Tips for Choosing the Right Polo Shirt for Your Logo

Did you know that the garment we call a polo shirt, sport shirt, or golf shirt actually originated on the tennis court? In 1929, French tennis champ René Lacoste created a short-sleeved piqué knit collared shirt with a buttoned placket. Soon, he added an embroidered crocodile – a symbol of his tenacity on the court – to the left chest area. The shirt caught on among polo players, and by 1950, “polo shirt” was the garment’s accepted name. The embroidery tradition has lived on as well. Since polo shirts are popular on the golf course, in the board room, and around town, many companies put their logo on the shirts and give them to employees and clients.

Choosing a polo shirt for your company logo can be kind of overwhelming, especially if you’re not particularly fashion-conscious. Here are the top 5 features to pay attention to when making your selection.

1. Fabric type and texture

The original polo shirts were 100% cotton, and that fabric is still very popular – especially premium cottons like Tangüis and Pima. These are particular varieties of cotton noted for their quality, softness, and durability. Cotton/poly blends are also popular, because the fabric is wrinkle-resistant and less likely to shrink. Some go for 100% polyester, because of the sturdiness of the fabric when washed over and over again, and because of moisture-wicking properties that make it great in sweaty situations. Finally, you may prefer an exotic or unusual fabric like bamboo or eco-friendly choices like recycled polyester and organic cotton.

Fabric content is just half the cell phone cases equation, however. The texture of the fabric determines its look and feel. Jersey is a casual, inexpensive choice. The same sort of fabric used for T-shirts, it is great for screen printing or embroidery. Similar to jersey, interlock fabric is double-knit, making it thicker and smoother. Piqué is the original polo shirt fabric; if you look at it closely, you’ll see that it has a waffle-weave texture. Interesting tonal effects can be achieved with jacquard fabric, which looks and feels luxurious. Finally, mesh fabric is popular for athletic settings, because the space between the fibers allows the garment to breathe.

2. Performance Features

The term “performance fabric” refers to a fabric that has been designed to provide practical benefits to the wearer. They make the experience of wearing the garment more pleasant and convenient. Moisture-wicking or moisture-management polo shirts pull sweat away from the body and promote evaporation. They keep the wearer cool and dry, and are highly desired by golfers and hard-working employees. Where there’s sweat, there may be odor, so anti-microbial features are important to curb the growth of smelly bacteria. Stain-resistant fabric is a must if the polo shirt will be worn in a restaurant or hospital. Teflon and Scotchgard are popular fabric treatment methods that make spills easier to clean. Snag-resistant fabrics help keep the sport shirt looking new for a long time, and are suggested for any heavy-duty use.

3. Brand

It’s possible to put your logo on a polo shirt with a recognizable brand name like Adidas, Champion, Nike, and so on. The people you give a brand-name polo to will see the brand and know they’ve gotten a high-quality garment. There is one possible downside to a brand-name sport shirt, however: the manufacturer’s logo, like the Adidas stripes or Nike swoosh, may appear prominently on the shirt and could take attention away from your logo. The other option is private label polo shirts. These garments are manufactured specifically for embroidery and other logo decoration. You may not know the names from retail stores, but the quality and value may be excellent.

4. Color

Most of the time, polo shirts are one color from top to bottom – in other words, they are solid color sport shirts. Another option, which is favored in athletic settings, is the color block polo shirt. This garment combines different colors in different areas of the shirt. For example, the front and back of the shirt may be grey, and the side panels may be black. There may be stylish color panels on the sleeves or chest. Universities love color-block polos because they can choose a shirt that combines their school colors. Another color consideration is tipping. A tipped polo includes narrow borders on the collar and sleeve hems. Piping is similar, but it highlights the seams of the garment.

5. Decoration

Last but certainly not least, consider the decoration method used to apply your logo to the polo shirt. Embroidery on the left-chest area is the traditional option, going all the way back to Lacoste’s original crocodile. The benefits of embroidery include durability and a polished, classy look. If you’re going for a less traditional look, other spots for your logo include the upper back or the sleeve. Of course, embroidery isn’t the only way. You could opt for screen printing if the polo’s fabric is smooth, like jersey or interlock. New sport shirt decorating trends include laser etching, which essentially “burns” the surface of the fabric to create a tone-on-tone design, and heat seals.

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