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The best knitted polo shirts combine the most winning elements of two of the trustiest menswear staples already in your closet. The sweater, as you might know, is renowned for its uncanny ability to render its wearer supremely cozy without sacrificing an iota of respectability in the process. The polo, on the other hand, is a shirt that dads and dad-types have turned to on the weekends and on golf courses since the dawn of time.
Back in the days of goodfellas like Henry Hill, short-sleeve knitted polo shirts in lightweight fabrics (sometimes embellished with bold patterns) were a go-to. Thankfully, the style gods have brought them back right as a new wave of old man style is reaching a fever pitch. Whether you’re on your Don Draper tip, woefully posturing your way through country club life, or simply looking for something else to wear besides a graphic tee this spring, the best knitted polo shirts in the biz deliver in a big way. Here are 19 options worth familiarizing yourself with STAT.
The Best Knit Polos Shopping Guide
The Best Beginner Level Knit Polo
If you’re a little timid about diving into the texture-heavy deep end of the knit polo market, Abercrombie’s enormous selection of stylish, sub-$100 options can help you test the waters without breaking the bank. This particular option is not only easy on the wallet, but because it’s on the more minimal side—single color, buttonless design—its integration into your wardrobe doesn’t require a full style overhaul. And should you learn to the love the vibe, the resurgent mall brand has a stock room’s worth of attention-grabby options to help you double (or triple) down on the look down the line.
The Best Long-Sleeve Knit Polo
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: few garments are more handsome-inducing than a long-sleeve knit polo. Push up the sleeves, throw on a pair of chinos and loafers, and you’ve got yourself a look that can (and we’ve definitely said this before) take you from the boardroom to the bar and back again. This number from Todd Snyder also channels the right amount of ’50s wise guy by way of snazzy retro stripes, but isn’t so literal that’ll it’ll leave you looking like you just wandered off a Scorsese set.
The Best No-Frills Knit Polo
The core benefits of the knit polo are rather simple: comfort, style, and instant outfit-elevating powers. None do all three quite as well as this sea island cotton (code for “cloud-like soft”) version from John Smedley, a company that’s been in the knitwear game for a solid two centuries. The horizontal stripes are also a clean, subtle touch—the right amount of intrigue to make it stand out against a unstructured navy blazer—as well as a fine contender to replace your tech-age, sweat-wicking polos on the golf course.
The Best Zip-Up Knit Polo
So you’ve already (wisely) decided to separate yourself from the pique polo masses. Why not take it a step further by reaching for a polo that also ditches the traditional button placket in favor of a full-length zipper? Even better, this shirt comes from Japan’s somehow-still-flying-under-the-radar Beams Plus, a brand whose take on American prep is often more interesting than what we’ve got to offer stateside. Case in point? In addition to the aforementioned zipper, we also dig this polo’s unapologetically country-club-ready argyle pattern that’ll have you swaggering around like a modern day Arnold Palmer in no time.
The Best Designer Knit Polo
Ready to graduate to the top tier of the knit polo circuit? Grace Wales Bonner is one of the best captial-F fashion designers in the game right now, but you don’t need a degree from Central Saint Martins to appreciate the distinctly ’70s-esque vibes of her knit polo. For those who do want to get a little technical, this particular shirt is kind of a hybrid (traditional pique cotton body, bouncy knit collar, sleeve cuffs, and waistband), which only makes it all the more likely to become your go-to flex all season long. Wear it with chinos to the office, or, for the sartorial risk takers among us, toss it on with a pair of track pants to really embrace GWB’s unique mix of craft and sportswear-inspired comfort.
The Best Knit Polo That’s More Knit Than Polo
Should the words “cable knit” immediately conjure up pastel V-necks draped over some trust fund kid’s shoulders, we can’t say we blame you. But as J.Crew continues to prove, prep’s latest permutation is all about remixing stuffy classics for the modern age. This knit polo is a prime example: It still boasts the intricate swirling pattern that’ll help you clank glasses with the yacht club crowd, but a handsome, deep green hue for rubbing shoulders with the downtown cool kids, too. The full-placket design also lets you choose your own adventure with how to wear it—fully buttoned and tucked into a pair J.Crew’s buzzy Giant-Fit chinos, or worn open over a ribbed tank top with your most thrashed pair of jeans.
The Best Red Carpet-Ready Knit Polo
Want a polo with serious star power? Upstart London imprint Percival knows a thing or two about that—last year their “Impressionist” knit polo went gangbusters after Chris Evans showed up to The Gray Man premiere wearing the brand’s now-famous multi-hued style. They’ve since re-issued the Captain America special, but we’re also feeling their new crop of options, particularly this snazzy zig-zag number. (You know who else is? Adonis Creed himself.) The pattern evokes the groovy carpeting of some swanky ’60s crash pad, which, when combined with Hollywood’s current favorite shirt, mean it’s guaranteed to garner you the kind of double-takes usually reserved exclusively for A-listers.