How Should a Polo Shirt Fit? [Men’s Fashion Guide]


Many men think that the best way to elevate their style is to invest in genuine quality, and while that may be true to some extent, it’s incredible what a well-fitted polo shirt can do for you. If you just learn the basics of how a polo should fit, you’ll be blown away at how much better you look in one.

A polo shirt should conform to the shape of your body, snugly fitting your arms at the midday point between your shoulder and elbow. You neither want it to be too loose and baggy, nor so tight it feels uncomfortable to wear. A tapered fit will flatter your physique and let others know you have serious style.

Figuring out how a polo shirt fits properly is just the start, though, as there’s a lot to learn about the best ways to pull off this popular type of shirt. 

If you take the time to understand exactly how to pick out the perfect polo for you, there’s a good chance you’ll save a lot of money in the long run and avoid disappointment.

There’s also a good chance that those polos you own that are ill-fitting can be fixed up so that they conform to your body as they should.

The Right Fit

If you want to look your best in every polo you throw on; you’ll need to get familiar with the proportions and how it should look and feel. 


First up is the sleeves. There’s a simple rule to follow with polos: the hem of the sleeve should fall between your elbow and shoulder. 

This is the first step to a better fit and looks so much better than a polo that falls close to your shoulder or droops down to the elbow. The other thing to bear in mind with the sleeves is that you want them to wrap around your bicep like a warm embrace. Polo shirts are meant to be form-fitting, and what better way to show off your muscles than a well-fitting shirt?


Next, we have the shoulders. If you look at the sleeve of any polo, you’ll see that there’s a crease at the top where it connects to the main body of the fabric. For the perfect look, you want this crease to rest on the bone of your shoulder.


As for the body of the shirt and how it fits your torso, a tight fit is the best option. By tight, we don’t mean it should restrict the blood flow to your pecs and look like it was made for a child, but that it should conform to your body shape with little excess fabric. 

A good way to test the fit is to pinch the fabric close to the body; if it seems like there’s a lot (more than 2 inches), then you’ll need to get it tapered in by a tailor.

Finally, there’s the length of the polo shirt. Ideally, an untucked polo shirt should fall to just below your waistline. That means if it falls short of your belt, then you might need to think about replacing it with a larger size. 

The Wrong Fit

There’s a lot that can go wrong with a polo shirt.

It can fit too tight, too loose, too long, and this can happen with the sleeves, collar, or body of the shirt. As a result, if you haven’t spent much time thinking about the right fit, there’s a good chance that you’ve been wearing a polo with the wrong fit.

If you haven’t taken an interest in fashion before, you might not even realize how a polo should look, so we’ll get into the biggest faux pas now.

The Most Common Mistake

Perhaps the number one mistake men make when it comes to picking out a polo is going for a size that is too large. It makes sense that you’d want the shirt to cover your whole body, but unfortunately, a lot of the time, when a shirt is oversized, it doesn’t look good as it isn’t form-fitting.

The best way to remedy this common shopping error is to take the time to try on the various sizes of the polo in-store to see which one offers the best fit.

You can tell if a polo is too big for you in various ways. 

Sign #1: Too Long. The first indication is the most obvious: it’s so long it droops down towards your knees. We’ve all worn a shirt that goes beyond the beltline before, and it’s not a flattering look.

Sign #2: Sleeve Length. Perhaps a less obvious sign of a shirt size too big for you is the sleeves going down to the elbow. If the shirt sleeves don’t touch your biceps and they reach your elbows, you should consider a smaller size next time.

Sign #3: Bagginess. Lastly, if you notice that the shirt seems to hang from your body like a tent rather than conform to it, there’s a strong chance that it’s a size too large.

The Second Most Common Mistake

It’s also possible to go too far in the other direction, though, and end up with a polo shirt that’s too small for you.

You’ll know that a polo shirt is too small if you feel like the blood supply is being cut off to your biceps. While this may make it look like you’re walking around with a constant ‘pump’ from working out, it will restrict your movement and could lead to tears if you lift your arms overhead too often.

Putting your arms overhead is a good litmus test for the polo you suspect is too small since you’ll also see a large portion of your abdomen when you do so.

How to Remedy: Consult a Tailor 

If you’re worried you now have to go replace all the polos in your wardrobe, don’t be, as there’s another way to keep wearing your favorite shirts.

If you suspect that you have a polo shirt that is too large or ill-fitting in some way, the best thing you can do to save it is head to a tailor. Not only will a tailor have a keen eye for how a polo should fit, but they will also be able to make any necessary adjustments to give you the perfect fit.

You should come to the tailor with a game plan, though, regardless of how much they’ll know about the right fit. If you always take your clothes to the tailor without first thinking about the necessary fixes, then the next time you go to buy a polo, you could make the same mistake again knowing that you can just take it to the tailor.

You can find your local tailor with a simple Google search, and trust us; it will be worth the investment to ensure you get the perfect fit. 

Unfortunately though if you happen to have a polo shirt that’s too small there isn’t anything you can do. Our best advice is to give your polos that are too small away to a charity shop or to someone you know who would fit in them better. You can of course continue to wear it, but knowing what you know now about a good fit, this likely won’t sit right with you anymore.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Polo Shirt Fit

How tight should a polo be?

A polo shirt should be tight enough to conform to your body shape, but not so much so that it restricts the movement of your arms.

The first test you can do to see if a polo is too tight is lift your arms overhead, and see if the bottom of the shirt lifts so much as to reveal your stomach.

The second test is to pinch the fabric close to your body, ideally you want no more than 2 inches of spare fabric as you do so.

Should a polo shirt be tucked in?

While some people say you should never leave the house with your polo shirt untucked, there’s a variety of opinions out there over the best way to wear a polo.

The best answer we can give you is that it depends on the context and what the situation calls for.

For example, if you’re going out for a formal social gathering you might want to tuck it in for a more polished look, but if you’re just hanging out with friends untucked is fine.

How long should a polo shirt be untucked?

Ideally, you want the bottom of your shirt to reach down to a little below your beltline when untucked.

One of the common mistakes people make when buying a polo shirt is to pick a size too big, which results in an unsightly baggy look.

Polo shirts that go down to your thighs aren’t a great look, but fortunately if this is the case you can go to a tailor to have it tapered to fit your body.

A Final Word From The Trending Man

The main reason to learn about the right and wrong fit of a polo shirt is so that you can not only look great now but you can also save money in the long run by investing in form-fitting shirts going forward.

It might take you a while to get to grips with all of the rules of fitting now, but once you are familiar with them, it will feel like a superpower you can take with you for the rest of your life. And it is a superpower since so many men settle for shirts that don’t fit them well, thinking that just because it’s made by a designer brand, it’s going to look good on them.

With this knowledge, you can make sure you’re always looking your best, and you can do so while spending less than the rest.

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The Trending Man

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