Menswear | Updated June 28, 2021 11:33 am
Originally Published May 29, 2020 11:33 am

This Summer, Consider the Terry Cloth Polo

Terry cloth — it's not just for towels!

Like wearing a towel, but better.
Like wearing a towel, but better.
Tombolo, OAS, Todd Snyder

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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, once favored for bathrobes and towels, is largely disregarded as an option, with people tending to gravitate towards linen and cotton. And while it might seem like a weird fabric to wear in the form of a shirt, it 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.

But there’s more to the toweling material than its benefits of absorption. 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 11 terry cloth polos (and polo adjacent shirting) ideal for enduring the summer (and its accompanying heat) ahead.

Bonobos The Soft Terry Polo

This shirt from Bonobos offers the look of a classic polo 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. Bonus points for the retro open collar, which makes the shirt perfect for transitioning from day to night.

Todd Snyder Terry Montauk Polo

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

UO Jacquard Terry Button-Down Shirt

Double down on texture with this terry button-down shirt from Urban Outfitters, which also features a jacquard pattern. The oversized fit works with the terry cloth fabric to further lend the shirt a relaxed feel that can be taken to the next level by layering it over a t-shirt or white tank.

OAS Terry Desert Shirt

Anyone nostalgic for 1970’s style will appreciate this OAS Cuba Terry Shirt in the Desert 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.

Sunspel Organic Cotton-Terry Polo Shirt

If you’re still unsure about venturing into terry territory, the pristine whiteness 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.

Orlebar Brown Terry Toweling Tailored Fit Polo Shirt

For those looking to do their best impression of Sean Connery in Goldfinger, look no further than this baby blue terry polo from Orlebar Brown. While it might not be a full on romper like the one Connery dons, the sky blue color is pretty identical to his, with the open collar communicating a similar 1960’s vibe.

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.

Faherty The Cabana Shirt

Taking inspiration from old-school seaside loungewear, Faherty’s Cabana Shirt is made from a sustainable fabric knit with a subtle geometric design. The terry is cut into a silhouette you already know and love, the camp style, complete with an open collar, turn-back placket and easy fit to keep things breezy. We recommend going the extra step and getting the matching sweatshorts to wear as a set.

Tombolo 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.

Marine Layer Terry Out 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 Out Polo from Marine Layer, made from a plush, absorbent terry cloth and featuring bold stripes of turquoise across the chest.

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.