polo for a more casual spin. Dress down the rest of the ensemble with some modern, slim cargos and sturdy brogue boots that feature a focal vibram sole:
- Topman Burgundy Roll Neck Jersey Top
- John Smedley Cotswold Merino Wool Polo Shirt
- Black Fleece Flannel Cargo Trousers 132248
- Bellfield Leather Wedge Brogue Boots
- Asos Polo Shirt With Long Sleeves
- Allsaints Sandringham Long Sleeved Polo
- Next Long Sleeve Polo Shirt
- Reiss Whitbourn Vintage Geo Jacquard Polo Knit Airforce Blue
- Easy Classic Long Sleeve Polo Top
- Burton Grey Long Sleeve Polo Shirt
- River Island Grey Marl Long Sleeve Polo Shirt
- Jeff Banks 24:7 Long Sleeve Polo Shirt
- Gucci Knitted Wool Polo Shirt
- Topman Black Leather Look Trim Polo Shirt
- Ben Sherman Classic Knitted Long Sleeve Polo
- He By Mango Polo Collar Silk Cotton-blend Sweater
- Topman Peter Werth Northdown Long Sleeved Knitted Polo Shirt
- Brioni Wool And Silk-blend Polo Top 181448
- He By Mango Washed Cotton Piqué Polo Shirt
The long sleeved polo is definitely a sleeping giant of menswear. A year-round staple that can be worn for a plethora of occasions and used in a number of different ways – from essential layering piece to standalone top layer – it makes a worthwhile addition to any capsule wardrobe.
But now we want to hear your view:
- Do you have a long sleeved polo in your wardrobe?
- If so, how do you style it?
- Do you prefer to dress your polos up or down?
- Have we convinced you to invest in this timeless wardrobe staple?
Let us know in the comments section below…