Class up your torso with a Polo shirt

Fit is the most important factor determining how good your shirt will look

De-scrub yourself by wearing a Polo shirt
  • De-scrub yourself by wearing a Polo shirt
  • Ranta Images, istock, getty images plus

As monsoon season draws to a close, San Diego men are reverting to their natural attire: board shorts and beer tees.

There’s a better alternative: the polo shirt. Polo shirts are an easy way for every guy to class up his torso without sacrificing comfort.

Polos are everywhere, and most of them look bad. There’s a simple formula for picking a good one: it should fit perfectly and it should be visually neutral.

As with any sort of clothing, fit is the most important factor determining how good your shirt will look. Memorize the following metrics.

The hem (bottom of the shirt) should go down to the middle of your crotch and no lower. When you lift your arms up, your stomach should stay mercifully covered. The sleeve should go no lower than halfway down your upper arm.

When you pinch the fabric on the sides of the shirt, you should have no more than two inches of material in your fingers. Don’t choose anything skin tight, but don’t wind up looking like a folded-up beach umbrella, either. Slim cuts are the most flattering.

Solid, neutral colors are best. This means black, white, gray, blue, brown, dark or olive green and maroon. Avoid patterns, including stripes. Also avoid golf or athletic polos. The shiny fabric looks weird. When possible, wear polos with no logos on them.

Outfit coordination is simple: just wear a polo instead of a t-shirt. No need to tuck it in. Congratulations, your style just doubled.

If you don’t have polos that match my description, look for them at thrift stores. Trying a polo for $4 and hating it is a much better plan than trying one for $40. You won’t hate it, though. Only your jealous friends will.

Three good San Diego spots for polo shirts: Rescue Mission Point Loma. 3601 Sports Arena Blvd.; Auntie Helen’s Thrift, 4127 30th St.; Goodwill Clairemont, 4220 Balboa Ave.

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