Is it appropriate to wear a polo shirt for dressy occasions?

Is it appropriate to wear a polo shirt for dressy occasions? How would a guy style them?

A polo shirt is like the button-down shirt's more casual cousin. It is usually more breathable and great for Singapore's humid climate. Originally associated with sports such as polo and tennis, it is now an everyday wardrobe staple, especially for men.

Despite the more laid-back vibe, polo shirts can work for dressier occasions and even to the office.

If you pair a dark polo shirt with a dark suit jacket and pants, in many ways, it mimics the look of a buttoned-up shirt without a tie. Take this look on Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine (photo 1), for example.

The black polo shirt and charcoal grey suit look put-together and sleek and would not look out of place at a workplace event.

You can also go more smart casual by pairing contrasting items, such as a white polo shirt with a navy jacket and chinos.

The look is a bit "country club", but the classic items ensure the outfit looks clean and sharp over all.

Polo shirts can also give a suited look a more sporty vibe. This look from Polo Ralph Lauren's spring/summer 2015 collection (photo 2) says it all. Put together with white pants and layered over a striped T-shirt, the navy polo shirt adds to the whole marine-chic vibe.

The faded denim blazer and sneakers are too casual for a dressy occasion, but if replaced with a solid navy blazer and brown loafers, the look could be dressy enough for a casual Friday or daytime soiree.

To sum up, it works like this - the more similar the shades of items paired together, the more uniform and formal you can make the polo shirt look. Paired with more contrasting items, the polo shirt's casual vibe is emphasised for smart casual events.

This article was first published on Dec 5, 2014.
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