Polo shirts have become a staple item in any man's wardrobe. They're versatile, comfortable, and look great on most guys. But when it comes to which brands you should buy, there's only one choice: Ralph Lauren polo shirts for men.
Let's face it – Ralph Lauren isn't cheap. So why should you invest in a Ralph Lauren polo over a bargain basement knock-off? You're just paying for the logo on the front, right?
Wrong. The Ralph Lauren Polo is a style icon worldwide – and for a good reason. In today's article, I'm breaking out what makes Ralph Lauren my go-to polo shirt of choice.
We'll be covering:
- The History Of Ralph Lauren Polo Shirts
- Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt Designs
- Are Ralph Lauren Polos Worth The Price?
- How To Style A Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt
#1 The History Of Ralph Lauren Polo Shirts
Ralph Lauren first released his polo shirt design in 1972 – it was an instant success.
The shirt was released in Ralph Lauren's flagship store on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California, and was designed for the wealthy and successful man who wanted to look his best.
The Ralph Lauren Polo shirt was successful because it was a high-quality shirt made of 100% cotton and featured a classic holding design – perfect for the wealthy man who wanted to look professional, modern, and stylish.
It quickly became a staple in the wardrobes of Hollywood's elite and was seen on the likes of Robert Redford, Paul Newman, and Clint Eastwood. In fact, the Ralph Lauren polo shirt can be seen in many of Hollywood's greatest movies, such as The Great Gatsby and Wall Street.
In the 1980s, Ralph Lauren released a line of Polo shirts designed for the more casual man. These shirts featured a more relaxed fit and were made of cotton and polyester.
This line of Polo shirts was very popular with preppy men who wanted a shirt that they could wear both on and off the golf course.
At just over the $100 mark, many consider the Ralph Lauren polo an ‘affordable luxury' within reach of everyday men and women.
#2 Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt Designs
Ralph Lauren polo shirts come in many different designs.
Since its release in 1972, the Ralph Lauren polo shirt has gone through many evolutions and transformations to suit the changing needs of athletes and stylish men alike. In fact, the massive variety in colors, patterns, and materials means that there are hundreds of options for guys looking to invest in their next polo shirt.
However, for the sake of this guide to Ralph Lauren polo shirts for men, we'll be breaking out the three main fits and the two main fabrics available in 2022.
Ralph Lauren's original fit is the loosest of the three and is a bit dated. The shirt has a wide boxy body with long sleeves that are almost elbow length. This fit is only suitable if you are pretty out of shape or so muscular that you need the wide boxy fit and broader arms.
As a result of the excess material of this fit, tucking the shirt in is not advisable – you'll end up looking far larger than you are as the fabric will puff out and emphasize the size of your torso.
A better option is to use the “half-tuck” method, which will help decrease the length of the polo shirt without creating that ‘mushroom' aesthetic.
Ralph Lauren's original fit is probably not the best choice for your next big presentation or a hot date. However, if you're hanging out with friends or doing yard work, it'll do the job just fine. After all, with the classic fit comes comfort, which can be a significant benefit in many situations.
Custom Slim Fit
The custom slim fit is the way to go when it comes to Ralph Lauren polo shirts for men.
It's slimmer and shorter through the body, with a shorter arm length – perfect for showing off those biceps.
Compared to the Classic fit, the same size is 1.5″ trimmer in the body, 1.5″ shorter in length, and has a shorter modern sleeve length.
The best part about the custom slim fit is that you can wear it tucked in, untucked, or half-tucked – allowing you to dress it up or down, depending on the occasion. Just keep in mind that this fit shows your body a bit more, so it's generally best to stick to darker colors.
Wear this style of Ralph Lauren Polo on a first date or under some high-quality tailoring. The slimmer silhouette will show that you take care of yourself without making you appear as though you're trying too hard with ‘skin tight' clothing. The Custom Slim Fit still maintains some boxiness in the mid-section of the torso, leaving space for movement and not making you look like you're wearing a wet suit!
