As it goes, a new season is upon us and with it comes a new slew of trends — each of them vying for the top spot that off-the-shoulder tops occupied for the last three-or-so years. But this time around, an unlikely contender has found its way into the spotlight: the polo shirt. Albeit a full 180 from the cold-shoulder silhouette, the polo's resurgence has been a few years in the making: Chanelshowed an embellished polo style back in 2015, and Miu Miu and Stella McCartney both debuted their own versions for 2016 — but it looks like 2018 is the poised to be the collared top's breakout year.
And while it's hard to separate the polo shirt from its preppy, Americana roots thanks to storied brands like Lacoste and Ralph Lauren, it's the shirt's less-than-starchy revival that comes as the biggest surprise. This time around, labels like Marni, Koche, and Balenciaga debuted iterations in hues that ran the gamut from Nickelodeon green to robin's egg blue; Telfar showed an asymmetric version meant to be worn backwards; Maison Margiela designer John Galliano drew inspiration for his version from the playfulness of the matching set. Instead of petit piqué, designers often chose flimsier, more delicate fabrics like silk faille or layered mesh — which certainly makes the silhouette easier to stomach for those who prefer the femininity of something more dainty. (And much to the chagrin of former frat bros everywhere, there wasn't a triple-popped collar in sight.)
Still, the reason the polo shirt may be more of a trend than a mainstay is simply because it's not always easy to style: The key to looking less private-school-scholar and more capital-F-Fashion? Stay away from pairing yours with skinny jeans or anything that resembles a pleated skirt, lest you want to look like an early-aughts Paris Hilton. Instead, try wearing it layered atop a turtleneck from the same color family, then pair it with cropped wide-leg jeans or a voluminous, layered maxi dress. If the traditional silhouette feels too costume-y, look for more lightweight materials or ribbing, which gives any polo an updated feel.
Ahead, 15 wearable polo shirts that don't look a thing like the ones you wore in 2004.
Please note: Occasionally, we use affiliate links on our site. This in no way affects our editorial decision-making.
Never miss the latest fashion industry news. Sign up for the Fashionista daily newsletter.