Menswear | Updated July 8, 2022 11:33 am

The Terry Cloth Polo Is an Easy Summer Style Hack

Terry cloth — it's not just for towels!

a collage of terry cloth polos on a light pink background
Nordstrom/Mr Porter

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Summer is gross. Yes, it’s a time of warmth and sunshine and wearing considerably less clothing, but there’s a host of other factors to contend with, namely the oppressive heat and humidity that makes getting dressed feel like a chore. It’s a conundrum that presents itself every year, without fail — how does one get appropriately dressed, in the full sense of the word, without sacrificing style or comfort? As it turns out, the solution has been available for quite some time, and it’s the terry cloth polo.

The fabric, largely disregarded as an option, may seem like a less than obvious choice when compared to its linen and cotton; after all it’s a material favored for bathrobes and towels, not clothing. But while it might seem like a weird fabric to wear in the form of a shirt, it actually makes sense as the ideal material for summer. After all, if it works in absorbing water post-shower or swim, just think of all the excess sweat it’ll sop up.

And there’s so much more to the terry than its sweat-wicking properties. Let’s face it, you’re inevitably going to wear a polo come summer, so at the very least make it one that’s interesting rather than predictable, and a terry cloth polo provides just the right amount of unconventionality. There’s an inherent retro-ness to a terry polo (maybe due to Sean Connery’s baby blue terry onesie he donned as Bond) that lends it a fun-ness. Plus, it’s an extremely tactile fabric — think of it as a party trick.

Below, you’ll find 12 toweling toss-ons ideal for enduring the summer (and its accompanying heat) ahead. From johnny collars to button-throughs, the best terry cloth polos to kick things up a notch this summer.

a green terry polo from Bonobos on a grey background

Bonobos Terry Johnny Collar Polo

This shirt from Bonobos offers the look of a classic Johnny collar polo — no buttons, no problem — with the feel of your softest, most favorite beach towel, appropriate enough to wear to work all while allowing you to feel like you’re on vacation, even if you’re stuck in the office.

a yellow terry polo from Todd Snyder on a grey background
Todd Snyder

Todd Snyder Terry Montauk Polo

Snyder’s take on terry is relatively simple in regards to silhouette, and even this maize hue isn’t too yellow. Think of it as your beginner terry polo.

a blue terry polo from Mr P on a grey background
Mr Porter

Mr Porter Organic Cotton-Terry Polo Shirt

Double down on texture with this terry button-down shirt from Mr Porter’s in-house Mr P, which also features a swanky johnny collar. Bonus points for the steel blue hue involved — it’s got international man of mystery written all over it.

a multi-colored terry polo from OAS on a grey background

OAS Terry Field Polo

Anyone nostalgic for 1970’s style will appreciate this OAS Terry Filed Polo in the multi-colored pattern. It’s a nod to a different era without being costume-y or tacky. In fact, it does a pretty good job of encapsulating summer in both fabric and pattern.

a grey terry polo from Sunspel on a grey background
Mr Porter

Sunspel Organic Cotton-Terry Polo Shirt

If you’re still unsure about venturing into terry territory, the smooth greyness of this Sunspel polo helps to disguise the fabric so that at first glance it will appear to be just another polo. But you’ll know better. It’s a basic that’s not so basic.

a blue terry polo from Bogey Boys on a grey background

Bogey Boys Terry Cloth Polo

You may or may not remember the hit track “Thrift Shop”, but regardless, rapper Macklemore’s golf-inspired Bogey Boys is doing wonders for trad-style clothes, terry polos included. Dressed up in a supple baby blue and as ready to hit the club as the links, it’s the perfect swanky polo to keep ’em guessing.

a red terry polo from Rythem on a grey background

Rhythm Vintage Terry Polo

While this is a terry shirt, Rhythm’s polo differs from most in that instead of being made simply from cotton, it’s made from linen-cotton blend to lend it extra softness and breathability. With an artfully faded wash and relaxed buttonless collar, it’s the ultimate laidback polo.

A purple striped terry polo from Faherty on a grey background

Faherty The Cabana Towel Terry Polo

Taking inspiration from old-school seaside loungewear, Faherty’s Cabana Towel Terry Polo is made from a sustainable fabric knit with a bold stripe design. The terry is cut into a silhouette you already know and love, with an easy fit to keep things breezy.

a green terry polo from Tombolo on a grey background

Tombolo Terry Polo

Despite the description of this Tombolo Polo reading, “This is not Mr. Lauren’s polo. It’s something else entirely, and it is not for the faint of heart!,” we advise you not to let it discourage your dissuade you from trying out the shirt for yourself. While it certainly isn’t your typical Ralph Lauren polo, that’s entirely the point, the terry cloth and deep placket meant to offer less of a preppy and more of a Palm Springs look. So don’t worry, you have what it takes to pull it off.

a white striped terry polo from Marine Layer on a grey background

Marine Layer Terry Stripe Polo

Sure, you could settle for a plain white polo — or you could add a bit of both texture and color to the style with this Terry Stripe Polo from Marine Layer, made from a plush, absorbent terry cloth and featuring bold stripes of rainbow across the chest.

a blue patterned terry polo from Dandy Del Mar on a grey background
Dandy Del Mar

Dandy Del Mar Gaucho Terry Shirt

Terry cloth might feel like a distinctly beach-y fabric, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be melded with other aesthetics. Take the above shirt from Dandy Del Mar as example, offering a super soft and lightweight terry cloth fabric in the form of a Western-style shirt, complete with contrast piping and floral details at the chest. Because even cowboys enjoy the beach.

A light blue and yellow color-blocked terry polo from FILA on a grey background
Urban Outfitters

FILA Terry Gramme Polo Shirt

FILA”s color-blocked Gramme Polo is old-school tennis goodness, in a neutral, sporty pattern that would make McEnroe red with envy.