The custom slim fit is great for guys with a bit of extra weight around the middle – it'll help you slim up and make you look more attractive so long as you stick to darker colors and buy a polo shirt that fits you properly!
Ralph Lauren's slim-fit polo shirt is perfect for skinny guys who struggle to look good in boxy clothing.
The slim fit design is 1.5″ trimmer in the body than the custom slim fit and 0.5″ shorter, so it will complement a slender frame and avoid that unfortunate ‘looks like he's wearing a tent' aesthetic.
Just make sure you wear skinny jeans with this shirt, as anything else will look too baggy compared to the slim cut of the polo.
I advise avoiding this cut at all costs if you have a muscular or chunkier physique. A slim fit on a larger man shows off every lump and bump and makes you look like you're wearing children's clothing.
The Ralph Lauren polo shirt for men lives up to the quality standards we've come to expect from the brand. This shirt comes in two fabric options: cotton Mesh and Interlock.
Both options are made from cotton (obviously!), but there are some differences between them:
- Cotton Mesh is the original fabric for the Polo shirt. It's designed using pique knit, meaning that the material is textured and has a little give. This makes it more comfortable to wear, especially in hot weather.
- Cotton Interlock is a newer option that feels lighter and smoother to the touch. As a result of the more lightweight material, a cotton interlock is often seen as the dressier option and is more likely to be worn on formal occasions.
So, which one should you choose? If you're looking for a Ralph Lauren Polo shirt to wear to a casual event, go for Cotton Mesh. Opt for the interlock material if you want a shirt that looks slightly nicer and might even be suitable for work.
In my opinion, Cotton Interlock is the better choice overall when compared to Cotton Mesh because it is more comfortable and has a nicer feel to it.
Plus, it's easier to care for – you can machine wash it and tumble dry it without any problems.
#3 Are Ralph Lauren Polo Shirts Worth The Price?
Ralph Lauren is a name that is synonymous with high-quality, preppy clothing. And their Polo shirts are a great example of that style reputation.
But with a price tag that often exceeds $100, some might wonder if they are worth the money. So, what sets Ralph Lauren polos apart from the dozens of other brands on the market?
For starters, Ralph Lauren uses higher-end materials in their garments, such as cotton piqué fabric that is both breathable and comfortable. Piqué cotton is a type of knit fabric that is textured and has a bit of stretch, making it more comfortable to wear than other types of cotton. You'll find this cotton style on more luxury clothing as it is more expensive to produce.
Ralph Lauren also takes the time to finish their garments properly. Many Ralph Lauren polo shirts are hand-finished, which makes the shirt more durable and less likely to rip or tear.
Additionally, their polos are expertly crafted, with intricate details like embroidered logos (rather than the cheaper printed logos), which look more expensive and show a higher quality point.
Their timeless style can be dressed up or down, making them a versatile addition to any man's wardrobe. Sure, the same can be said about many different brands of polo shirts, but none are as recognizable and iconic as the classic polo-horse logo of RL.
So yes, Ralph Lauren Polo shirts are definitely worth the price. After all, you get what you pay for.
#4 How To Style A Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt
Polo shirts are incredibly versatile. You've just got to know what you're doing and how to correctly style the garment to suit your style and circumstances.
Wearing A Polo Shirt And A Suit
You can dress a polo shirt up or down to suit any occasion. When worn with a suit, there are a few style rules to follow to achieve a polished look.
- First, you should neatly tuck the polo shirt into the pants. This helps to create a clean line and prevent the shirt from looking bulky.
- Second, the polo shirt should be a solid color that coordinates with the suit. A light blue polo shirt looks great with a navy suit, while you can wear a white polo shirt with any color suit.
- Third, you should wear formal shoes with a polo shirt and suit. Sneakers may be acceptable in some casual settings, but they will not give the same level of polish as a nice pair of dress shoes.
