Warm Weather Style

    Reader Questions: Perfect White Tee, In-Between Shoes, and How a Polo Should Fit

    20th August 2012

    Kaz asks:

    What is the best white v-neck out there?  I’ve bough Uniqlos, Stafford, and others but the materials are just too thin or the cut isn’t right.  I was thinking about buying the Hanes signature v-neck or J.Crew.

    I think you’re headed in the right direction! Just like how Maybelline Great Lash Mascara has been around forever and always gets “Best Mascara” accolades in beauty mag polls (oh wait, you are a guy and that’s a totally unhelpful comparison? sorry, but just trust me it always does), sometimes you just have to accept that a classic is a classic for a reason.

    To wear as an undershirt, I’d go Hanes or Calvin Klein. They’re tried-and-true standards, and – at only slightly different price points – both totally affordable. If you’re looking to wear yours around town, you may want to upgrade to J.Crew (whose tees are, like, crazy stupid soft) or Everlane, who’s also quickly cornering the market on “Are you sure you didn’t buy this ten years ago?” broken-in shirts.

    1. Everlane, $15

    2. Hanes, $28 for 3-pack (on sale)

    3. Calvin Klein, $38 for 3-pack


    David says:

    Hi Megan. I’ve recently come across your blog via Put This On and have seen, again and to my further dismay, that flip-flops are a faux pas. I’m heartbroken!

    My real question, though, comes from the fact that I wear boots 8+ hours a day as part of my job, and through most of our cold Minnesota winters. Lighter shoes feel funny to me and I always feel like I’m stomping too hard when I wear Vans or tennis shoes. Is there a happy medium between clunky boots and flappy flip-flops?

    Another PTO reader! Welcome! Glad to have you. Apologies in advance for using the word “like” in place of a comma more than Jesse would, like, EVER feel comfortable with.

    And yes, there’s definitely a good go-between shoe that falls between heavy-duty work boots and lightweight sneakers – the desert boot!

    {Clarks, $82}

    Also known as a chukka, this shoe is my favorite “up your shoe game stat” recco. It’s as comfortable as a tennis shoe, can be worn with jeans or dressed up with slacks, and it shows you’re on top of your style game.

    Read more about my take on the desert boot here and here.

    Carl asks:

    My polo shirt collection needs a breath of fresh air! But even with a designer like Ralph Lauren, size medium encompasses quite a spectrum of fit.  So when I’m trying on shirts, how do I know when a it’s too baggy, or when it’s to tight?

    P.S. Your article on how to size a pair of shorts saved me in that department!


    Polo shirts really do vary wildly when it comes to fit, so you’ll probably have to put in some leg work on this one.

    Personally, I really like it when a guy wears a polo shirt that fits him snugly through the chest and biceps. It shouldn’t look painted on all the way to the waist – that’s when you’re getting into Jack LaLanne territory – but I love a guy unafraid to wear a shirt that fits him well. Of course, this cuts across all style lines – clothes that fit close to the body always make you look better than clothes you’re swimming in.

    Also, if you’re going to wear a polo, go all the way and get one in a “pique polo” material. You know the kind, thicker material, with an almost hole-y weave (which allows the thicker material to breathe). I just think it looks better than polo shirts that are made in more of a t-shirt material. If you’re going to wear a t-shirt, wear a t-shirt. If you’re going to wear a polo, wear a polo.

    I can see how shopping for this kind of shirt can get confusing, though. Doing a quick search for polos online, I found four styles from Original Penguin alone (the Jack, the Earl Heritgage, the Basic Slub, and the Daddy-O). Look at the images online to find a style you like, and take advantage of the “zoom” feature that most e-commerce sites have these days, so you can really see the fabric.

    Look for words like “Trim” and “Slim” (and obviously “pique”) in the product description, and you’re more likely to find to find something you’re not swimming in.

    1. J.Crew: $40 (on sale, 2 for $65)

    2. Lacoste: $98

    3. Original Penguin: $59


    • average joe

      Banana Republic has a premium t-shirt in either crew or v-neck that comes in your standard white/black/gray. This has been the best match for me since I realized I need to get rid of anything Ed Hardy-esque. I’ve look elsewhere for t-shirts and I keep coming back to the premium Banana brand.

      • Style Girlfriend

        I hope I had some hand in your realizing that you need to get rid of anything and everything Ed Hardy-esque.

      • average joe

        Megan this was the article, but I’m sure you were there in spirit.

        • Style Girlfriend

          I love it. A story about getting cut off in traffic becomes “60% more interesting” when you add that the other person was wearing an Ed Hardy shirt. So true.

