Think back to a decade ago and a polo shirt was as much of a wardrobe essential as a flippy skirt and a Louis Vuitton Multicolore monogram bag (or a look-alike). If they were worn together, even better. Eventually, our beloved polo shirts were forgotten in favor of babydoll blouses (remember those?) smock tops, off-the-shoulder styles and crop tops. As is the cyclical nature of fashion, things have turned around and polo shirts are back with the Spring 2018 runways signaling their return.
Rather than digging into the archives from a decade ago, designers put a fresh spin on the collared style by experimenting with different prints and cuts. Balenciaga increased the femininity of the polo with a smocked version complete with a peplum waist. Even Lacoste reinvigorated its classic style with shoulder-baring, asymmetrical necklines and polo dress designs. The most surprising twist of them all went to Y/Project, which fastened nipple clamps to striped polo shirts as a clever wink to pierced nipples.
The new cuts and, erm, embellishments have helped make the polo feel in vogue, but it’s the styling that will really make it feel of the moment. It’s tempting to recall the preppy heydays of the shirt and channel Marissa Cooper on The O.C. but the freshest ways to wear polos involve subverting their preppy connotations by pairing them with unexpected pieces. That means leaving behind the chinos and coordinating pastel skirts and embracing clashes and even punkish undertones. Consider the things that you’ve never worn with a polo and pick those to team with the top now. If you’re struggling to break the nostalgic references, take a look at some visual inspiration from the runways and streets on how to wear a polo top in 2018.