The Retro Polo Sweater

May 4th, 2015

I enjoy experimenting with different shirt styles, especially in the Spring/Summer when menswear options become a little more limited. Years ago I found a thick-knit mustard yellow polo sweater in a vintage store, and I loved it. It was a really cool shirt, but it was made of a scratchy wool fabric that couldn’t really be worn without an undershirt. I always wanted a replacement – the retro look cut in a soft breathable cotton.

Then last week I was walking in West Hollywood and spotted these really cool retro-inspired polo sweaters. With a pair of tailored trousers, they have this sort of old-school, mature leisure, Tony Soprano vibe…

Here’s a few examples to round-out your polo collection.

    Half Zip

    mensstyledan (2 of 8)

    A polo sweater has ribbed cuffs and a ribbed hem, creating a slight “billow” effect rather than being body-forming through the midsection. Great for us guys who’s stomachs aren’t as flat as they used to be.

    mensstyledan (3 of 8)

    mensstyledan (4 of 8)

    • Clubmaster sunglasses by Ray-Ban
    • Navy polo sweater by Reiss
    • Black alligator watch band by Montblanc
    • Black ostrich monkstrap shoes by Awl & Sundry

    Color Blocked


    Gradpa chic is a real thing. Pleated trousers, braces, kilted loafers…all the things that pepe used to wear have been re-interpreted for a younger and hipper audience. I love how menswear always retains its history, even in modern adaptations.

    The polo sweater, like this loosely woven v-neck version, is a great transitional piece – especially since menswear doesn’t offer many alternatives in the way of short-sleeved sweaters.


    • Brown Straw Hat by Stetson
    • The “Harlem” Retro polo sweater by Reiss
    • Tropical wool trousers
    • Suede loafers by Paul Evans
    • Brown leather tote by Frank Clegg x Dan Trepanier

    Micro Print


    You may be seeing a theme on AOS lately: wearing suit trousers as casual pants. This is why I always invest in seasonal fabrics (like this wool/linen micro-houndstooth), because it makes for a perfect casual (or business casual) trouser.


    Thanks, as always, for reading.

    Yours in style,

    Dan Trepanier

    Shop Custom Menswear Made in America


    Take me to the Shop

    • AdamE

      My struggle with most polo shirts is the texture, and how it feels against the skin (I have a few, but seldom wear them). I found some super soft jersey cotton ones from Club Monaco a couple of years ago, and picked them up on sale. They look like a polo, but feel like my most comfortable t-shirts… I like the visual textures and patterns in the looks, now I just need to find some that don’t feel like I’m wearing a sandpaper shirt…

    • Daniel

      Hey Dan, “Great for us guys who’s stomachs aren’t as flat as they used to be” should read “Great for us guys *whose* stomachs aren’t as flat as they used to be.” Maybe Articles of Style should invest in a copy of Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style? ;) Feel free to delete this once you’ve corrected the post. Thanks for all the content!

    • Sapprentice

      What a post! Dan, I love the way you make dressing down look so easy. Look 2 is a killer… love it!

    • F.J.G.

      Dan, ironically, I bought one of these 60s polo shirt a few weeks ago. Dongenal Colesetta and Ban Lon are some of the original makers of these shirts. Mine was a bit large in the torso so I took it in a bit for a more fitted look. See pic.


    • MS

      The photography in this post is fucking gorgeous, Alex. What you do with light is incredible. To say nothing of the quality of the content on this site, the photography truly stands on its own merit. Such a pleasure.


      • Alex Crawford

        Thanks so much Marcus! That really means a lot to me. I definitely strive to improve my photography with every post.

    • TO

      Another trend I have noticed on this site is that this brand Reiss brings it from a design standpoint!! Y’all have features their pieces a ton over the past few months, no time to better effect than here. Love these, especially the Harlem polo! So much more character than typical modern polos.

    • Jeff McAllister

      As someone who went through high school in early 00’s, I haven’t been able to touch a polo (or similarly silhouetted) piece in over 10 years. The OC-era Abercrombie hangover is just TOO REAL!

      That said, I’m digging all three of these looks. With the right piece (and the ability to grow facial hair) it might be worth reclaiming the look.

      Also: Image 4 – those portraits of Dan – are sublime. I can hardly handle that golden LA sun!

    • Eric

      How are those Awl & Sundry kicks holding up for you?

    • cam

      Great post! I caught Goodfellas on TV a few months ago and Henry had one on, as seen here, for a brief second at the :35 sec mark. You have to pause the clip to see it but it’s a great shirt imo….

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