    • hbc14

      I LOVE the Uniqulo V-necks. You can get them for as cheap as $5.95 a piece and come in great colors and are extremely soft. I just picked up 5 of them earlier this summer.

      • average joe

        Stop flaunting your NYC locale!!! We can’t get Uniqlo in ATL :-(

        • hornsup84

          Y’all have Sid Mashburn and we don’t, so it’s a wash, right? ;)

          (But seriously, I’d trade Uniqlo for Sid)

          • average joe

            A very good point indeed. Sid however is $$$$, and Uniqlo is more budget, albeit a very awesome budget – tailoring and all.
            And I’ve got to ask, only because I’ve seen your comments in here for the last several months…does “horns up” refer to corps or marching band?

            • hornsup84

              Neither — The University of Texas Longhorns. Hook ‘em!


              (Cliff’s Notes version: “Get your horns up” is a UT saying, similar to “Hook’em Horns”, etc.)

        • Nick

          Check out Suddenlee. They will ship Uniqlo to ATL.

          • average joe

            Yeah I remember reading that article too. But then my $5 tshirt becomes $17.99. :-)

          • Style Girlfriend

            what a cool service! thanks for the heads up

    • hqi

      its a personal thing but to me pique is one of the most uncomfortable materials out there. I will stick with my t-shirt material polos. I also don’t wear a polo and pretend its something other than really casual so I think the t-shirt material is fine.

    • Alexander

      3 things that have and always will boggle my mind even when I didn’t care about style:
      1. why the fuck do people wear flip flops & shorts every day when the temperature rises above 20°C ? not only the look but the sound of those things is pain in my ears.
      2. why in the world are polos and dress shirts mostly cut so awkwardly huge?
      3. why would anybody subject himself to wearing something like Ed Hardy? It’s like an odd tattoo douche version of Edward Cullen printed on T-Shirts and whatnot.

      • Gaz

        I agree, flip-flops are hideous. Sadly here in Australia it is part of the national uniform. Men and women wear them everywhere: on the street, in the mall, to bars and clubs, to restaurants (!), on dates (I kid you not), to work, to visit someone in hospital, to church, to the movies, to the theatre…you name it. Women will spend hours on make-up, making sure their outfit is perfect, accessorizing to the max and then…walk out wearing flip-flops (called ‘thing down under).

        • Style Girlfriend

          You just call them “things?” How interesting! Glad it sounds like you’re trying to rise above the tendency towards casual footwear EVERYwhere!

    • Adventurer627
      • diversification

        Nice try Tommy and/or John.

    • The Future

      I’m putting my vote in for Original Penguin polos, Everlane V-necks to wear on its own and the Jockey Staycool V’s to wear as an undershirt. Don’t have a pair of chukkas, although my friend has a pair of Red Wing chukkas that look awfully fancy.

    • apm

      Wear boat shoes instead of flip-flops. You can still go comfortably bare foot in them.

      • Style Girlfriend

        Good call! You know I’m always pro-boat shoe:

    • Mike

      Hi Megan. What are your thoughts on what length a polo shirt should be? I’m a shorter guy (5’5″) and a Medium size fits my build and shoulders, but not my height, so I’m wondering do I pay extra to have them hemmed, leave them as is, or tuck them in (a look I don’t care for)? Thanks.

      • Style Girlfriend

        If they have a tennis tail, feel free to tuck the shirt in in the front and leave it out in the back. I hear you on not loving the full-tuck, though. I’d say it’s worth it to pay the ten bucks (-ish) it costs to shorten them to a length you like. You’ll wear those shirts 1) more often and 2) with more confidence about your appearance. Seems worth it to me!

        • Mike

          Ten bucks? I think I prefer your tailor, cause that’s not the price the tailor in my neighborhood quoted me. But for length, I should basically go with the look in the images in the post?

          • Style Girlfriend

            To shorten a hemmed cotton shirt?? How much did he quote you?

      • Christopher

        I just talked to a guy who wore a polo shirt his mother described as “a skirt” (just above his knees). Don’t be that guy.

    • riceling

      Fantastic! Thanks for getting us on the right track with polo shirts!


    • Joe

      If you’re willing to shell out a couple extra bucks, Polo Ralph Lauren polos come in three different fits: classic (baggy), custom (slim), and slim (very slim). I’ll offer the key to the Ralph Lauren fit system: Ignore the other two and go for the custom fit. It’s slim fitting through the arms and chest while easing up a bit through the waist, and won’t run too long. A couple other brands have similar fit systems, the moderately slim/slim fit is usually a catch-all for guys of all body types :)

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