Sunday, April 27, 2014

Reader question for the community: A Better Polo Shirt



Hello there,

First off, I love the blog, and thank you for sharing all that you have.

My question is in regards to polo shirts... What does The Daily Prep community recommend?
 I know Lacoste was long considered the gold standard, but, for me, they have been hit or miss in terms of quality construction and consistent sizing. Does the Daily Prep and/or its readers concur? Where might I find a better polo?



Can you please tell me why the Lacoste gator has all but disappeared? It was ubiquitous in the eighties, yet I have not seen it on any of the "preppy" blogs. Just curious.

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bill's Khakis Supima Pique'has been consistent for me. But I am open to other opinions.

Anonymous said...

Collared Greens. Best Polo I have worn and one of the only ones made in the USA.

Paul said...

Ralph Lauren. Best fit. The colors fade nicely. Wears nicely. Doesn't last forever, but for a very long time. Ages well.

darkirishtweedboy said...

I have long been a fan of the Lacoste polo shirt; my navy blue examples are 15 years old now and fading in nicely. I do agree that the latest ones aren't just as good. In recent years I have sourced most of my shirts (including polo shirts) from Ralph Lauren. I am also a big fan of Hackett and Sunspel, two British brands providing great quality casualwear which doesn't date quickly and stands up to hard use.

Joe said...

I am not sure what the issue is but Ralph Lauren Polo shirts just don't quite fit me right. I find they sort of "bellow" out around my waist but are overly tight around the arms. I've tried their 'custom fit' polos, as that fit is typically what I buy in oxfords from Ralph, but I still don't find they fit quite right.

That being said, I recently stumbled upon a great deal on a slightly used Burberry polo in their 'classic fit' and am amazed--hands down the best polo I've ever had the pleasure of wearing.

Though, I'm not one to drop $150 on a polo and don't think I'll find as good of a deal as I did on that one again--so I still with Vineyard Vines or J. Crew slim fit on most days.

Cubanchem said...

Polo still makes a decent shirt if you get the "Classic" fit. O'Connell's has an in-house polo which is very good. Classically proportioned. LL Bean makes shirts for giants, Lacoste is a mere shadow of it's former self. Basically, I stick with Polo and O'Connell's. Polo is probably the easiest to get and has the widest variety of colors, for both men and women.

mary anne said...

I still like Bean for these. Lauren is ok so are Vinyard Vines. Lacoste is also ok, but for the money, Bean is my go- to just size down.

Heather said...

My husband has worn mostly RL Polo shirts since I met him 20+ years ago. He still has ones that came into our marriage for backups at our cottage. A bit worn but delightfully broken in. I find the same brand to hold up very well for our 8 yo son.

LL bean is good but rather thick. For Pennsylvania, they can be warm in summer.

Althea said...

I'm ready for the sticks and stones to fly, but I'll say it--I like J. Crew polos, both the broken in and the classic pique. I especially like the long-sleeved classic pique. The price is good, the fit works for me, and, with proper laundering, they last.

Anonymous said...

J Press makes a nice polo, not too slim and not too baggy, no logo, and they always go on sale.

JT said...

Vastrm.com offers made to measure polos, especially great for folks that have a hard time finding off the rack sizes that fit.

Boston Bean said...

Lands' End and LL Bean are the real thing.. Both are cut for gentlemen, not for narcissists.

/the weekender! said...

Lacoste are still the best.

BlueTrain said...

Not a recommendation but I noticed that the polo shirts worn by space shuttle crew members, which are on display at the California Science Center, were from Land's End. The California Science Center has the space shuttle Endeavour and is across the street from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Anonymous said...

Honestly it is going to be dealers choice on this. A friend of mine, a friend of ours?, gets his at Old Navy. Price and quality are what he cites and his lack of faith in labels. I still buy Brooks, it's what Mom put in the drawers and I am sticking with it. A thousand colors and I have never worn one out.

Edward Appleby said...

I always bought RL Polo until I grew tired of their overpricing, and I developed a personal disdain for wearing exposed labels.

About ten years ago I bought several Eddie Bauer label-less polos that are still in great shape, but then EB added a goofy emblem (which they've since dropped, I believe).

My most recent purchases have been LL Bean, and they hold up nicely, and they offer a decent color selection for me.

Anonymous said...

