February 12, 2023

Wondering what to wear over a polo shirt? You’re not alone.

A polo shirt is an essential in every man’s wardrobe. Slightly more sophisticated than a T-Shirt, but just as comfy. 

The polo sits between a Tee and a dress shirt. It’s the perfect top, as it can be used to dress up or dress down depending on the event. Say you’re attending a more formal event, simply tuck your polo in. It works just as well at casual occasions. 

But what to wear over a polo shirt can be a little tricky. The collar can awkwardly stick out whilst undone buttons can make it feel ruffled and uncomfortable when layering. 

It certainly doesn’t suit every layer. So what layers should you avoid when wearing a polo? 

Let’s answer these questions now. 

What to wear over a polo shirt? 

The best thing to wear over a polo shirt is a bomber jacket, a Harrington or a blazer.

  • A bomber jacket: A lightweight casual jacket that goes with almost anything. It’s versatile, but brings that timeless style that you need. A bomber is an essential for every man, and layers perfectly with a button up polo. 
  • A Harrington jacket: a casual, cool, classic piece. It can be worn for all occasions, whether you’re old or young. Like a polo shirt, it fuses formal style with a laid back look. Its relaxed geometry is ideal for pairing with the polo shirt.
  • A Blazer: a blazer is a layer you can wear over a polo shirt, but there are a few things you must consider first. The polo shirt must be neat, with a strong structured collar that holds its shape under your jacket. Check yourself in the mirror and fix if your collar looks flimsy or starts to bunch. Of course, tuck your polo in as you’re wearing a smart jacket. Get this right, and a blazer is a perfect choice to wear over your polo shirt. It brings class and sophistication for more formal events. 

How do you layer a polo top?

There are other layers you can add to a polo top, the winter coat being one popular choice. 

Most decent coats or jackets are good to layer over your polo. They make for the perfect addition in colder weather, whilst not detracting from your great look. 

With nothing else underneath, this creates a stylish but minimalist image. Stay warm whilst adding only one additional layer to show off the polo underneath. 

Don’t wear a coat that is scruffy, torn or damaged on top of your polo. 

Can you wear a cardigan over a polo?

Can you wear a sweater or cardigan over a polo? Well, it depends on the event. 

If you are going to something more formal and need to add a layer, it can work. But in most instances, I would suggest skipping the polo under a sweater or cardigan. 

Why should you not wear a polo shirt under a sweater? It’s again all to do with the unstructured look of the collar. It looks messy and always a bit jarring. This goes for a crewneck sweater, cardigan sweater, v-neck, sweater vest, or other types of sweater. 

If you’re wearing a sweater, opt for a dress shirt. This creates a much sharper and more classy look. 

What to wear over a polo shirt

Can you wear a hoodie over a polo? 

I would avoid wearing a hoodie over a polo shirt. There is too much going on. The unstructured rolls of the hoodie don’t work with the unstructured collar of a button up. It is a clash of two worlds, class and relaxation. Try to avoid layering a hoodie over a polo top. 

There is one possible exception. Sometimes a zip up hoodie can work over a polo shirt. It gives the buttons and collar space to grab attention. Personally I would still avoid it, however I have seen it work on some men. 

Is it OK to tuck a polo into jeans?

If you are asking whether you can tuck a polo shirt into jeans or trousers, the answer is definitely yes! Tucking in your polo is a great opportunity to dress things up. It gives you a more formal look, with that edge of relaxation you don’t get from a dress shirt. 

Looking to dress things up? Tuck your polo in and layer a sports coat or blazer. Add a pair of loafers or leather lace ups. 

The tucked in look can feel a little tricky to pull off if you haven’t done it before. It’s key that your polo is the right fit. Too long or too baggy, it will ruin the look.

Can you tuck polo in

How should your polo fit?

It’s essential your polo fits well, especially if you are planning to tuck it in. 

You'll know if you have well-fitting polo shirts.A polo should not billow beneath the armpits or have loose rolls across the fabric. It should fall straight down your chest and body. 

Similarly the length shouldn’t be too long. It shouldn’t fall below the hip, instead it should sit no more than 2 inches below the waistband. This is absolutely crucial when looking for the best fitting polo, it should never hang too low or you risk ruining the whole look. 

The sleeve length should sit around the centre of your bicep. Go for a high quality polo when choosing to buy. It's a safe bet they'lllast longer and will look much sharper.

Men love oversized T-shirts. You should avoid this when buying a polo.

What trousers should you wear with a polo? 

What trousers you wear with a polo depends on the occasion. If you are dressing up and want a smarter feel, a pair of chinos will match well with your polo shirt. Tucking them in will give you a perfect smart casual silhouette. 

For a more casual look, pair with denim jeans. The look will be appropriate for almost every occasion.

What you should not wear with a polo?

Don’t wear an undershirt: A polo is a base layer and should sit alone. Fortunately a polo is also comfortable, so you don’t need to add an extra layer underneath.  

Don’t pop the collar: It goes without saying that you shouldn’t pop the collar. You’re not at school and it isn’t showing off. 

No big logo: I’d also recommend against wearing a polo with a massive logo. It looks corporate or like a school top. A plain polo is always a good option, but a small, simple and tasteful logo is also fine. 

Don’t clash stripes with a sports jacket: Striped polo shirts or ones with a loud pattern should not be worn with a smart jacket. They are too busy and will clash.  

Is an untucked polo unprofessional? 

Simply put, no. An untucked shirt is absolutely fine, even at work. It gives you a professional look that you don’t get from a regular T-shirt. 

To get a truly professional look, make sure your shirt is well fitted. If the material is too baggy or the top too long, it will look ill fitted and less professional. The collar should also hold its shape. If you see it collapse and rumple, make sure you fix it quickly. 

How many polos should I own?

Every man should own two to five polo shirts. They are a versatile essential that works at both casual and more formal occasions. 

You may wish to vary what style of polo shirts you own. You might have three short sleeve polos and two long sleeves. Two short sleeves might be plain, one might have stripes or a soft pattern. It's a good idea to have a few different colors, at least one white polo shirt and one light coloured or black polo.

How do you wear jewellery with a polo?

The most common jewellery to wear with a polo is a chain necklace. How you wear your jewellery with a polo depends on the image you are trying to create. 

Usually you’d wear a chain necklace under the polo. You can unbutton the top two buttons to reveal a bit of the chain, giving a more casual appearance but one that still has an edge of style. 

If you decide to wear a chain necklace over your polo, you’ll need to commit to the more urban infused street style look and do all the buttons up. The chain then sits under the collar, making it visible from the front. A more basic polo is best for this.

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