Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Polo Shirts are Ugly

Anyone who sees me day to day can attest to the fact that I don't know much about fashion. I'm pretty indifferent when it comes to choosing clothes, usually opting for black jeans, black shoes, and a black teeshirt with a shirt over it in some color approaching, well, black. But even given my limited interest in fashion, there are some things I can see clearly. And here's one of them: Polo shirts are ugly.

Why in hell, I wonder, would anyone ever wear a polo shirt?

If you're a woman, a polo shirt will just make you look ditsy and dull. It doesn't matter what color you choose or what you match it with. A polo shirt, even in bright yellow, makes you look boring and boxy and half-informed. So why would you ever buy such a thing? Beats me.

And if you're a man? Here things are even clearer. At the very best, a polo shirt will make you look like a nerd. Don't believe me? Take any given nerd and look in his closet. Half his shirt wardrobe will be polo shirts or your money back guaranteed.


Think about it. When a Hollywood director has to portray a geeky suburbanite or some loser trying to pick up a woman in a bar, he will almost always put the actor in a polo shirt. Why is that? Simple. It's because guys like this, in real life, usually wear polo shirts. Directors know this, and audiences know it too. (Well, at least those not in polo shirts know it.)

So do you really want to look like a geeky suburbanite? No? Then why would you ever put on a polo shirt?

If a polo shirt doesn't make you look like a nerd, it will almost certainly make you look like a total dick. This is the other kind of guy who wears polo shirts. He wears them because he wants people to know he's in a yacht club or a has a pricey membership in a golf club. He either wants people to know this or to think it. Truth is maybe the guy isn't in either sort of club. Maybe he can't afford the membership. But does it really matter? Guys who join pricey golf clubs and guys who dream of joining pricey golf clubs both have pretty much the same personality. They are dicks.


If you are a man who often wears polo shirts but still aren't convinced they make you look like a dick, there's one way you can be sure: wear your polo shirt with the collar up. This will cinch the deal. Other than wearing a Nazi uniform, there's really no better way, through mere clothing alone, to make most people who see you immediately want to break your nose. A man in a polo shirt with the collar up is screaming out "I AM A TOTAL DICK" to anyone who sees him.


Still doubt that polo shirts are all that bad? Then try a little experiment. Take the first very cool person that comes to mind and try to find a photo of him online wearing a polo shirt. Go ahead. I'll give you a few minutes.

. . . .

So you're back. You say you did try the experiment and you did find photos of a cool person in a polo shirt. Well, that's because you probably chose someone like Pierce Brosnan. Obviously there's something seriously defective in your notion of cool. Maybe you have more general problems you to work on before you even bother thinking about your wardrobe. Maybe there are more fundamental issues that to be addressed.

Okay, I know, I know. You googled "Obama" and found pictures of him in a polo shirt. But did you find any such pictures from before he got in the White House? You didn't, did you? That's because something happened to Obama, something kind of mysterious. Not only has he started wearing polo shirts, he's done all sorts . . . . But I don't want to get into it here. The point is: the Obama example doesn't count. Because sometimes people who aren't fundamentally dicks, who aren't dickheads in essence, can end up doing seriously dick-like things. Or maybe it's that they change slowly, or not so slowly, from being cool into being, well, total dicks. Hard to say.

Barack Obama, Sell-Out in Chief.

Back to my main point. And it's this: There's good reason guys like Tiger Woods almost only wear polo shirts. There are two good reasons in fact:
Number 1: guys like Tiger Woods play golf.

Number 2: guys like Tiger Woods are arrogant dicks.
For me these two reasons tend to fold into one and the same reason. But this is ultimately a deep philosophical truth about golf that is too complex and abstruse for me to get into here. I'll leave it for another time. Let me just, for the record, add two more reasons Tiger Woods deserves to wear polo shirts: 1) the name "Tiger" is the most dickish name I've ever heard; 2) Tiger Woods has terrible taste in women.

In conclusion-- Why in hell did you ever buy those polo shirts? And why don't you just make dishrags out of them like they deserve? I leave you with this:



Eric Mader

UPDATE 2016: "Popped collars"? No. I've finally realized the precise term for it. It hit me last week while listening to a guy in a cafe with collars up on his orange polo bragging about his business acumen:



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* * *

Check out my recent book Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.

28 comments:

Madkins007 said...

I found this article while searching for a way to treat my work shirts stain less.

