Why Kids’ Polo Shirts Are Essential Back-to-School Clothing Items

kids polo shirts back to school

The back-to-school season is a hectic time for parents. Whether you are sending your little one off to her first day of pre-K or your son is heading off to college, there is a lot that needs to be done and purchased before the first day of the new school year rolls around. From books and school supplies to a brand-new wardrobe filled with all the latest fashions, there is a ton of shopping that needs to be done, and finding all the right stuff isn’t always easy.

No matter how old your child is, polo shirts are one thing you should stock up on prior to the beginning of each new school year. Whether your child’s school requires them as part of a uniform or you are looking for wardrobe staples for a child who goes to a school with a more relaxed dress code, kids’ polo shirts are essential for back to school for several reasons. What makes polo shirts such a great investment for kids of all ages? Keep reading to find out!

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History of the Polo Shirt

With styles and trends coming and going on an almost daily basis, it is easy to forget that some wardrobe staples like the polo shirt has been around for decades. In fact, the first variation of what is now considered the classic polo was designed for Indian polo players all the way back in 1875. Originally designed to be more breathable and less restrictive than the long-sleeved shirts players previously wore, they proved to be much more comfortable for playing in India’s sweltering heat. More than half a century later, Rene Lacoste wore a polo shirt of his own design while playing in the U.S. Open. Since then, this iconic shirt has been a fashion mainstay in the U.S.

In 1952, a variation of the polo shirt featuring an iconic laurel wreath was designed by British tennis champion Fred Perry as part of his sportswear line. 1972 saw the launch of the American Ralph Lauren Polo brand, and today the timeless top is worn by athletes, celebrities and just about everyone else.

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Timeless Styling

The polo shirt may be nearly 150 years old, but it features a timeless design that never goes out of style. While the exact design has changed slightly over the years, it has remained a popular choice for well over a century. With that long of a history, this is clearly one type of shirt that isn’t going anywhere.

portrait of boy wearing worn polo shirt outdoors

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Gender Neutrality

You may think of polos as being more of a wardrobe staple for boys and men, but they are just as appropriate for girls and women. In fact, there are a lot of school uniforms that require both boys and girls to wear polos. They typically aren’t baggy, but they also aren’t form-fitting, which  helps prevent unwanted distractions in the classroom. They’re more stylish than a plain tee, and they look nice on both genders.

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When it comes to putting together a wardrobe for your child for the entire school year, versatility is important. For most parents, finding pieces that work well together in several outfits is a top priority. It’s also important to find clothing that works for both school and weekend activities.

Polos come in a number of styles and materials, and you can find them in just about any color you can imagine. Whether your child prefers the basics or would rather have something that stands out a bit more, finding something that suits their taste — or the school’s dress code — is easy. There are also both long-sleeved and short-sleeved polos, making them appropriate for year-round wear.

When you think about this type of shirt, you may think about someone who is dressed appropriately to work in an office with a business casual wardrobe, and you wouldn’t be wrong. That is not the only setting that is appropriate for a polo, though. They are an excellent choice for regular everyday wear, and they are also good to wear on the weekends. Polos made from lighter fabric work well for outdoor play during warmer weather, and long-sleeved varieties made from thermal material work perfectly to layer over a tank top or under a  T-shirt during the chillier months.

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Your child may want all the latest trends and biggest name brands. If you can afford to pick up everything they want, that is awesome. If you are like most parents, though, you are probably working on a limited budget — especially if you have multiple kids to shop for. And when you need to get a lot of clothing for a little bit of money, polo shirts are a great option. When purchasing bulk t shirts, like kids’ polos, cost as little as $2.49 each. What’s not to love about that?

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woman in blue polo shirtAs a parent, you definitely do not need to be told that kids are hard on their clothes. From the youngest preschoolers all the way up to high school kids, it seems like they all have a knack for wearing through their clothes at an alarming rate. Regular T-shirts offer pretty good durability, but since most polos are made using thicker material, they can last even longer. They are not prone to rips and tears, and they stand up well to repeated washings and dryings. This, of course, means that they are more likely than many other apparel items to actually last the entire school year.

Since they are durable, they also work extremely well for large families. Rather than needing to buy everything new for each child every single year, polos can often be passed down once one child outgrows them. In other words, for less than $3, you can have shirts that will stand up to being worn by multiple members of your family.

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How Many Polos Should You Buy?

We’ve made a pretty strong case for why kids polo shirts are essential back-to-school items, and you have likely decided to add them to your own shopping list. You may be wondering, though, how many you need to buy. In truth, there is really no such thing as too many polos. In practice, though, most of us have limited budgets and don’t really feel compelled to provide our kids with a brand-new shirt for every day of the school year.

If your child needs to wear a polo or collared shirt to meet their school’s dress code, it’s a good idea to have at least six. This provides one for each day of the week, plus an extra. You can get away with fewer, of course, but having six means never having to worry about hearing at 10 p.m. on a school night that your son or daughter has no clean shirt to wear the next day.

If you are buying polos in addition to other tops for your child’s wardrobe, a minimum of three should be sufficient. We recommend picking up at least one in black and one in white. Having these basic colors means having a shirt for your child that can be dressed up or dressed down for just about any occasion. A black polo paired with jeans is a comfortable and stylish option for a regular day of school, while a white one with a pair of nice pants is dressy enough for church, weddings and other semi-formal occasions.

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Simple Rules for Helping Your Child Wear a Polo Correctly

If you are sending your 5-year-old off to kindergarten in a polo, there is really no need to worry about getting the look just right. Honestly, what kindergartener looks the same at the end of the day as she did at the beginning anyway? If your kids are older, though, or they need to dress up for a special occasion or something like their first job interview, knowing a few simple rules for wearing polos will keep them looking their best.

boy buttoning polo shirt

For starters, this type of shirt should never be worn tucked in. Instead, it should fit so that the bottom just skims the waistband of your child’s pants. And speaking of fit, polos should have a trim fit that is not too loose or too tight. The sleeve hem should sit at approximately mid-bicep, and it should neither too snug nor too loose. If there is more than an inch of give, it is probably too loose. Remember that polos are meant to be a bit dressier than the average T-shirt. Choosing one that fits appropriately keeps it from looking sloppy or too small.

As for popping the collar: Let’s leave that trend back in the early 2000s where it belongs. The collars should always be worn turned down. In most instances, fastening all the buttons is recommended. In more casual settings, though, it is fine to leave the top button undone. Generally, leaving all the buttons undone is considered a fashion no-no.

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A few well-fitting polo shirts are must-have apparel items for any back-to-school wardrobe. Whether a collared shirt is required by your child’s school dress code or you are just looking for versatile tops that are likely to last the entire school year, these classic shirts are the way to go. Available in numerous styles, colors and materials, they offer exceptional versatility and are appropriate for boys and girls alike. They never go out of style, and they work just as well in the classroom as they do on the playground. If you are in the market for new shirts for your family this school year, you can’t go wrong with kids’ polo shirts.

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