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    polo shirt alternatives?

    Hey all. I'm looking for some wisdom from the Dappered hive mind. I work in an office setting with a mostly business casual dress code. The weather in the Washington DC area is starting to get too hot for sportcoats, even lightweight ones, and I don't look terribly good in just a tucked in shirt. Let's just say retiring from the Army last year has not been kind to my midsection. (go ahead - launch the "fat tanker" jokes. I resemble every bit of it. Death before dismount! Hooah!) The obvious move is polo shirts, but I don't know, I just kinda hate polo shirts. I hate the monograms. I hate the "corporate drone" vibe. But business casual alternatives are kind of hard to pin down. Short-sleeve dress shirts are out. Sorry, I just can't do the Sipowicz look. I like linen and chambray shirts for casual wear at home, but those seem a little frumpy and casual for the office. Aloha shirts don't seem entirely appropriate here, except maybe as an occasional "casual Friday" thing. Same with camp shirts and other vacation-style shirts. I'm curious about guayberas, but am concerned that being a non-Hispanic white guy without a distinguished goatee, a guaybera may come off as a little too affected. So, I don't know. Any good ideas or should I just check my ego and wear polos like everyone else?

    #2
    Hey neighbor. See any cicadas recently? :P
    I have a guayabera, I feel similar, but If I wear it to a barbecue or beer garden, I don't feel that problem. Also, a guayabera is more meant for social gatherings, not business.
    I have the same midsection problem, and a blazer over a polo makes me feel better about it, but that's still a little warm some times.
    A sans-polo option I like: a cotton/linen or linen shirt with a button down collar is light, and although it's not short sleeves, you can roll the sleeves and get a little air. The button down collar makes it look a little more casual than a regular linen shirt, which to me makes it look like it can stand on its own and not look like you're missing a jacket over it. For me, it works with chinos. Haven't worn them with wool pants yet.

    Jcrew Factory has a good sale on them right now, makes it worth getting a couple
    https://factory.jcrew.com/p/mens-clo...on-shirt/AL179

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      #3
      Patagonia has some nice shirts of you are willing to pay the money. They have a hemp shirt and it works here in the desert. They also have a western shirt if you want to go sort of like the guaybera. I have also found pure linen to be great as I get bored with wearing polos all the time.

      https://www.patagonia.com/product/me...id=mens-shirts

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        #4
        This is something of a conundrum if you don't like polos. IMO the ones made of natural materials - or synthetics that look natural - are a lot less corporate drone-y these days than the shiny synthetic "performance" polos you see all over golf courses and other corporate-heavy locations. And there are plenty of places you can get polos without logos or any branding - J Crew, Uniqlo, LL Bean, Lands End - polos from those placed don't have a horse or alligator or any other branding on them unless you spring for monogramming from Bean or LE. But that doesn't really help you out if you're dead set against polos.

        I would try a short sleeve button up that doesn't have a camp collar but also obviously isn't a dress shirt - something with a pattern like those Patagonia ones jvargas linked to. Maybe one of the check patterns - something that's not Aloha shirt-y but also not dress shirt-y. I would try one and see what you think - don't buy a half dozen to start because you may find they're not any better than the dreaded polo and maybe are even worse.

        Linen wrinkles like crazy and is indeed tough to pull off at the office because of that. You could try seersucker or madras. Seersucker looks a little textured - so leans casual - but isn't full on wrinkled mess like linen. Madras in the right pattern can look pretty put together but if you go too loud you can look like a tourist on tropical vacation real easily. What I mostly do is roll the sleeves up on an OCBD or poplin shirt, which poplin especially is often a pretty light weight shirting material. I kind of wonder if some companies aren't doing lighter weight, more open weave oxford cloth and poplin for hot weather. Seems like something there'd be a market for.

        Guayaberas are tropical evening wear and hence it's sort of like wearing a tuxedo shirt to the office...which doesn't look quite right either.
        “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

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          #5
          Thanks everyone. I appreciate the recommendations. I like those Patagonia shirts and will give them a good look. I appreciate the other opinions as well. The crux is really going to be finding some shirts that I can wear untucked, but still look professional enough. Maybe polo sans logo really is the best option.

