Best men's polo shirts that are not wildly pricey
December 21, 2016 2:38 PM   Subscribe

Looking for the best quality men's polo shirts that can be had in a size XL for a non-exorbitant ($35/under?) price.

Polo shirts are for a new biz-caz job, so professional looking is a must. It would be best if they're on the cheaper side of nice as said job-getter needs to basically get a new work wardrobe. We are not used to buying "the nicer things in life," so are not sure what to choose. Also if anyone has remarkable tips for keeping cheap (ish) polo shirts in good condition without shrinkage (this is the most common problem we're having), happy to hear them. I've looked a bit and it seems like cold wash, hang to dry is the sort of consensus, but if anyone who knows about laundry-doing can weigh in, that would be swell. If it's unreasonable to hope for $35/under, please let me know. Bonus points for links, Amazon Prime. Thanks very much!
posted by fairlynearlyready to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by sandmanwv at 2:46 PM on December 21, 2016 [4 favorites]

I just bought my husband this one in a test run for a similar wardrobe refresh. It's been through several cold wash/tumble low/hang immediately cycles and seems fine, though at that price I'd be satisfied with 3 seasons of wear.

I will say, I'm not sure if they run a smidge small or if my husband is running a smidge larger than he used to (he's around 6'2"/190lb(ish) and I feel like the Mediums he got are a little short, though they're not tight) but you might buy one or two first just to be sure before you commit to more.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:47 PM on December 21, 2016

Best answer: Lands End has polos on sale in your range right now.

Decent-quality shirts are cotton. Cotton shrinks. Hanging wet cotton knits to dry will stretch them out unattractively, though that may be less of a problem if the shirt is on the lighter side. It's preferable to tumble dry low. The temp of the wash should depend more on the color of the shirt (very bright or dark get cold, white gets hot, in between warm).
posted by praemunire at 2:50 PM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oops, actually, according to that link I bought him a Large and it's a little short.

In any case, you can wash all clothing in cold and tumble low and it will be perfectly clean, and last longer.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:55 PM on December 21, 2016

Probably still more than $35, but Brooks Brothers has a clearance happening right now. It might be worth checking out. I don't wear a lot of polos these days, but when I did, I found theirs to be a lot nicer than the cheaper ones (especially in terms of lasting through daily wear and washing).

One note on Lands' End is that I found their quality to go down quite a bit since Sears bought them. But I don't think I have any of their polos, so that might not apply. You might check out LL Bean too.
posted by primethyme at 3:02 PM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

I get the Target ones.
posted by rhizome at 3:14 PM on December 21, 2016

After trying lots of different brands, MrDrGail has settled on Nautica as his favorites and, good news, they're on sale right now well within your price range. They keep their shape well and wash nicely. FWIW, I'm too impatient to dry clothes on low heat so these have been in the dryer on high without noticeable shrinkage or fading.

If you want them to look good for a long time, I think choosing wisely is maybe more important than how they are washed/dried. All cotton shirts, especially in dark colors, will fade around the seams fairly quickly. Collars that are ribbed stay nice looking much longer than ones that are shirt material and seamed together (kind of like a dress shirt). Fabrics that are cotton/polyester blend don't pill, fade, or stretch/shrink nearly as badly as all cotton. Of course, they don't breathe as well in hot weather but the trade-off may be worth it.
posted by DrGail at 3:18 PM on December 21, 2016

We are fans of the St. John's Bay polos at J.C. Penney. Good quality/construction, lots of colors, very reasonably priced, and they've worn well with reasonable washing, a little tumble drying to get out the wrinkles and then finishing on a hanger. Their sizing seems to be a bit more generous as well, which sounds like it might be a plus for you.
posted by Work to Live at 5:25 PM on December 21, 2016

I trawl the thrift shops for things like this, if you have the time. It requires patience and sometimes takes a few visits for the gems to appear. Note that what the tag says "XL" is not always accurate.
posted by ovvl at 5:57 PM on December 21, 2016

Best answer: Uniqlo

Seconded but be real careful about the sizing. Uniqlo tends to run small and slim even with their new modified for America sizing.

I tend not to like pique polo shirts. I find they look shabby really fast. Jersey polo shirts look kind of shabby from the start. Instead I like newer technical fabrics but you have to be careful or you end up looking like golf bro.

I like Uniqlo dryfit in the Chicago summer because if I sweat it drys very fast.

For business casual I would also be very tempted to step up a level and get some nice buttoned short sleeved shirts in a linen or linen or like fabric. They tend to hold up better that polo shirts for me.
posted by srboisvert at 6:46 PM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

I used to have a bunch of Lands' End polos. They shrink like crazy.

I had some St. John's Bay ones, but the sizing varied from one to the next. I wear an XL, and some XLs were skin tight, while others hung to my knees. That has been my experience with Old Navy as well.

The only polo I wear with regularity now is from the Gap. I haven't looked at their prices recently, but I think they're still in your range.

What I would recommend, honestly, is just to buy them as cheap as you can (Target store brand, Old Navy or JCPenney sale), and replace them as they shrink. Because they will shrink. Don't think of them as a long term investment; think of them as essentially disposable.

One suggestion: if you can find them, go for rugby shirts. They look like polos but feel like sweatshirts. They don't seem to be widely available now, though, even at places like LL Bean that usually carry them.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:49 PM on December 21, 2016

I'm a fan of Port Authority Shirts. I prefer their Easy Care line. But they have plenty of Polo's, and while not Prime, they are available from Amazon.

Port Authority K420

Port Authority K510

Port Authority K520

Port Authority K525

Port Authority K540
posted by zinon at 7:54 PM on December 21, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you so much, everyone! All great answers, and I'll be investigating these more thoroughly before we purchase.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 10:00 PM on December 21, 2016

Best answer: On the topic of care, unbutton the shirts and flip the collars up before washing, cold wash no dryer, hang dry or sweater rack or whatever. Don't fold the collar back down until you put it on.
posted by rhizome at 11:56 PM on December 21, 2016

If you like a more technical fabric, these are super popular* and come in a nice variety of colors.

*self-link disclosure
posted by Jacob G at 5:24 AM on December 22, 2016

All my polos are LLBean--quality, heavy fabric that lasts a long time.
posted by pupsocket at 8:42 AM on December 22, 2016

I usually grab them from Target and I want to say they are about $15. Very often, they have sales on them. I wear them all the time and they last just fine.

Also, recommending the thrift store route. I was in a similar "wardrobe upgrade" a few years ago, and found plenty for $7 or less.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 2:46 PM on December 22, 2016

I've bought several Cubavera polos on Amazon and been really happy with them. Based on the reviews, I'm not the only one who feels that way.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:37 PM on December 22, 2016

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