Alright guys, I know it’s been a minute but I’m finally back with my comparison posts. If you guys haven’t caught the ones prior, this is where I go out and spend a stupid amount of money on one type of clothing in order to find where the sweet spot lies in terms of price vs quality. I really enjoy putting these together and reading/replying to all the comments so hoping the response is the same as the previous posts.. Hopefully you guys enjoy this one just as much as the and ones I did a while back.
The next item I’m thinking about doing are hoodies. I have a Saint Laurent one for the luxury option, an Asket and John Elliott one for the $100-200 price point but need some more that you guys swear by. Feel free to drop your favs in the comments to help out with the next edition of this! Going to narrow it down to the top 5-6.
As always, 90% of the info is here but if you want to see a with more shots of the shirts, I’ve linked the 14 minute video here. None of that typical in your face type content but some quality stuff that takes a bit to produce but is totally worth it. The joggers and t-shirts ones are also in the library somewhere so feel free to check those out.
I’ve worn polos literally my entire life. It’s what my parents dressed me in when I was a child. I love that they’re simple yet timeless and a classy alternative to normal tees while being just as laid back. When it gets as hot as it does in Texas, polos have been a great way to put more effort into an outfit while still staying cool.
For this head to head, I’ve included only pique polos since they’re the most common. Pique is that woven, waffle textured material known for its breathability and flexibility. I’ve selected this range by browsing blogs, Reddit posts, other YouTube videos and fashion magazines and then narrowed it down to the most popular ones. If there are some you really like that I didn’t include, leave them in the comments and I’ll look into them for a potential part 2.
My ideal polo is one that gets 4 things right: fit, fabric, collar, and overall construction.
For fit I want it to drapes well, hugs the arms and is fitted in the chest but is leaves room around the stomach. I’m looking for the sleeves to end mid bicep and the length to hit mid crotch. A split hem is an added bonus since I have larger thighs. In terms of quality, I look for a solid, structured collar and attention to detail throughout.
For reference, I’m 5’10”, 175-180 lbs. These are all a small or medium. I went off the measurements on the size charts.
We’ll start with the cheapest and work our way up. Uniqlo Dry Pique Short Sleeve Polo Shirt came in right around $20 and I honestly don’t have many complaints at this price point.
* I went true to size with medium. It was one of the most relaxed of the bunch when it comes to fit which results in longer than ideal sleeve lengths. The shoulder and length are perfect but I do have a bit of extra fabric around my underarms which results in the chest not being as fitted as I prefer.
* There’s not much to talk about regarding the fabric. It’s nothing special but gets the job done. The pique fabric weave is on the tighter end resulting in less texture and stretch but a smoother feel.
* The single layer collar on this shirt is on the flimsy end and looks to be made of the same ribbed material as the cuffs. The placket is nice and deep and the plastic buttons are expected at this price point. I like the split hem and the ribbed cuffs. Uniqlo sells it in 9 colors at the moment but they rotate the options frequently.
* Although it’s not my favorite, I’ve been wearing this quite a lot as it’s different to every other polo I own. I’ve been really into oversized tees recently and I think that may play a part in me wearing this one more frequently. It’s looser fit creates a nice contrast when paired with some slimmer bottoms and sneakers. According to the reviews under the polo on their website, Uniqlo seems to tweak these yearly so I’m not sure how long this info will be true. Overall, it’s a great polo for $20 but might not look as tailored and polished as most guys would want a polo to look.
# Kent Wang
I had no idea about this brand until I saw a post on a subreddit on this while doing research for the vid. I got my hands on this white one in a size medium that goes for $65.
* Kent Wang claims these to be very slim fit, saying it’s even slimmer than Zara and Ralph Lauren’s custom fit. Reading this, I ordered a medium and a large so I could compare the two. Although the polo was on the slimmer end of the spectrum, it wasn’t by too much in my opinion. The top fit like a normal custom fit but the stomach was slimmer than the rest. The large was a bit too baggy for my liking but the medium was just about right. The sleeves land right where I want them and the chest is perfect. The stomach area leaves ***just*** enough room for me but it’s cutting it close. If it were any slimmer and I think it would be too tight for my liking. The length was longer than the rest causing some slight bunching around the waist.
* It’s not fair to call this fabric stiff by any means but let’s say it’s the most structured of the batch. That being said, it’s still that normal pique fabric so it feels similar to what you would expect it to. The weave isn’t too tight or too loose, and felt comparable to Ralph Lauren.
