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Item of the week: the knit polo

By Rachel Douglass


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(From left) Scotch Shrunk, Nudie Jeans and Madewell. Credits: FashionUnited Marketplace.

What it is:

While the knitted polo may seem like a more recent evolution of the standard polo shirt, its roots actually lie in the 1950s, where the classic shirt initially garnered traction. Also sometimes referred to as a ‘sweater polo’, the shirt was first popularised by Italian designers and later seeped into the wardrobes of the American upper class, giving it its preppy status, with it now reappearing as a holiday must-have for the fashion-forward folk. The piece is characterised by a button fastening, unstructured collar and knitted construction, forming a look that is typically smarter than a sports polo.
Perry Ellis. Credits: FashionUnited Marketplace.

Why you’ll want it:

The knitted polo shirt offers a more comfortable, less restrictive take on the classic style, yet is still at the height of fashion – and maybe even more so. Its resurgence has been triggered by the ongoing trend for Ivy League prep on the runways, a look that centres around the “old-money” aesthetic of sleek sportswear and traditional wardrobe staples. The shirt also feeds into the increased casualisation of businesswear, with its return also likely fueled as an offset to the pandemic and its subsequent work-from-home culture. For men, the garment is a suitable alternative to its counterparts, offering a staple that can be worn all year round and for an array of occasions.
Karl Lagerfeld. Credits: FashionUnited Marketplace.

Where we’ve seen it:

Knitted polos were a notable fixture of spring/summer 2024 runways, appearing in collections that already held a retro-esque appeal. Givenchy’s iteration of the design came in the form of a light-weight knit, with enlarged pointelle detailing and buttons. Loewe, on the other hand, took on the shirt with a modernised twist. The brand’s long-sleeved styles saw sparkly elements intertwined into the material presenting a new take on the design. In another contrast, Bluemarble looked deep into the past for its own piece, drawing inspiration from retro graphic prints that leaned into the shirt’s origins.
Burberry. Credits: FashionUnited Marketplace.

How to style it:

The knitted polo is a great standalone piece for those looking for a staple item to add to their wardrobe. It works well by itself, paired with tailored trousers to elevate the look, or with loose-fit jeans to further emphasise the casualisation of the design. With the former, leather sandals bring the item into the spring and summer, while the latter can be finished off with similarly sleek sneakers to tie the outfit together. Leather – or leather-looking accessories – further upgrade the overall look, in keeping with the vintage feel of the knit polo itself.
Selected Homme. Credits: FashionUnited Marketplace.
The knitted polo is a formal, yet still casual iteration of the popular polo shirt staple, whose popularity is set to remain consistent, as evidenced by its place in SS24 collections.
Filippa K. Credits: FashionUnited Marketplace.

Similar items available for (pre)order can be found in the FashionUnited Marketplace. You can find them by clicking on this link.
Item of the Week