Besides quality and cost my main concern is sleeve length. RL Polo and Lacoste I have tried on both had very short sleeves. They look fine on women, but on men look silly. I like sleeves that go almost down to my elbows. A company named "Southern Pointe" makes good one. Also Lands End.

Anonymous said...

I was a Lacoste wearer (bought my first one in 1958) throughout the 80s but stopped once they withdrew from their contract with Izod and, apparently from the US, as well. I then migrated to Ralph Lauren Polo and they are as nice as I remembered Lacoste to have been. I have already worn through (maybe "outgrown" better describes that) my first batch of Polos and am now in my second one-including a couple from college campus stores (my own alma mater and that of and my son's). In the 1990s, I also purchased some from Old Navy and still have them, although some of their colors aren't as subtle as Polo's

Patsy said...

I buy my husband J Crew Factory polos for about $10 for "everyday wear." It makes me cry to see the abuse he inflicts on the poor polos. We save the Brooks Brothers/Lacoste/RL/what have you for "dress up" where he can spill a better quality of stuff on them.

Anonymous said...

paul stuart polos are really nice quality and they offer contrast collars as well.

Anonymous said...

My husband wears his Ralph Lauren pools constantly and they hold up very well. The classic fit works nicely for him. Unlike Lacoste, they can go in the dryer with no problem!

I have accidentally put the Lacoste shirts in the dryer and they shrink horribly. However, I have found that if you wash them again, then stretch them out in both length and width while still wet, then hang to dry, they come out close to their original size.

Anonymous said...

I'm content with polo shirts from Jos. A. Bank and from Charles Tyrwhitt. But I don't claim to be fussy and I don't know whether other companies' polo shirts may be better or worse.

Pittsburgh Prep said...

Having purchased Polo shirts at all of the major players Brooks/RL/Jos. Banks/ Nautica etc., I have found the Lacoste shirt to the best by far, more comfortable than wearing a tee shirt and with a collar more formal. Nautica comes in second, their Polo shirts are thicker, and uncomfortable in the heat of summer. RL makes the nicest Polo's but quality and sizing are issues, especially for the $$$'s.

CPC said...

Polo RL, Vineyard Vines. Never full retail.

Randy Rutledge said...

I have only been wearing them for about a year, but I have had good luck with the Croft & Barrow classic Polo knit from Khol's. Purchased one or two and liked them so well that I purchased a dozen more. They come in a variety of colors, don't fade excessively and retain their shape.

They do have an online presence for those of you without a store. They are regularly on "sale" for $9.99 and using their credit card and other discounts you can purchase them for around $6.00.

Anonymous said...

RL Classic Fit. Just have to keep trying different shirts until you find one you like. Lacoste shirts are a little more "euro", i.e. they don't have tennis tails and the knit seems a little rougher. Don't psych yourself out of trying something because of the brand, or how it may be perceived, though. It's okay to NOT do things "by the book". Think of the Salem Witch Trials. Bible by the book, and look what happened there...

James said...

There are many good choices. For me, F.L. Woods' Marblehead Greens or Orvis fit well and are well made. For Summers in tropical Asia, I concur with Althea: While not anything near tailored, the J. Crew "Broken-In" polos are the right weight for high heat and humidity.

Anonymous said...

The Lacoste Polo shirts no longer have the long "tennis tail" that tucks way into one's trousers. RL Polo shirts still have this. It is a pity that Lacoste changed/cheapened their shirts.

Paul Connors said...

Brooks Bros. polo shirts wear well, fade nicely. I DO NOT RECOMMEND their 346 (outlet) shirts as they ARE NOT the same quality shirts as those sold in the REAL BB stores.

I found the Vineyard Vines shirts to be JUNK; don't waste your money. I have always stayed away from Ralph Lifshutz's (aka LAUREN)products because his men's clothing is grossly overpriced junk and I find many of the colors and patterns just too over the top. There is absolutely nothing Lauren sells that is worth the obscene amounts of money he charges and I am sure that he laughs all the way to the bank when he thinks of the junk he's peddled and that people have made him rich by buying.

Lacoste shirts can still be found at both their own company stores and other better retailers like Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom and Nieman Marcus to name a few. The pique knits do seem to shrink more than they did in the past.

I have almost ALL of the Brooks Bros. polo shirts in the huge variety of colors, including the new ones that come out each year. For the money, when compared to what Lacostes and POLO by RL cost, I believe they are a far better shirt for the money.

Greenfield said...

