Choosing a polo shirt that fits comfortably and suits your style can be a challenge. Knowing the difference between a men’s and women’s polo shirt can help. This article will discuss those differences.

Men's vs Women's Polo Shirts

Quality polos can add a lot to your wardrobe. Tees can be casual and comfy during the summer months, but adding a collar to a shirt can dress it up quite a lot. Because polos can be purchased in a variety of weights and fabrics, you can find one that is comfortable and easy to care for with a bit of hunting.

Men’s vs Women’s Polo Shirts: Main Differences

Although a polo shirt is generally unisex, there are some differences with the main difference being the overall dimensions of the shirt.

  • Women’s polo shirts have different and sometimes smaller dimensions (narrow shoulders, shorter length, shorter sleeves, wider chest area, flares at the bottom)
  • Different style designs
  • Different button locations
  • Different logo placement

From the Top Down: Collar Features

Both men’s and women’s polos have a similar collar structure. The key to finding a comfortable collar is to pay careful attention to the weight and fabric content of your intended polo. For example, you may enjoy heavyweight cotton tees because they keep you cool and wick away moisture.

However, if you can’t stand a lot of bulk in a collar, don’t get a cotton polo. The collars on these are generally ribbed, which means they hold their shape.

If that shape is too crunchy for your comfort and you can’t stand the rubbing against your neck, that crunchiness will not go away with washing. By the time you soften the collar, you will wash away the bottom of the shirt.

yellow polo shirt on blue background

Shoulder Fit

The reason you really want to try on your polo shirt is to make sure it fits across the shoulders. If it’s too tight in the shoulders, the sleeves won’t fit and you won’t be able to move easily.

Obviously, men and women will have different fit concerns across the chest or the bust. If your chest is large and you don’t like a lot of bulk around the tummy, look for a knit blend that will drape close to the body under the chest.

Sleeve Length

As a general rule, the sleeves on men’s polo shirts are longer than on women’s polo shirts. Additionally, most women’s polo shirts have a binding at the end of the sleeve while men’s shirts don’t. Obviously, this is not universal.

If you are a woman with more bulk in the upper arms, a man’s polo may suit you better. Do be aware that the torso on a man’s shirt will be longer; this may not be comfortable if you need to tuck it in.

man wearing a red polo shirt

Sleeve Binding

Sleeve binding is generally a matter of personal taste. Do be aware that washing and drying can snug up the sleeve binding; if you buy your polos a bit big, this can be ideal. However, if the sleeves are too short, that tightness will make you miserable.

Carefully check the hem of the sleeve if it’s not bound. If there are a lot of loose strings where the seams meet under the arm, you will likely end up restitching that hem or paying someone to do it. If that area is tidy and snug, the hem should hold.

Bound sleeve hems always hold, but do check the sleeve length.

Torso Length

Women’s shirts are generally shorter. Both men’s and women’s polo shirts generally have a vented hem, which means there’s a flap that opens on both sides to give you a bit more flexibility. If you are a taller woman, consider a man’s polo. Yes, it buttons differently. It will also not ride up every time you move.

Material matters a great deal when considering the length of a polo shirt. If you prefer cotton, be aware that this fabric will not move easily over the garment you wear on the bottom.

Jean shorts and a knit polo can be quite flexible and loose; swap the knit polo for cotton and the shirt will rub against the shorts. If your tummy protrudes, you may not want to buy a cotton polo.

woman wearing a black polo shirt

Bottom Treatment

The vented bottom means you have two hems. Flip that hem up and study it from end to end. Take a hard look at the corners to make sure that all the stitches are tight.

Hemming these shirts with a needle and thread can be quite touchy; once you pierce the front of the fabric, your stitches can become quite obvious.

Additionally, the thread used in many modern garments is nylon and may pull apart when you try to restitch it into the shirt. Using a different color thread will also be an obvious repair. Buy something well-built to save hassle.

You can also find polos that are bound at the bottom. Like sleeve binding, bottom binding can shrink up in the drying process. However, if you’re short-waisted or really like a heavy-duty cotton polo, that bottom binding can make your polo much more comfortable and fit bitter.

These polos can also save bulk; if you like a tucked-in look but don’t want to wad up the shirt into your shorts or jeans, get a polo with binding around the bottom.

If you’re buying polos for a special event or for your business, do your best to find something middle-of-the-road. A knit and cotton blend will provide a collar that works pretty well for most of the folks who will be wearing it. To save fuss, avoid shirts with binding on the sleeve or the bottom hem.

white polo shirt drawings

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