Polo shirts, or polo-style shirts, were around long before Ralph Lauren’s Polo brand became inextricably linked with the preppy style. Ralph Lauren’s brilliant marketing skills and well-chosen waspy Polo pony logo helped the shirt become forever associated with his clothing line, but the shirt formerly known as the golf shirt or tennis shirt was around for decades before we started calling them “Polos” in the ’70s.
Polo shirts are a staple of the preppy and yuppie wardrobe and are universally recognized as symbols of the casual upper-crust lifestyle. However, the massive popularity of Ralph Lauren’s Polo shirts and its strong tie to preppy fashions means that the logo may not be attractive to some. Certain people find the lifestyle associations of the brand to be a turn-off as they feel that the company is a bit pretentious and do not wish to be tied with the uppity nature of it. Conversely, others find the Polo logo too ubiquitous and feel that it has lost some of its exclusivity due to its mass recognition. The following 11 alternatives to Polo can help you find a traditional golf or tennis shirt with a logo that more closely suits your personal preferences.
Abercrombie & Fitch
The Abercrombie polo hits right around the same price point as the Ralph Lauren Polo shirt, but these shirts tend to be favored by the youth, giving them an alternative to the Polo logo that seems fresher. I do not advise wearing the Moose logo polo from Abercrombie after you turn 22.
Brooks Brothers’ high-quality polo-style shirts actually tend to cost a little less than those from Ralph Lauren’s Polo brand despite being of higher quality and more exclusive status. These shirts are typically worn by the more distinguished man who would rather be seen donning something more distinctive even when sporting casual duds.
Hollister’s flying seagull polo shirts are the most affordable of the list and are targeted at a much younger and sportier demographic. The Hollister polo-style shirt is geared toward teenagers and young adults and does not come with any of the pretense that is associated with many of the other brands on this list of alternatives to Polo.
LaCoste actually invented what we now call the “polo” shirt in most of the Western world. The crocodile on the shirt is known the world over as the logo of LaCoste and the shirts tend to evoke a slightly more worldly image than the very Americanized polo logo of Ralph Lauren’s brand.
This company occupies a unique place on this list of alternatives to the traditional Polo logo adorned shirt. The rest of the shirts on this list carry preppy or youthful connotations with their logos, but Le Tigre is free of those brand associations making it a solid and distinguished pick for just about anyone.
Penguin polo-style shirts do not exude the preppy image of many of the others on this list and tend to be favored by those seeking a non-preppy image while still donning the preppy staple. Also, who doesn’t love penguins?
Perlis, a small clothier out of New Orleans, sells its trademark Perlis crawfish logo polo to those looking for a little Louisiana pride with their polo-style shirt. The Perlis crawfish polo and the iconic Mardi Gras rugby polo have become staples in the wardrobes of well-dressed New Orleanians.
Of all the Polo alternatives on this list, this is certainly the most risqué. Plain Jane polos feature the silhouette of a female showing off her stuff, making this option one you might want to avoid on the golf course or when networking. The Plain Jane logo is also accentuated by embellishments under the collar, making this a bold statement piece for the fraternity bro looking to stand out.
The duck logo on the Southern Marsh polo-style shirt allows the wearer to show a bit of their sporting side, giving this alternative to the Ralph Lauren Polo logo a bit of southern charm. The prices are also very reasonable for such a preppy staple.
Southern Proper is yet another company with polo shirts catering to those from below the Mason-Dixon line. The black lab on the polo gives a very good ole boy feel, but without seeming Dukes of Hazard-like. These shirts are for the preppy southerner with a bit of sophistication and gentility.
The whale logo that adorns Vineyard Vines polo shirts is a very waspy expression indeed and it fits with the whole aesthetic of the brand and the lifestyle it sells to its customers. These are great shirts for those who love sailing and provide a way to show the love of the life when off of the boat or dock.
More from this contributor:
Men’s Fashion: The Affordable Cuff Link Collection
Sport Classic Style on College Game Day
The Fiat 500 by Gucci and 5 Other Designer Branded Cars