I cannot abide the "cap sleeves" that BB, Bean and most of the others now put on most women's polos--ICK. So I buy BB men's and size down. Perfect! They drape nicely, the sleeves come down to just above the elbow like the Lacoste women's did in the good old daze, and they're long enough so they don't ride up. Also, the fabrics are nice and heavy, they resist stains, and hold up in the wash.
I cannot STAND "clingy" polos!

Anonymous said...

After years of wearing RL polo shirts, my husband switched to Brooks Brothers factory outlet polos after we found them on sale for $25. We have both been pleased with the quality, durability, and fit of the polos and will continue to purchase them in the future.

Anonymous said...

I could be mistaken (or cynical), but I would guess that Lacoste isn't on so many preppy blogs because they don't do freebies or host blogger events. If they do, I will stand corrected.

Katahdin said...

@ Boston Bean
April 28, 2014 at 12:26 AM

LOL and ditto Lands End

Darryl said...

I used to swear by Eddie Bauer, however they changed the cut and quality several years ago and I gave up on them. I still have a few of the old style (sans logo) that I love to wear. Being a taller gentleman, I prefer the Bean "Double L" polos for overall fit. I typically do size down though, as they are cut rather generously. I have a few RL polos, I find the circumference of the sleeves to be a bit restricting as well as shorter than what I prefer. My Brooks Bros polos I feel have to be tucked in because they are so incredibly long. I'm not sure why they are cut this way, but even at 6'2" I believe they could be several inches shorter in the torso.

VV and Barbour are on my list to try this summer.

Anonymous said...

I still buy Fred Perry M1200 polo shirts. The quality is still good, and they seem to retain their shape after multiple washes.

Seadog said...

For a heavier weight, more durable polo, try
Duluth Trading. They have a three button placket
( a nice difference from the usual two ) and come
in a variety of colors and styles. The longer cut
is great for taller men. Oh, and only $29.00
before any sale or online offer.

Robin said...

Pendleton makes a nice Mens polo. There are usually one or two decent colors amongst the strange ones.

Anonymous said...

O'Connell's and Andover Shop. No logos. Always been good stuff. Call 'em up.

RDR said...

I have tried to get away from polos in recent years, but still on occasion wear Lacoste’s in either white or navy blue. I prefer long sleeve white linen nowadays. Kind of an Amish no-frills-can’t-go-wrong-wearing-this type approach.

The newer Made in Peru Lacostes tend to be too heavy and suffocating on humid days. I get my polos on eBay and stick with the older classic ones that were Made in France.

So many choices. Brooks Brothers, Paul Stuart, Polo, and Ben Silver all make acceptable polos so it’s a matter of personal choice. Of course, try to steer clear of retail prices.

The last LL Bean polo I purchased was industrial strength, but draped so shapelessly on my frame that I looked like I’d just escaped from a sauna.

scotmiss said...

LLBean and Lilly Pulitzer are the best I've found. I have some older BB that I still wear, but I don't find them as comfortable as Bean & Lilly. cheers!

Anonymous said...

St. John's Bay & RL pique polos....in that order.

SLC

Chris S. said...

I have yet to try one, but I would like to suggest Loggerhead Apparel to go along with Collared Greens. American made and not much more expensive then RL Polos, which I have worn for years and love.

j.mosby said...

Hi all! He's my two cents and my recommendation!
In the 80s I always loved the longer tail French made Lacoste originals, these are polo shirts before the IZOD takeover when that happen I started to gravitate to the new Ralph Lauren line of polos and still wear them still.
Recently I've purchased some Southern Tide polos with the Skipjack Tuna logo, you might have seen some of the guys on Bravo's "Southern Charm" program wearing them. The polos are a super soft longer tail soft pique cotton, and they remind me of the French made Lacoste polos of the past. They also have a very classic color palette to choose from. So if you want a nice change Southern Tide is my recommendation for this summer y'alll!

Anonymous said...

As a P.S. to my earlier message about migrating from Lacoste to Polo, after seeing one of the other correspondents mention Polo's sizing being an issue, I have always purchased my RL Polo shirts in XL size (and I always wore Lacoste's "Gran Patron" size) because they do shrink in the wash and I like mine a bit loose - not form fitting, especially on hot summer days. I was never concerned with sleeve length, either. RL's seem fine to me, but maybe some don't possibly because many of the more recent versions of those shirts do have longer, elbow length sleeves, which I find a bit baggy.

