What is the difference between golf shirt and polo shirt?

If you are dipping your toes into menswear, you might be confused by the several similar names for garments that practically look the same. Nothing showcases this issue better than the golf shirt vs. polo shirt debate. While at first glance, both look identical, it is only for those who are true fans of fashion that the differences are apparent. 

Fret not; We aren’t going to gatekeep golf or polo tees for men anymore. Today, we are looking at both and understanding the shirts so you can tell them apart and impress everyone around you. 

What Are Polo Shirts? 

While the name suggests that polo players had a hand in creating the item, history tells us something entirely different. The classic short sleeve polo shirt with a collar was made in 1929 by tennis player René Lacoste. Yes, that Lacoste. The sportsman went by the nickname “Crocodile” and created a new style of the shirt just for himself with an embroidered image of a crocodile. 

Thirty-three years later, the design was pushed into mainstream menswear when Ralph Lauren reinvented it, replacing the crocodile with a polo player. 

Of course, as we know, Lacoste and Ralph Lauren are major multi-billion dollar brands now, and both have to thank the polo shirt for their success. What started as a simple way to find comfort during sports created a staple wardrobe essential for men around the globe. 

Essential Styling Elements Of Polo Shirts 

With the Polo Shirts roots planted firmly in sportswear, the wrinkle-resistant garment can and is worn while active, but that doesn’t mean it is limited to that only. 

Style your polo shirts with well-fitted pair of chinos and loafers for a polished and put-together look while going for lunch. Then, throw on a timeless blazer and change your shoes, and you are ready for dinner with your better half. 

The piece’s versatility proves that the polo shirt is here to stay. And while it might look similar to golf shirts, the overall silhouette of polo shirts is considered to be more lustrous and dressed up. 

What Are Golf Shirts? 

The successor of polo shirts, golf shirts are the modern interpretation of the classic item. They are made with 100% polyester or a 50-50 cotton-polyester mix. This allows them to be quick-drying, an essential for all athletes

As the name suggests, Golf Shirts are predominantly made to play golf and designed to be worn in dry and humid climates. Golf shirts have double-seamed collars and are intended to be worn folded down and flat. 

The collars on golf shirts are traditionally made in the same material as the shirt’s body, but they can sometimes be the only part of the shirt that is made in a knit fabric to give it a dressed-up edge. 

Essential Styling Elements Of Golf Shirts

As mentioned above, Golf Shirts are made from moisture-wicking fabric, making them ideal for active folks, but the item isn’t limited to sportswear. 

Most people wear them around town, especially while running errands, to ensure they stay comfortable throughout the day. Wear cargo shorts with your golf shirt to complete the wearable and comfortable ensemble. 

The Subtle But Major Differences Between Golf Shirts And Polo Shirts 

Everything we have mentioned so far might have given you an idea about the differences between golf and polo shirts. But if not, let’s get more in-depth. 

Polo shirts are historical items that transitioned from the tennis court to polo players and nowadays can be worn out to dinner or drinks. All polo shirts are made from a knit material and feature single-stitch seams. They also are cut tightly around the body and are meant to be flattering. The collar on polo shirts is also worn standing up at the back of the neck. 

Polo Shirts are considered a fashion item rather than a practical must-have. On the other hand, golf shirts are hard-wearing, looser shirts made to wick moisture away from the body. They also have longer and broader sleeves compared to their predecessor and tend not to have any embroidery. 

Most Golf shirts and their collars are made of the same polyester fabric, and the collar is worn down. This is because they are made to be worn outdoors, while polo shirts are made for indoor use. 

While all of these are subtle rules, and you do not have to follow them completely, it is good to know the differences between them to pick the correct item for the right occasion. 

Read Also: Factors to Consider When Printing a T-Shirt


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