7 Types of Polo Shirts: Pique, Long Sleeve, Rugby (and More)

When most people think of a polo shirt, they picture a short sleeve pique polo (like the classic Lacoste logo polo or Peter Manning NYC James Polo).

But did you know that there are many different types of polo shirts? In this article, we'll break down the most popular types of polo shirts available - along with some you may not have heard of.

Let's get into it!

Short Sleeve Polos

These are the most common types of polos. They can be made from many different materials, and they come in all sorts of different colors and patterns.

Short sleeve polo black

Source: The Modest Man

The basic structure is always the same:

  • Short sleeves (typically with finished hems)
  • Shorter torso length (sometimes longer in the back)
  • Usually worn untucked, but can be tucked
  • Soft, unstructured collar
  • Quarter length placket with 1-4 buttons

The most common type of polo is a pique polo. You’re probably familiar with the weight and feel of a pique polo.

Pique polo shirt

They’re heavier than t-shirts or dress shirts, which gives them plenty of drape. The fabric is textured and has a bit of natural stretch.

Pima Cotton Polos (Lightweight Polos)

Short sleeve polos can also be made from lighter weight cotton (for example, the Peter Manning NYC Pocket Polo). These wear more like a t-shirt than a pique polo.

Blue pocket polo

Or they can be made from cotton/poly blends or technical (performance) fabrics. Many athletic and golf apparel brands use performance fabrics to increase flex and moisture wicking capabilities.

Pique Polos

Traditionally pronounced “pee-kay” but often called “peek” by most people (either is okay), this refers to a certain type of fabric that many polos are made from.

Pique polo grey

It's the polo you're probably thinking of right now, the one you probably have in your closet.

This type of cotton is durable and has a bit of natural stretch built in. Some of the most popular polos, such as the ones you'll find from brands like Ralph Lauren and Lacoste, are pique polos.

Long Sleeve Polos

The only difference here is, you guessed it, the sleeves. Long sleeve polo shirts have full length sleeves, just like sweaters or button up shirts.

Long sleeve polo blue

Sometimes, long sleeve polos will have unique details that set them apart from their short sleeve counterparts, such as button down collars or structured, buttoning sleeve cuffs.

Long sleeve polo button cuffs

But they fall into the same category as any other polo: a relatively casual garment. The only difference is that long sleeves are more appropriate for fall and winter due to the extra coverage.

Wool Polos

A dressier version of the long sleeve polo, these are almost like Merino wool v-neck sweaters, just with collars and buttoning plackets.

Green wool polo

You can wear them on their own or as a layering piece. These are super comfortable and perfect for the cooler months, but don't expect them to be as durable as a pique polo (they're more like merino wool or cashmere sweaters).

Golf Polos

These typically have short sleeves for mobility. They’re pretty much always made from some sort of performance fabric, which means they have plenty of stretch built in. The fabric often has other helpful attributes built in, such as moisture wicking or temperature control.

Brian Harman

Brian Harman, one of our favorite shorter golfers, wearing a performance polo from Adidas | Source: ESPN

Since collared shirts are required on most golf courses, but comfort and functionality are paramount for any athlete, there are many polo shirts on the market that are made specifically for golfers.

Rugby Shirts

These are durable, heavy long sleeve polos that typically have broad horizontal stripes in alternating colors. Sometimes, they'll have a team or school sigil on the chest.

Classic rugby shirt from Rowing Blazers

They also often have contrast colors and cuffs. For example, red and blue stripes with white collars and cuffs.

Peter Manning NYC Polos

Here at PMNYC, we make a few different types of polos:

#1: The James Polo - our take on a classic short sleeve pique polo shirt, adjusted to fit perfectly on shorter guys.

The James Polo

#2: The Pocket Polo - a lightweight, more casual alternative to the pique polo (more like a cotton t-shirt with a collar and pocket)

Pocket Polo

#3: The Long Sleeve Polo - a classic pique polo with long sleeves and buttoning cuffs

Long sleeve polo

Regardless of which type of polo shirt you choose, we hope that you wear it in style and in good health!

Shop PMNYC Polos and T-Shirts