Evan Caledon Blake said...

I have to add in Banana Republic - some are logo-less but I don't mind a nice preppy elephant on my polos (harking back to when Banana Republic was branding itself as an american Holland & Holland). I don't know how they will look in 15 years as I have only been wearing them for about three; however they are baby soft, the colors are fantastic, they are just long enough to be tucked-in. Even the non-tailored ones have a nice trimness in the torso area. They way they are assembled; everything just lies exactly where it should (think - the feeling you have while slipping on a good suit jacket, variation-casual). My problem with Polo, Izod, Lacrosse, L.L. Bean, et al., is that the templates from which they are cut assume a person is shaped like a large bulky cube - I don't have a wine-gut to fill out all that extra fabric flopping around in-front of me.

Anonymous said...

My son is slim so he only wears Brooks Bros. slim or extra slim polos. They fit better and last forever. Most other polos are too baggy for him. Wait til they go on sale then stock up!

Flo said...

I no longer have a favorite. I used to swear by Izod Lacoste, but as others have stated, things changed after the breakup of the two companies, but they sure raised the prices on the Lacoste brand. My closet has a mix--Lacoste, Lands End, even Basic Edition from KMart--can honestly say that I don't favor one over the other, nor does my husband. And I miss the tennis tail! The only one I have with one that resembles the older models is a Tommy Hilfiger that I purchased at a thrift store. Unfortunately that is the only good thing about that shirt.

Anonymous said...

Another vote for Brooks Bros. I agree that Lacoste has gone weird in recent years - both in terms of consistent fit and quality. My Brooks Bros. polos, though, are fading nicely, always fit the same (they are indeed long, but at 6'5" I don't mind), and I have yet to wear one out. If you're patient you can often find deals on them - I seem to remember getting my last batch at 3 for $120.

The Wonder Of It All... said...

I'm all in for Southern Tide polos. Their offering is perhaps yet another of the Southern "fill in the blank" motifs that seem to be quite popular these days. Yet, I find their construction to be (ahem) accomodating and the cotton and put together of good quality.

Just my humble of opinion.

JSL said...

Ralph Lauren: too short and guaranteed to lose length even with cold, delicate washing cycles and line-drying. Yes, my torso is somewhat longer than average, but the shirt that fit me off the rack last year is now closer to fitting my niece, who is in kindergarten. Too bad, as the collar and sleeves are proportioned very well. I have learned my lesson and now stick to pique shirts only.

My polos that have held up the best and have not lost any length are all from Lacoste or J. Crew. I do have a few older Izod Lacoste shirts with tennis tails and a boxy cut, but the newer Lacostes fit me better and look tidier. They have a slimmer fit and a longer placket than I think most female readers might like, but they fit my shoulders and arms nicely without clinging around my waist. They are long enough to keep me covered and have not lost any length, even though I have not coddled them as I did the RL shirt. I've been lucky to find them discounted at least 50%, as otherwise I would not be able to afford them.

Finally, my J. Crew polo has pretty much all the same bells and whistles as a Lacoste, minus the reptile and the price tag. The sleeves are a bit smaller though, so ultimately I reach for the Lacoste shirts more often. The J.
Crew shirt is also closing in on 10 years old and I don't know what their current women's offerings look like.

Anonymous said...

As someone who is quite short and thin, I really like J Crew's "Slim Fit". Does it look traditional? Sort of. Does it look nice and pair well with a variety of things? Yes.

Darryl said...

Just a brief update in the event that someone digs through the archives. I've picked up two Vineyard Vines polos this summer and found that I'm in between sizes, the XXL is huge, the XL just a tad small. I tried on a Barbour polo at the Milford shop and they are cut EXTREMELY slim to the point it was unwearable. I've also purchased a couple Lacoste, one I absolutely love, it's become my favorite polo, the other, in the exact size, doesn't fit quite the same. Duck Head has been resurrected and are making their entire line in the USA, I plan to order one of theirs when they become available.

jason_m said...

I have had two Lacoste shirts go bad on me. My blue one faded and with the collar ligher than the body of the shirt. Just like a cheap shirt. A lightly colored long sleeve shirt called vintage wash, the cuffs were falling off. They both got those stupid holes in the corners of the placket, like cheap shirts. I believe they made three years. I have longer wearing shirts from $19.99 house brands. Customer service was unhelpfull. Never again, Lacoste.