By following these simple style rules, you can easily wear a polo shirt as part of a stylish and sophisticated suit ensemble.
Wearing A Polo Shirt With Chinos
Polo shirts are a wardrobe staple for men of all ages, but what are the style rules for wearing a polo shirt in a smart-casual setting? How can you style a polo shirt with chinos to create the perfect outfit? And should you tuck in your polo shirt when wearing it with chinos?
First, let's start with the basics. The key to nailing the smart-casual look is to avoid anything too casual or too formal.
So, steer clear of Ralph Lauren polo shirts with big polo player logos or striking patterns. Instead, opt for a classic style in a neutral color. Black, white, and navy are all excellent choices.
When styling your Ralph Lauren polo shirt, there are two key things to keep in mind. First, make sure the polo shirt fits well. It should be slim-fitting but not too tight. Second, tuck in your polo shirt when wearing it with chinos. This will create a more polished look.
Finally, complete the outfit with a pair of smart-casual shoes. Brogues are always a good choice, or you could opt for loafers or desert boots. Just make sure your shoes are clean and well-maintained.
You could always wear a blazer with your polo shirt and chinos in the colder months. Just make sure that the blazer is well-tailored and color-matched to the rest of your outfit.
Wearing A Polo Shirt With Jeans
If you're looking for a casual yet stylish outfit, you can't go wrong with a polo shirt and jeans. But you should follow a few style rules to ensure you look relaxed and casual, not sloppy.
- First, make sure your polo shirt is half-tucked into your jeans. This will help define your waist and prevent your polo from getting bunched up when you sit down. A half tuck is when you push the front portion of your shirt into the front of your pants while leaving the remainder of the shirt untucked at the back.
- Second, choose a polo shirt that is either solid in color or has a simple pattern. A polo with a busy print can look too busy when paired with jeans – your outfit should look well balanced, and a bright/bold design can easily throw that off.
- Third, choose sneakers or loafers as your footwear. Sandals look far too casual, while dress shoes will make your outfit look too dressed up.
And finally, don't forget to accessorize! A watch or bracelet can add just the right finishing touch to your polo shirt and jeans outfit. The key is to make your outfit look effortless and stylish – so keeping it clean and straightforward is the way forward.
Wearing A Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt With Sweat Pants
Can you wear a polo shirt with sweat pants? The answer is yes, but should you?
Designers usually make their polo shirts from cotton or a cotton blend. Typically, guys wear them as casual wear or as part of a uniform.
Sweatpants are usually loose-fitting and typically made from a synthetic fabric like polyester. They are often worn for exercise or as loungewear.
So, can you wear a polo shirt with sweatpants despite these contrasts? Sure – but it may not be the best idea.
Polo shirts are usually tailored to fit well around the shoulders and chest, so they may be too tight to wear comfortably with sweatpants. Additionally, while Ralph Lauren polo shirts are designed to manage small amounts of sweat, they may not wick away as much sweat as other types of exercise shirts.
So, if you're planning on doing any strenuous activity in your sweatpants, it's probably best to leave the polo shirt at home and instead opt for an exercise t-shirt designed for the gym.
Looking for other men's style icons to pair with your Ralph Lauren Polo? Look no further than my guide to men's Levi jeans.
Is Ralph Lauren worth the money?
Yes. Although you might pay a bit more for a Ralph Lauren polo shirt, what you gain in quality and style far outweighs the extra cost you have to pay. Ralph Lauren uses superior materials, designs and cuts to make their polos stand out from the crowd.
Do Ralph Lauren polo shirts come in different fits?
Yes - you can find Ralph Lauren polos in many different fits and styles. However, the 3 main fits are Classic, Custom Slim and Slim. For most men, Custom Slim is the best option as it provides a great balance between a close fit and comfort.
Can I wear a Ralph Lauren polo with a suit?
Absolutely - you just need top be careful and follow the basic rules I've outlined above. Don't be afraid to experiment and find the perfect style that suits you and your tastes.