Having read it, I have to say that I disagree with almost every point you made. I know you won't care, and I don't really care whether you care.

Nerds in polos? In Google image Search for 'nerd', most were in either button-down shirts (often with a pattern) or T-shirts. most of the rest were in sweats. Only a couple were in polos.

Cool guys don't wear polos? Typing in 'cool guys' actually gets you about the same ratios of shirt options that 'nerds' got- better fit, better colors, and better sytles of course, but similar clothing options.

Tiger, Pierce, and Obama? Arguments are easier when you get to set the definitions, aren't they?

Why buy polos? Cheap, easy to care for and match, a few steps up from T-s or sweats without being as formal as button-down shorts of any kind. They are usually comfortable and move with you- one reason so may sports people wear them.

Of course, this is also why so many places make them a uniform- which is a strike against them that you missed. Then the company often makes the employee's wear some sort of horrible fabric that negates many of the benefits. Yeesh.

The reason *I* wear polos is that I am a big guy and buttoned shirts often gap a bit at the belly. I prefer Henleys, but polos are just a bit more appropriate in most workplaces and make me at least look a little further up the 'work fashions' hierarchy than T's, etc.

Anonymous said...

Polo shirts really do look awful, I agree 1000000%.

And so many humans are blissfully unaware of how bad they look...

Anonymous said...

lol.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I hate polo shirts, whether short sleeved or long sleeved. Likewise, I hate their fugly cousin, the henley, which conjures up images of old timey miners and hobos.
Also, that first dude that defends polos and talks about how much he loves them just adds more reasons to hate them. He says its because he's big which is one of the reasons I really hate polos: big guys in polos always look like they have moobs.
Big. Saggy. Moobs.

Anonymous said...

I don't read much blogs, but I still can say this is the dumbest blog I've ever read so far.

I never knew someone could have that much hatred towards clothing, fabric in general. What nightmares did polo give you now?

Miki Kearns said...

Oh come on guys this is FUNNY! For fun I had googled "hate polo shirts with collar up" because over the years I have noticed the people in my life like this, who often kind of act like dicks, wear these. Even worse, their wives wear polo shirts with the collar up and they are often lack imagination when it comes to dress. Very plain. Very boring. Happens to them the most after they get married to the dick wearing polo shirt and have kids and then also cut their hair short and wear stuffy little pearl stud earrings. Does not bring out their best features. I just googled it for fun. There just seems to be a type of person, even good people I know, who wear these and they just should be reserved for sports. Just so stuffy, preppy 80s. However their are shirts that have a polo base design but are much better and less boring out there. But the typical pink Izod with the collar up just nauseates me on a guy. Who knows probably some women think they are hot. Whatever floats the boat.

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Anonymous said...

This article is spot on. Polo shirts are a crime against humanity.

They look AWFUL.

In the UK, posh people wear them to be casual (instead of a normal tshirt) and end up looking stuff, and non-posh people wear them as a lazy (failed) attempt to look smart.

They look even worse when they're company polo shirts, like Macdonalds workers have to wear, for example. A well fitting polo shirt is bad enough, but cheap company polo shirts are just basically degrading, to whoever has to wear them, and whoever has to see them.

Eric Mader said...

Many thanks for the comments all. I knew I wasn't the only one out there who sees polo shirts as the proud emblem of dickishness. I've certainly nothing against polo. Just wish polo players were the only ones wearing these daft shirts. And only while on the field.

Anonymous said...

Thank you - you have saved me from myself!

I Googled Brad Pitt.

Not a single polo anywhere.

Enough said.

Appreciate your thoughts.

Pete

Moving on up! said...

Guess you will marry a guy in a T-shirt! Lots of women do!

Anonymous said...

True story:

Once had a p/t job where my regular shifts were Mon, Tues, & Thurs.

One week I was asked to work on a "casual" Friday. Showed up at the office in my usual mid-week attire only to discover every one of my co-workers decked out in the official company polo.

Before the first hour had passed, no fewer than three people asked me "Where's your polo? How come you're not wearing your polo?" When I reminded them that I never work on Fridays and that I did not even own a polo, arrangements were hastily made to furnish me with one... along with a strong suggestion that I wear it the next time I worked a Friday.

