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What happens when a 1970s menswear revival meets a craze for dad dressing at the same time sportswear is trending hard? You get the return of the polo shirt. This is excellent news, even you don’t fit into any of the aforementioned categories, because it’s the go-anywhere halfway house between a collared shirt and a T-shirt, at once smart enough to wear with a suit and casual enough to slip on with shorts.
The problem is that up until now they just haven’t felt particularly sexy, with strong overtones of school tennis class. They’ve felt functional rather than fun. But now is the time to rediscover them. Polo shirts are booming this season, adopted by a multitude of different style tribes and interpreted by a hugely diverse selection of designers.
Right now you’ll find polos on the market that are more versatile and exciting than ever: larger-than-life collars, zingy patterns and pastels that wouldn’t look out of place on Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name.
In short, polos for 2020 are about as far from your PE lessons as possible – and should be worn as such. Slip a bold logoed model under your best tracksuit, flip one of those big collars over the lapels of your suit, dress it up with a pair of loose slacks and loafers, unbutton all the way and let your gold chain shine bright in the sun.
When it comes to her seasonal collections, Vivienne Westwood is known for her outlandish and rebellious designs that riff on the punk era she became known for. That said, this polo shirt proves that the designer can do both the wacky and the ordinary. $182 at viviennewestwood.com
Fred Perry x Margaret Howell
Sitting as part of Fred Perry's hook-up with Margaret Howell, this polo shirt is reminiscent of the kind of gear we wore for our cricket lessons on a Wednesday afternoon at secondary school (although we wish ours had embroidered laurel wreaths on the breast). $117 at fredperry.com
Polo Ralph Lauren
The most iconic polo shirt to have graced any man or woman's wardrobe, this polo shirt is a must-have. Released in 1972 in 24 colours, it has stood the test of time and is as popular now as it was then. $129 at ralphlauren.co.uk
When in doubt, look to Brunello Cucinelli for the softest day-to-day polo shirts you'd ever need. $482 at matchesfashion.com
Featuring Paul Smith's logo detailing, this polo shirt is one of the more out there designs on this list. $280 at paulsmith.com
René Lacoste founded La Chemise Lacoste in 1933 with André Gillier and the pair started to design their famous tennis shirts. Today, they're emblematic of how sportswear has trickled into the wardrobes of those who don't even own a pair of trainers. $104 at lacoste.com
If you've been inspired by the extremely wearable Autumn/Winter 2020 collection of Miuccia Prada, then grab this polo shirt while you can for a high fashion take on a wardrobe staple. $540 at prada.com
Bold and fun, this polo shirt takes the ordinary and gives it some life, as you'd expect from Alessandro Michele. $638 at gucci.com
Dolce & Gabbana
If there's one brand that does logomania better than any other, it's Dolce & Gabbana. Case in point, wearing this polo shirt will tell your friends exactly where you've been shopping. $262 at dolcegabbana.com
Parisian brand Sandro is our go-to for wardrobe staples that will look good season after season. $156 at selfridges.com
This polo shirt features the Dior bee emblem and is more than good enough to wear under a suit jacket to your next party. $482 at dior.com
Hackett has collaborated with Aston Martin and the result is this ultra-sporty polo shirt. $150 at hackett.com
Simple yet interesting, this polo shirt will more than impress your mates. $625 at flannels.com
Featuring Riccardo Tisci's own riff on the traditional Burberry camel, black, white and red colour palette is this polo shirt from Britain's best design house. $455 at matchesfashion.com