Polo shirt defense: The classic fashion is here to stay

by Sarah Maizes /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY

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Don’t judge me, but I just bought my boyfriend a polo shirt.

I know what you’re thinking: A polo shirt? Why don’t you just have him tuck that into a pair of cargo shorts and declare all fashion sense dead?

RELATED: Why the polo shirt should be extinct

But I’m telling you, polo shirts are making a comeback. And if they’re not, I’ve decided I’m going to single-handedly make it happen.

Polo shirt defense
Matt Dillon in "The Flamingo Kid," 1984.Everett Collection

Aren’t we all a little reminiscent for the '80s? It was a gentler time when men weren’t afraid to wear pastels and the youth of America rebelled by popping their collars rather than dropping their waistlines to half-mast.

The whole “more is better” philosophy, which applied not only to hair height, but to the preppy layering of shirt upon shirt, sent the message that we were in complete control — if not over life, that at least over our own sweat glands. We were so wonderfully full of ourselves and blinded by our own hubris that you almost want to deny the recession. And it was kind of hot. Literally.

Polo shirt defense
Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay in "Risky Business," 1983. / Everett Collection

You have to admit, polo shirts look good on everyone. That clingy yet breathable cotton mesh lays close the chest and shoulders making everyone look like they could have played on the varsity tennis team. They’re like the male equivalent of leggings: fashionable, stylistically flexible and flattering to most body types. And no matter what, at least you always look like you are physically active.

Image: TENNIS-WTA-ATP-CHN
Novak Djokovic celebrates after beating Rafael Nadal in the men's singles final in Beijing on Oct. 11.AFP - Getty Images

Now let’s talk guns ... as in biceps (I’m an “arms girl”). No other short-sleeved shirt creates the illusion (or emphasizes the reality) of that adorable, swoon-inducing dip between the shoulder and upper arm. Just thinking about it makes me want my guy to put his arm around my back and open the door of his car for me.

Let’s face it, it’s the closest to James Bond your guy can look.

Maybe I’m just a prep at heart. I lobbied heavily for the revival of docksiders 10 years ago and now you can’t hit a strip mall without seeing a Sperry store. Lately, I’ve been looking for a eBay deal on Pappagallo bags.

Sean Connery
Sean Connery in "Dr. No," 1962. / Everett Collection

I’m not saying polo shirts are right for everyone and every occasion. Like any fashion statement, there’s a time and a place. But they’re surprisingly few and far between:

When does a polo shirt NOT work?

  • A wedding.
  • A funeral. Unless the deceased was a huge golfer, then it’s sort of an homage.

But that’s kind of it.

The point is, there are people who have it in for one of my favorite male wardrobe essentials and I can’t blindly stand by and watch it happen.

Elvis Presley
Even Elvis Presley wore polo shirts. How could you argue with The King? Elvis Presley in "Easy Come, Easy Go," 1967.Everett Collection

RELATED: In defense of cargo shorts, the dad-friendly fashion

I’ll defend my right to enjoy men in polo shirts (and cargo shorts for that matter) until the day I die.

Now if you want to judge my boyfriend’s fedora, that’s another story.

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