Thus did I come to my hatred of polo shirts. They embody the kind of mindless conformity that is so highly prized by today's employer. Little surprise, then, that they have become the uniform of choice for workbot drones in low wage, service jobs everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Hysterical, totally in agreement 100%. The people that I personally know who do wear polos, seems to be in the total dick category (Penn State Grads) or just total snoozefests. This doesn't reflect on their intelligence just their personality socially....I either want to punch them in the face or take a nap while they're talking.

Thank you, I feel liberated knowing I'm not the only one with a pure hatred of polo shirts, HA!

The King said...

This article is a tad biased and does not consider culture.

The Polo is mostly worn in the Southern region of the United States by the middle/upper class, I know this for a fact since I live there.

I enjoy the Polo shirt due to its semi-formal look, and the ability to wear short sleeves. I am presume you are not Southern, for if you were you would like this type of shirt since our climate can be excruciating during the summers. Wearing a button-up shirt would not be wise in 100 degree weather.

You have used the word nerd in this rant, which leads me to believe you dislike intelligent people in general;therefore, I have no further comments on your opinion.

Eric Mader said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric Mader said...

Sorry but your "climate" argument doesn't hold much water, does it, since a hot climate doesn't exactly force people to choose polos. There are other lightweight styles of shirt available after all. I myself live walking distance from the Tropic of Cancer but still not everyone around me is sporting the sartorial abomination you describe as "semi-formal".

What's more, the straw-man quip you end with doesn't even make sense. The categories "nerds" and "smart people" don't include the same set. Unless you're in high school. Which may be the case, I don't know.

The King said...

You simply stated that the climate argument is invalid without displaying a valid reason. It does not force others to wear it, but there is not much a choice. Button-up shirts, as I stated earlier, are much too hot. T-shirts are considered sloppy and unprofessional in the middle/upper class of the South.

You wouldn't understand what I mean simply because you were not raised in a Southern culture. It's not that I am suggesting you are uncultured, I mean no insult, just that is hard to fully understand without the experience. I apologize for being redundant about culture, but it is sacred here. Much like wearing white, it is due to climate and heritage.

I am a senior in a high school that the summer uniform is a polo shirt.

Eric Mader said...

So in fact you ARE in high school. Actually I didn't think so. You write more with the voice of an adult.

You begin your first post stating that my polo shirt editorial is "a tad biased". What I think you'll find, the more you learn, is that EVERYTHING is biased. And so your own defenses of the polo shirt in terms of its being appropriate to an upper class are already, as it were, showing your hand. Certain of those dorks in the photos I post with my articles are wearing polos precisely because they think it appropriate to their class status.

The culture critic starts on the basic understanding that we are all enmeshed in intersecting webs of ideology and bias. And the satirist plays these webs of bias off each other in order to push the reader's perception in a certain direction.

Sorry to hear you're forced, like many in America, to wear polos as part of a uniform. ;) But as it doesn't bother you. . .

No offense taken.

Anonymous said...

I got rid of my polo's long ago because I finally realized they didn't flatter my torso (made me look fat... even the slim fit ones!) and they just made me look like a douche at work or that I was lazy about dressing up.

I since have bought casual long sleeve shirts (plaids, patterns, stripes, etc) that don't require a lot or any ironing that go great with jeans. They look dressier instead of looking sloppy and they flatter me better too. I believe now that polo's are only for golf courses or really casual outings, but not indoors in an office environment. It just demonstrates laziness, in my opinion. Oh and you can roll up the sleeves of casual button down shirts, if you get hot. But at least you stand out, trust me. I do and I get lots of compliments from both women and men! :)

Anonymous said...

I have frequently worked jobs where I have a role with a good amount of physical labor, but in a business environment. T-shirts are unacceptable because they are too casual, and button down shirts are uncomfortable and impractical to do the type of work I often need to do. I'm not going to bring three outfits to work everyday, so I'm going to split the difference--a polo shirt.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you! I can't stand polo shirts. I'm forced to wear one for one of my jobs, which sucks, but I tell myself that I'm getting paid (decently) to wear it, which is the only thing that makes it almost tolerable. The bosses keep saying they're going to get a button-down version that we can buy if we want, and if they finally do, I'll jump at the chance. I normally wouldn't pay for my own work uniform if I don't have to, but to avoid wearing the polo, I won't hesitate!

Anonymous said...

absolutely true opinion i hate them totally and never wear them or look to see their look on nay body.

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Anonymous said...

Gee, Why so such hatred for a style of clothing?

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