A Thorough Walk-Through Of Banana Republic’s Entire Polo Lineup
Spring and summer time is also polo time. It’s not quite as dressed up as a full-on button down shirt, nor as casual or laid back as a t-shirt. Perfect for BBQ’s, sports games, or just hanging out, every guy needs a solid polo collection. It is, perhaps, the greatest way to look just a bit more put together while still staying cool and comfortable in the coming warmer months.
For many guys, Banana Republic’s polo lineup is amongst the best and highest regarded out there. They have a ton of different fabrics, patterns, cuts, styles, and sizes. This is BR’s great strength here, but, also, its weakness. As time has gone on, BR now offers so many different polos that it becomes confusing to know which one is right for you, and which will look the best on you. Plus, over the years, BR’s sizing has gotten a bit less consistent, and so a certain size in one kind of polo might not work in a different style polo. Luckily, that is why we are here; to bring you a complete and thorough walkthrough of BR’s entire polo lineup for this coming season, along with the strengths and weaknesses of each kind, why you might like it or not, and a complete measurements chart so you can see the differences between the different cuts, and be able to better decide which polos are right for you.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, all sizes shown here are size Small. I am 6’1 and 165 lbs. Also note that all prices provided are full retail, but you can almost always catch a sale at BR and get these polos for much less.
This is perhaps the polo that BR is most famous for. It’s that silky-smooth, super comfortable, moisture-wicking, light-as-air fabric that is perfect for a hot, sunny day. Guys swear by these things. They are available in a ton of different colors and superb and unique patterns, and even a Slim fit (see below). It has amongst the wider armhole openings (see chart below), but otherwise tapers through the body. If you’re an athletic build, this is the polo for you. Super comfortable. Will shrink in the wash (some say severely), though, so bear in mind.
Best for: Athletic builds, guys who like more unique fabrics, and hot weather
Same great fabric and patterns as the standard fit above, but, you guessed!, cut slimmer. Though, in truth, not a whole lot slimmer. It’s certainly much slimmer in the armhole, but the chest and waist are only slimmed a bit. If you’re a skinnier guy, this polo will likely fit you better, with one major caveat: for some reason, this polo is cut a half-inch shorter than the standard cut. This is something I have never understood. Why are slimmer cuts also made so much shorter? If you’re a taller, slimmer guy (like myself), this means that, despite it fitting well through the body and arms, it will look too short on you. So, taller, slim guys, beware. Slimmer, shorter guys, this is your polo (again, beware of shrinking in the wash).
Best for: Slim, shorter guys, guys who like more unique fabrics, and hot weather
The true standard in polos. Nice, soft, super comfortable pique fabric. In my experience, does not shrink too much in the wash. Comes in a whole bunch of colors, though not many patterns (if at all). This is a basic polo, no frills. Every guy should have one or two pique polos just due to their classic nature. Goes with just about anything. The collar on these things sits nicely, and the placket is a bit deeper, and has 3 buttons, which is a nice detail. The fit is also really nice, with slimmer armholes (just as slim as their slim fit), the longest length that BR offers, and a nice, tapered chest-to-waist. For me, a taller, slimmer guy, it fits me just about perfectly. Downsides? The split hem at the bottom of curls oddly, and sort of ruins the look. This, combined with the logo might be a dealbreaker to some.
(For those wondering, here is a size medium on me. As you can see, it is significantly longer, and much wider in both the chest and waist, though only slightly larger in the armhole; see chart below. So, at least for this style of polo, if you need more room in the chest and waist, but are happy with the armhole, consider sizing up. In my case, sizing up to a Medium fits pretty ridiculously, though.)
Best for: Slim, taller guys, who don’t mind a logo or curly hems, and are happy with solid colors. Perfect for cool-to-warm weather.
If, for whatever reason, the Luxury Touch polos are not quite enough for you in super hot weather, this is your polo. It’s a pique knit, but are anti-moisture, odor, and microbial and so are designed to keep you feeling fresh even through all that sweat. In practice? I still find the Luxury Touch polos more comfortable, and thus better for warmer weather. Still, if you spend a lot of time in the heat, these are with checking out. Style wise, they have a nice, pointed placket and a chest pocket, two details which make this polo just a bit nicer-looking. Only available in solid colors, though. Fit is a bit roomier than other polos. It’s a bit longer, and does not taper quite as much through the waist. The armholes are also a bit wider.
Best for: Athletic builds, guys who are happy with solid colors, and guys who spend a lot of time in the heat
Sweater polos have been really in, recently, and are a great way to look even more dressed up (and Mad Men) while wearing a polo. Sweater polos are also ideal for throwing on under a blazer or suit instead of a button down shirt. BR’s offering here is pretty solid, and comes in three colors. The fabric is nice and light, not at all scratchy, and honestly perfect for this kind of a polo. It doesn’t feel too sweater-y, which is ideal.The big problem? Because of the style of these sweater polos, the bottom hems are also ribbed, and so they ride up on the bottom. And these polos are the shortest already of BR’s offerings. While these polos are cut very nicely, with slim armholes, and a nice taper from a wider-than-usual chest measurement, they simply will not work for taller guys as this will look comically short. Other than that, this is a perfect sweater polo.
Best for: Shorter guys who want a polo for dressier settings
Sometimes, BR does some super cool experimental polos with some pretty out-there fabrics, and the results are awesome. This is not one of those times. This polo feels and looks like you are wearing a blanket. I get the look BR was going for here, but I don’t think this is a look for anyone. Not to mention that this thing would likely suffocate you in the heat. I do not know who would feel comfortable wearing this, considering both how much it looks like you’re wearing your favorite childhood blanket, and how hot it would make you feel. Not to mention that the fit of this thing is inconsistent with all other BR polos, with a huge armhole, wider chest measurement, but a more aggressive taper to a somewhat long bottom hem.
Best for: No one, really
Value & Conclusion
There is no question that, once you find the right style and fit for you, BR offers some of the best value in polos out there today. When you add in the fact that their polos are perpetually on pretty steep sales, the values goes up even more. There are many new companies offering their own polos now, in various fabrics, cuts, styles, and so on, but, in our book, it’s BR that they need to complete with. Still, as BR’s line has expanded, their sizing has gotten a bit inconsistent, and so finding the right polo for you might be a bit more complicated than in the past. We wish that knowing your size in BR polos would mean that every one of their offerings would fit just about the same, but that does not seem to be the case, leaving some guys without the ability to wear the cooler fabrics that make BR polos so awesome, or without any great option at all (depending on your body type). Still, in the end, BR has a whole bunch of offerings — perhaps more than anywhere else — and so you’re very likely to at least find something that works for you. And we do hope this guide will help you in doing that as the hotter weather approaches.