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If ever there was a garment that exuded “Frank Sinatra in Palm Springs” energy, it would have to be a sweater polo. The best sweater polos are as cool as they are comfortable, and they’re surprisingly versatile.
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Often called knit polos, sweater polos are knitted like sweaters but usually feature short sleeves and a short button placket and a collar. They’re great alternatives to traditional cotton pique polos, which have more of a sporty look given their roots in tennis. They’re great layering pieces, too; you can wear a knit polo with a light jacket on cooler summer mornings and ditch the jacket by midday, while some full-placket options can be worn over a T-shirt or tank.
In terms of style, men’s knit polos are dressy enough for most workplaces but laid-back enough to wear when going out for drinks. You can wear them with a blazer to dress down your tailoring at a casual summer wedding or use them to dress up your favorite denim jacket. And they look just as good with shorts and jeans as they do with tailored trousers.
Sweater polos are the perfect companion for the dressing-like-an-old-man trend that’s stuck around for the past few years. From the New Balance 990 to the unexpected resurgence of the sweater vest, dressing like your dad (or his dad) is a surprisingly great way to look stylish this summer. Read on for our top picks for the best sweater polos to wear in 2022.
1. Buck Mason Avalon Knit Polo
L.A.-based Buck Mason brings a laidback SoCal sensibility to everything it does, including this knit polo. These men’s polo shirts are cut from soft, lightweight cotton with a relaxed slub texture. The solid, neutral colors are easy to wear with jeans, shorts or work pants. If you want a sweater polo but nothing too preppy or retro, then this is the one to get.
Read More: Our Favorite Polo Shirts for Men
2. Dandy Del Mar Sebastian Shirt
A lot of brands make clothes that can transition from work to travel to the weekend. But Dandy Del Mar is all about leisure; these clothes are designed to be worn on, near or in a body of water. This lightweight polo has a relaxed Johnny collar, and it’s made in Portugal from 100% cotton. We recently featured this piece in our style finds feature, and it’s a laid-back piece of resort wear that’s perfect for summer.
3. Billy Reid Jersey Sweater Polo
This sweater polo from Billy Reid is a summer-ready knit that takes inspiration from the flecked look of Donegal wool. It’s available in black, gray or blue, and it’s made from a breathable blend of cotton and nylon. The lightweight construction means you can wear it on all but the hottest days. So many of the best knit polos have a retro grandfather-going-bowling vibe, but like the Buck Mason polo featured above, Billy Reid’s sweater polo has a more modern style.
4. The Tie Bar Tipped Cotton Sweater Navy Polo
The Tie Bar offers some of the best values for neckties, but if you’re not aware of the brand’s shirts, then you’re missing out. This polo clocks in at less than $50, and it’s made from mercerized cotton (meaning it has a more lustrous finish and greater durability than regular cotton). It has a stylish, subtly preppy contrast tipping on the sleeves, collar and chest pocket, and it comes in a wide range of colors.
5. Banana Republic Solare Sweater Polo
Banana Republic’s take on the sweater polo looks and feels luxurious, but it clocks in at a mall brand price. It’s constructed from a blend of silk and linen, and the ribbed texture adds visual appeal without the need for a loud print. The sweater polo comes in vibrant colors like pink, green and yellow, or a more muted blue.
6. Missoni Green Cotton Polo
There are few brands whose designs are as immediately identifiable as Missoni’s. The Italian label’s distinctive and colorful zig-zag knits are the perfect antidote to all-black-everything. This sweater polo is made from cotton, with a touch of nylon for stretch and shape.
7. Todd Snyder Cotton Silk Polo
Pull on this laidback polo and you’ll be instantly transported to a cabana on an island. Or at least it’ll feel that way. It’s made from a blend of soft cotton and silk, and the striped pattern on the collar and sleeves makes for an eye-catching style. It has a Johnny collar, meaning there are no buttons on the placket.
8. Urban Outfitters Polo Sweater
This sweater polo from Urban Outfitters is an affordable way to sample this style. It has a lightweight knit and a full placket, making it a breathable option for warmer weather. There’s also a pocket that’s ideal for stashing your sunglasses. Plus it comes in a wide range of colors.
9. J.Crew Short-Sleeve Polo Cardigan Sweater Polo
BEST FULL PLACKET
Every season, J.Crew comes with a bunch of stylish sweater polos, and this year is no different. This short-sleeve sweater has a stylish windowpane design and a full placket, meaning it buttons all the way to the bottom of the sweater. That makes it easy to wear over a T-shirt, or you can button it all the way up for a more put-together look.
10. A.P.C. JERRY Long-Sleeve Knit Polo
French label A.P.C. has mastered the art of making minimalist menswear essentials, and these long-sleeve knit polos are the perfect neutral piece to wear with everything. It’s made from 100% merino wool and has a two-button placket. For those weird-weather days when you don’t want to bring a jacket, throw on this knit polo and roll the sleeves up and down as needed.
11. COS Knitted Polo Shirt
COS packs a high-end design ethos into mall-brand pricing. Though they cost more than H&M (their parent brand), they’re still an affordable option for stylish, minimalist pieces. This knitted polo shirt has a subtle pattern with a contrasting placket and sleeves. The hidden buttons on the placket create a sleek look.
12. Cotton-Linen Polo-Collar Sweater
Leave it to the king of the polo shirt to make the perfect sweater polo. Ralph Lauren’s take on the knit polo is crafted from a soft, breathable blend of cotton and linen, making this the breeziest option on our list. There’s also a handy pocket featuring the Polo logo.
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