Knowing whether or not you can button the top button of a polo shirt may seem simple; however, there’s more to it than meets the eye. There are many factors to consider, so can you button the top button of a polo shirt?
Generally, buttoning the top button of your polo shirt is not recommended. Leaving the top one or two buttons undone will allow maximum comfort and look the best. Although, there are a few exceptions, such as wearing a polo shirt alongside a blazer.
While that’s the gist, there’s much more to explore.
So, let’s dig deeper.
3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Button The Top Button Of A Polo
Understanding why you shouldn’t button the top button of your polo shirt is an essential part of any man’s fashion knowledge.
It comes down to several key factors, each of similar significance.
1. It’s Uncomfortable
Although looking great is important, ensuring you’re comfortable while doing so is just as important.
Having the top button of your polo shirt done up is often very uncomfortable as it can cause a feeling of tightness around your neck.
Additionally, being physically uncomfortable can lead to other feelings of discomfort. It is, therefore, essential to ensure maximum comfort when choosing your outfit – even down to seemingly minimal factors like the top button of your polo shirt.
Polo shirts are supposed to be easy garments to take care of and wear. They need little to no ironing and are made of knitted rather than woven material (like most button-ups).
The use of knitted material allows for extra comfort and freedom of movement.
Therefore, by doing up the top button of your polo shirt, you are counteracting the additional comfort measures of the polo shirt and – to a certain extent – defeating one of its purposes.
2. It Can Be Too Formal
Typically, doing up the top button of your shirt is associated with formality – regardless of shirt type.
Polo shirts are often used to bridge the gap between casual and formal attire, and, by doing up the top button, it can lean too much towards formality.
This isn’t necessarily because polo shirts themselves are inherently formal, but because it’s widely accepted that the top button of your shirt must be done up at formal events.
Also, doing up the top button of your polo shirt likens it to a more formal item of clothing such as a dress shirt.
Despite typically being considered more formal, polo shirts can work in casual situations just as well.
Leaving the top button undone creates versatility – allowing for both casual and smart/business casual occasions.
3. It’s Unflattering
When you button the top of your polo shirt, it can be unflattering – particularly compared to when it’s undone.
Unbuttoning the top button of your polo shirt creates a “V” shape, similar to that of a v-neck.
The “V” shape can make your neck seem slightly longer, slimming your overall figure. It can also make you appear taller.
On the other hand, when the top button of your polo shirt is buttoned, it can make your neck seem shorter and, therefore, affect your stature.
This is unflattering and should be avoided – even if the alternative is simply visual trickery.
2 Exceptions When You May Be Able To Button The Top Button Of A Polo
While fastening the top button of your polo should generally be avoided, there are a few exceptions.
It may even be preferable to button the top button in some situations rather than leaving it undone.
1. With A Tie
Wearing a polo shirt with a tie isn’t common practice; however, it still happens from time to time.
Your polo shirt should always be fully buttoned up when wearing a polo shirt with a tie.
If your top button isn’t done up when wearing a tie, it will look awkward and sloppy – as if you haven’t put in any effort.
The likelihood is that, if wearing a tie, you’ll be attending a business-casual event, at least; it may even be more formal.
Looking awkward and sloppy, especially at a formal event, is inappropriate and should always be avoided.
Therefore, it’s good practice to ensure that the top button of your polo shirt is always done up if wearing a tie alongside it.
2. When Wearing A Blazer
It’s unusual to see a blazer over a polo shirt; however, this doesn’t mean it looks bad. A blazer with your polo shirt can create a clean and polished look while remaining relatively casual.
When wearing a blazer over your polo shirt, it’s acceptable to do up the top button of your polo shirt. Although, it isn’t a necessity.
Because blazers are typically associated with the formality of at least business-casual attire, they can add a touch of formality to your outfit.
Polo shirts form a nice middle-ground between formal and casual clothing. This means that they can be dressed up or down according to the situation.
Blazers are a great way to dress up your polo shirt without going overboard.
Fastening the top button of your polo shirt reinforces the formality of the blazer in a subtle way. This is great for scenarios such as a business-casual dress code.
This is not the only way to wear the buttons of your polo shirt with a blazer.
If you wish to wear a blazer with your polo shirt but don’t want to look too formal or overdressed, a simple solution is to leave one or two of your polo shirt buttons undone.
Therefore, buttoning the top button of your polo shirt is acceptable – and sometimes preferred – when worn alongside a blazer.
2 Tips For Buttoning The Top Button Of A Polo (If You Can)
While it’s unusual to button the top button of your polo shirt, it can be done. However, it’s important to do it the right way when doing so.
Here are some tips for buttoning the top button of your polo shirt – when it’s appropriate.
1. Keep Your Collar Tidy
There’s arguably nothing worse than an untidy collar when it comes to polo shirts.
Whether it’s creased, uneven, or doesn’t fit right, it’s very unflattering and can ruin an outfit. This is especially true when doing up the top button of your polo shirt.
Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure your collar is kept tidy.
While polo shirts don’t need ironing often, ironing is the best way to restore the collar’s crisp appearance if it becomes creased.
Collar curling is another problem you may encounter with your polo shirts. Ironing can remedy this.
You can buy polo shirts with shirt-style collars to avoid curling almost entirely. Shirt-style collars have an interlining that helps maintain the shape and collar structure.
2. Ensure It’s Comfortable
As mentioned previously, buttoning the top button of your polo shirt can be uncomfortable. It can restrict movement and feel tight around your neck.
Therefore it’s crucial to maintain maximum comfort when the top button of your polo shirt is done up.
The most critical factor in making sure your polo shirt isn’t uncomfortable when fully buttoned is ensuring it fits properly.
A polo shirt that is slightly too small could inhibit it from being comfortable.
The best fit for a polo shirt is slim but not tight. You should be able to move freely, but it shouldn’t feel baggy or loose.
Additionally, the sleeves of your polo shirt should come down about halfway between your elbow and your shoulder.
To conclude, it’s a general guideline that you shouldn’t button the top button of your polo shirt. However, there are a few exceptions – particularly when leaning towards more formal occasions.