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            #6
            You’re saying you want to wear these untucked too?!?! You’ve gone off the rails bruv. Created a path entirely too narrow. Legit can’t think of anything which fits your criteria.

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              #7
              One other option to consider is something like this short sleeved polo/cardigan hybrid form Abercrombie and Fitch. https://www.abercrombie.com/shop/us/...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

              I think it gives off a Jude Law as Dickie Greeleaf vibe, but there's a risk you might veer into Charlie Sheen in 2.5 Men territory if you go a little wrong with the look.
              “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

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                #8
                untucked and business casual dont really mesh in my mind. sometimes we just do the best we can within our constraints. personally, I dislike polos too. But the polo has come a long way in the last several years. different cuts and materials have helped out. I still dont wear them though lol.

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                  #9
                  I'm with idvsego on this. Back when I was working in an office and we were business casual, one fellow would wear his dress shit untucked. And the shirt was massively too big for him. I was ALWAYS bothered by how sloppy he looked. Of course it wasn't my place to say anything, and I never did. But yeah, untucked and business casual do not mesh for me.

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by DocDave View Post
                    I'm with idvsego on this. Back when I was working in an office and we were business casual, one fellow would wear his dress shit untucked. And the shirt was massively too big for him. I was ALWAYS bothered by how sloppy he looked. Of course it wasn't my place to say anything, and I never did. But yeah, untucked and business casual do not mesh for me.
                    Yeah anything in the dress shirt spectrum, or even most casual button ups like madras, seersucker, and chambray look kind of sloppy untucked at the office. Especially dress shirts, which are intentionally cut longer to stay tucked in better, look really sloppy untucked. The wrinkle free ones with a sheen really demand to be tucked or they just don't look right. A cotton OCBD or chambray, denim, madras etc. looks fine untucked so long as it's not dress-shirt long and you're off duty.

                    The magic of polos is if they fit right they're short enough that you can wear them untucked at the office without looking sloppy. There really aren't many other shirt types that enable that.
                    “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by tankerjohn View Post
                      The crux is really going to be finding some shirts that I can wear untucked, but still look professional enough.
                      I think wearing any shirt untucked while trying to look professional is a rather large hurdle. Not bashing, as it sounds like you can wear just about whatever you want to work and be okay, so really your options seem unlimited.

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                        #12
                        Well you're in quite the pickle! I just picked up one of these from Spier and Mackay that I think could meet all your requirements (not a short sleeve dress shirt, not a polo, can be worn untucked, and should be nice a breezy cool)

                        https://www.spierandmackay.com/collection/popovers

                        It's essentially a linen shirt, but with the popover style and flat across the bottom hem, it could, or perhaps is intended to, be worn untucked.

                        But I'll echo what others have said, lotttsa good polo options out there nowadays that definitely do not make you look like you're on a boat in a cologne ad.

                        I really dig the woven/sweater style polos that have become pretty ubiquitous of late. Especially if you find one with a little linen in the weave, they actually wear much cooler than a traditional polo. And definitely make you look exactly like John David Washington in Tenet

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                          #13
                          Oh, and don't be Hawaiian shirt at the office guy man.

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                            #14
                            Maybe a polo sweater would work for you. They are meant to be worn untucked with the ribbed band at the bottom:

                            https://www.jcrew.com/m/mens_categor...name=hthr-navy

                            https://www.jcrew.com/p/mens_categor...persimmon-marl

                            there are plenty of other options out there, but this might fit the bill.

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                              #15
                              Untucked dress shirt = no way! You're either into night shirt territory or drunk at the tail end of the wedding reception territory. Neither good.

                              Those popovers do look good for hot weather. Don't know if I could pull it off without a jacket. But I did ask for polo alternatives...

                              Hawaiian shirt guy? C'mon man! Can't I have a little fun?

                              I honestly haven't given polo sweaters much thought. Thanks for the recommend.

                              Most people I see around the office wear their polos untucked. And those that don't, probably should to mitigate the muffin-top. So I think I would be safe to untuck an appropriately short tailed button-up shirt and not stand out as the slobby guy. But I appreciate the warning to tread carefully. And before anybody does it, don't bother linking to Untuckit shirts. There's a special place in menswear-hell for those.

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