Think of the last time you saw someone wearing a polo shirt. Maybe it was today. Maybe it was yesterday. Chances are it was probably fairly recently, considering how popular they are. In fact, chances are you’re wearing one right now. Since polo shirts are often worn at work, during play, and at home, it’s only natural to wonder whether if they are professional or casual. After all, they’re worn in all sorts of environments. The fact of the matter is there is often quite an overlap between work and play, like when you decide to network on the golf course. But if the burning question is really bothering you and you want an answer, let’s dive right into it and address the question: are polo shirts professional or casual?
Before we jump into whether polo shirts are professional or casual, let’s talk about what a polo shirt is. The shirt received its name because it was used for playing sports, and later became associated with high-society sports, like golf and, of course, polo. People loved the look so much that they now wear polo shirts for everything. As such, there are different types of polos made in various styles and materials.
In general, a polo shirt is a cotton or cotton-blend shirt with a loose collar and three buttons at the neckline that can be left open or buttoned all the way up. There are men’s polo shirts, women’s polo shirts, and even kids’ polo shirts, and they come in a variety of colors.
Being able to monogram a shirt is ideal for anyone in the business of sales. An employee or business owner who wants to represent their brand while on service calls or when networking can benefit greatly from having their name or business’s name embroidered on their top. Polo shirts are sturdier than T-shirts and are pretty much the only type of top, besides sweatshirts or outerwear, that is strong enough to hold embroidery. Many people rely on their work polo for conferences and trade shows, as they know they can add an embroidered logo to help the attendees they meet remember the name of their brand and put a name to the face.
Besides being a must-have for your golf attire, polos have earned a top spot in the list of best women’s and men’s active tops. A polo shirt that’s actually made for sports instead of casual wear should have moisture-wicking and odor-fighting properties that keep it looking and smelling fresh. It should also be able to hold its shape and color no matter what you put it through. Active polos have the benefits of stretch fabric and vented hems to help you move comfortably. And their classic sportswear tailoring looks great enough to wear to a restaurant if golf runs into the dinnertime hour.
Although many people look forward to casual Fridays in the office, it can be difficult to meet an employer’s expectation of what “casual” is. If you want to make sure you don’t overdo it on the casual side, a polo shirt is a safe choice. A well-made polo shirt is able to do what a typical T-shirt cannot do: provide an approachable look that’s casual yet professional at the same time. Plus, it looks great tucked into a pair of women’s or men’s chinos. They’re also great wardrobe options for people who work from home, as they’re as comfortable as a T-shirt but professional enough to wear during virtual meetings.
If you’ve ever experienced the dilemma of being invited somewhere and not knowing whether to dress up or go casual, you know how daunting getting dressed can be. You don’t want to wear a men’s suit and show up to a group of people wearing jeans, for example. Conversely, you don’t want to show up in a T-shirt and jeans only to be met by a group of people wearing button-down dress shirts. Polo shirts are interesting in that they sort of meet in the middle when it comes to dress codes. You get the benefit of a collar and buttons as well as the comfort of a T-shirt. Polo shirts are the go-to wardrobe choice when you’re not sure what type of top to wear.
As you have probably gathered by now, polo shirts are both professional and casual, making them the quintessential wardrobe item that should be in everyone’s closet.