* The highlight of this polo has to be the collar. It is constructed with the same material as the rest of the polo. Made of a collar band and two layers fabric, I found this to be much stronger than the typical single layer. I’ve washed this many time and the collar has not lost its shape at all. The spread collar and the way its constructed makes it naturally want to stand up tall in an elegant way. The placket is a perfect depth and features three mother-of-pearl buttons. The buttons and super thick and hefty in a good way. I liked the three buttons as they gave me the flexibility to wear the polo as casual or as dressed up as I wanted.
* Kent Wang seems like a no-nonsense kind of brand. No fancy packaging or marketing, just a brand thats out to bring really good clothing at a competitive price. I really respect that. The polo comes in a ton of different colors. The inner branding seems prone to peeling after some washes but even if that doesn’t hold up I still think this is a great polo.
* The price did go up to $75 from $65 but I’d still recommend it as it competes neck in neck with the higher cost options.
Lacoste is considered the OG of the polo world. Although the history of the polo is debated, the first polos come from India in the 1850s. However, it wasn’t until nearly a century later that they started becoming popular when President Eisenhower was seen wearing his Lacoste polo. They retail for $90 but certain colors can be found for around $50 on sale.
* Sizing is weird on this one so I would recommend trying on in store prior to purchasing. I had originally tried on the slim fit in a medium but it was way too tight so ended up going with a classic fit in a small to get that “custom fit” look I prefer. The classic fit in a medium was too baggy for me. The front and back are the same length making this harder to tuck in than the options with staggered lengths. I love the longer sleeves that still manage to hug the arms.
* The fabric on this polo was thin, lightweight and breathable with the pique being on the finer side. The combination makes it perfect for warmer days. The finer weave makes the polo look like it has less texture compared to the rest and the texture feels near identical to Loro Piana’s.
* The collar was disappointing on an otherwise great polo. It’s made from a ribbed cotton material that curl very easily. The deep placket helped give it a more upscale look in my opinion and the grey buttons were a nice touch.
* Im going to be honest, I never really gave Lacoste a shot before this comparison but I really liked this polo. Everything from it’s rich history to the plethora of colors available makes this a solid choice. If it wasn’t for the collars, I could see myself having multiples of these in my wardrobe.
# Ralph Lauren
As Lacoste was gaining steam for its Polo amongst college students going for an athleisure look at the time, it was Ralph Lauren who took the concept mainstream internationally. My parents used to get these for me on clearance when I was super young and paired it with jean shorts or chinos. Something about that new england dress code stuck with me and was my daily uniform growing up.
* Getting right into it, I’ve worn a custom fit medium for years now. It’s very easy to find the perfect fit as Ralph Lauren offers three fits: the classic, the custom fit and a slim fit and 6 sizes XS to XXL. Speaking for the custom fit, it hugs the arms and chest and tapers towards the waist. The length is an inch or two short for my preference but it’s worth the tradeoff since everything else fits well. I’ve had a few shirts shrink more than others so size accordingly if it isn’t the classic mesh fabric.
* The fabric is alright. It’s normal polo pique fabric that’s not soft or stiff, not lightweight or heavy. Just average across the board. That being said, it gets the job done.
* Another polos whose collars really disappointed. It’s made of a very similar construction to Lacoste’s. l really like the slightly staggered front and back with the rear being roughly an inch longer. Fit and finish are on par and the shorter placket lets you get away with not buttoning up without looking too obnoxious.
* 90% of the polos in my closet were from Ralph Lauren prior to me putting this episode together. I love them for the nostalgia but in terms of quality and price, there are definitely better options out there. Ralph Lauren has a ton of colors available so that’s another plus. They retail for $95 but it’s fairly easy to find them much cheaper at department stores or off season.
The Sunspel Riviera polo was the one I was most excited to try on this list. It was made in 2006 for Daniel Craig to wear in Casino Royale but Sunspel has been around since the 1800s. Sunspel oozes heritage and innovation throughout the years.
* I ordered mine in a size medium in the Forest color way. It fit true to size and I’ve had no shrinkage over many washes. The polo is trim but not overly slim. The sleeves hit right at your mid-bicep and did not restrict my movement.
* The fabric is exceptional. This polo had the widest and loosest weave out of all the others that I tested. The best way I could describe it was wearing a jersey made from some of the softest cotton.
