The Enduring Appeal Of The Long-Sleeved Polo Shirt

With its unflashy character and perpetual flexibility, the long-sleeved polo shirt is the unsung hero in a man’s wardrobe. It’s certainly a garment that should lead the way during the gap in season and beyond.

Richard Gere and Lauren Hutton in American Gigolo, 1980, (Photo by Paramount Pictures/Album via Alamy)

It’s always been hard to fathom why the long-sleeved polo shirt - a ubiquitous item in a man’s wardrobe, gets such feeble coverage compared to its short-sleeved counterpart. “A jack of all-trades, master of none”, in clothing terms, is perhaps why publicly its recognition remains steady at best. Privately though, its peerless smart-casual credentials make it a fundamental wardrobe asset for many folks.

As we’ve all been hunkering down in our robes, slippers and heavy knits for what seems like an eternity, a long-sleeved polo feels like a natural step towards casual elegance. Its clean lines, and the addition of a collar give off a smart, refined feel while the softer material and slimmer cut ensures it never comes across as stuffy. It even has the ability to expose the physical attributes of a man's upper half, with a degree of masculine sensuality - as expressed by Richard Gere in American Gigolo, 1980.

As the advection of hot air travels from the Sahara to Europe, long-sleeved polos in more breathable fabrics such as linen and cotton, should be your port of call. Acclaimed menswear commentators have long eulogized over G. Inglese’s versions. Out of the traps early for the new season, Inglese’s assortment embraces the height of summer on the Riviera. Perfect to wear down to the beach, their horizontal stripe linen shirts, in either the Capri or JFK style, evokes the glamour of the striped bathing suits that men wore in the 1920s, which was magnificently captured by Robert Redford in The Great Gatsby, 1974. For a cool and laid-back appearance, wear any one of these shirts with a pair of cream linen reverse-pleated trousers from New & Lingwood, calf sandals from Álvaro, and accessorize with The Reference Library’s Serge sunglasses.


Freddie Anderson


March 2021


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