Woe to the polo shirt. Decades of casual Friday banality have drained the appeal of this one-time menswear staple, rendering it omnipresent yet forgotten. As an adherent of classic American style, I want to love the polo shirt, but it often seems so . . . bland. Leave it to Sid Mashburn, the missing link between menswear obsessives and regular guys, to design a polo shirt that’s finally worth getting excited over.
What I appreciate about the label’s short-sleeve polo in pima piqué cotton are its details. The deep placket features three buttons rather than the standard two, a subtly rakish touch that seems to signal I’m on my way to tennis doubles rather than running errands. A cut-and-sew collar supported by an actual collar band provides the structure needed to pair with my lightweight sport coats, and a front chest pocket where a reptile may appear on other variants has proven a useful place to stash sunglasses.
And then there’s the tennis tail. A throwback to The Official Preppy Handbook era, the shirt’s elongated hem ensures that once I’ve tucked it into my white jeans it stays in, providing the peace of mind that comes from knowing I won’t be fussing over it every time I lift my arms or tie my shoelaces. I’ve also appreciated its roomy-yet-not-sloppy fit and the spongey hand of the fabric itself, which has already softened after a handful of washes.
For someone who grew up in the era of skin-tight, logo-heavy polo shirts pushed by mall brands, Mashburn’s take feels fully adult without sliding into the suburban-dad-on-a-Costco-run side of the equation. In other words, it’s laid-back but effortlessly cool, and precisely what I want to wear on repeat this summer.