* The collar is made from two layers of the same material as the shirt itself. It looks very polished and I was surprised how structured it remained with the rest of the shirt being so open and airy. They opted to go for a monochromatic look with matching plastic buttons. It’s a cool look and are constructed really well but I feel like they cheap’d out with plastic at this price. The pocket was also something I wasn’t the biggest fan of since it makes the shirt look more casual but that just comes down to personal preference.
* There’s just something about wearing James Bonds polo that give you a little extra pep in your step. I love the fabric especially on days where you have to look put together and the temperatures are in the upper 90s. The fit, fabric, and construction were all solid and all lived up to my expectations. I bought mine for $150 but I’ve been seeing them on sale for $64 on their site recently depending on color.
## Loro Piana
I’ve been drawn to this Italian brand for a while now but have never owned a piece from them. I had heard that their fabrics were exceptional and were the ultimate combination of quality and luxury. I figured I would head to the nearest boutique to get the full experience. I walked in to be half greeted by the sales associates only to be taken seriously after I told them I was looking to purchase a polo. I told them I wanted their classic pique polo to which they were slightly confused as they pulled some vicuna and cashmere polos instead. Although they were incredibly supple, the price tag for each were in the thousands. I ended up going with the cotton one for a whopping $545 before taxes in a size medium in the optic white color.
* Alright, so what exactly does nearly $600 for a cotton polo get you and is it really 30x as good as the Uniqlo we tested. Right off the bat the answer is no but there’s more to it. Lets start with the fit: I went for a medium but didn’t quite love any size I tried on. The cut was boxy and structured but light and flowy all at the same time. The sleeves hit a bit under the middle of your bicep and don’t hug them at all. The shoulders on the medium were about an inch too wide for me but the small was too narrow. The rest of the shirt fit like a traditional classic fit.
* Moving into the fabric. My first impression was how thin it was, upon trying it on it wasn’t see through but you could definitely see my skin tone blend with the white fabric in the areas where the fabric wasn’t double lined. The weave was on the finer side and was most comparable to Lacoste in terms of knit and texture. The fabric felt amazing on skin, silky smooth with a softness I haven’t encountered on a cotton pique polo.
* The build quality and fit and finish were exceptional but that’s to be expected on a $600 polo. The placket was the deepest of the batch and the three pearl buttons were super nice. The Loro Piana red stitch was a nice touch on the top button. They opt for a curved hem to make it easier to tuck in however with the fabric being so thin, mine had a tenancy to curl and needed extra ironing after washing to get it to lay flat. The collars were stiff and felt like something off a button down shirt. The collar, deep placket, along with the curved hem really made this feel like a pique button down with three buttons instead of a true polo. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing but just something to note.
* Alright, so if it weren’t for this video, I would never consider going out to spend this sorts of money on a polo. There’s a level of diminishing return for all articles of clothing, where spending twice as much on something doesn’t get you twice the quality. I would say this occurs fairly early for polo shirts. At the end of the day, pique feels near identical throughout the spectrum. So long as you like the fit and construction, there’s no reason to spend close to this much. This is one of those cases where you’re paying for the prestige of the brand rather than the quality they’re putting out.
This video taught me that it’s really hard to mess up a polo. As long as the polo has the features you prefer you really can’t go wrong. Based on the collar, fabric, fit, and construction and if money were no object I would take Sunspel followed very closely by Kent Wang, Loro Piana, Lacoste, Ralph Lauren then Uniqlo in that order. Being more budget focused, I think I would either save and wait for Sunspel to go on sale or go with Kent Wang before dishing out money on Uniqlo. I think the Sunspel and Kent Wang would last longer and look much better over time compared to the Uniqlo one so that may be worth the extra cost. These had the slimmest margins of any comparison that i’ve done so far so you really can’t go wrong with any.
# TLDR/Overall Rank if You Just Want the Best:
2. Kent Wang
3. Loro Piana
5. Ralph Lauren
# Budget Friendly Ranking:
1. Sunspel on sale at $64
2. Kent Wang
5. Ralph Lauren
6. Loro Piana
Obviously, this is just my personal opinion based off what I look for. Your order could be the complete opposite and that’s okay. Any of these are a solid pick. I’m not expert and just sharing thoughts based on what I like and what I look for. Hope this was somewhat helpful!