It never fails: the sun comes out, the coats go into storage…and pretty soon, we’re thinking of polo shirts. They’re a warm-weather classic for most of the Western Hemisphere, and for 2012, we’ve rounded up the three most important models, from the preppy to the fashion-forward, to help you attack the summer in style.

The Rugby
It’s the preppy gold standard. They’re loud, they’re loose, and they look great with a few grass stains. Think JFK Jr. and Martha’s Vineyard. It’s also the most casual of the three options, so don’t try fitting it under a suit.
The Favorite: Gant Rugger
The Runner-Up: Band of Outsiders

The Minimalist
That means no logos and no bullshit. These rise or fall on their cut and the quality of the fabric, which means both are note-perfect. It’s on the formal side, but should play just as well over raw denim if you’re so inclined.
The Favorite: Kent Wang
The Runner-Up: Their e-commerce isn’t up to snuff, but if you’re in New York or Tokyo, Muji makes a pretty good one.

The Collage
And finally, the adventurous option. It’s not exactly a trend, but classic brands like Sunspel have started to get surprisingly adventurous with the classic item, starting with motley mashups like the one seen above. It’s an avant-garde twist on the classic item—which is a fancy way of saying it’s a little harder to pull off. But you’ve never backed off from a challenge before…
The Favorite: Sunspel
The Runner-Up: Kitsuné

Wear them well.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom