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Style Rules 101: A golf polo is not business casual

Ernie Els at the RBC Canadian Open, displaying his sports style.  His shirt?  Golf approved, not work approved.
Photo by Hunter Martin (Getty Images)

With hot summer temperatures persisting and the Olympics in full swing, it's easy to get in a sports-driven mind-set. We've noticed it here in our own office, with the egregious use of golf-style polo shirts as the "business casual" choice de rigueur.

By "golf-style polo," we mean those ubiquitous polo shirts in technical material. Slightly shiny, and slicker than the traditional polo material, it's the kind of polo made popular by Tiger Woods and Ernie Els. Plenty of retailers, including higher-end ones like Ralph Lauren sell them on to unsuspecting men who buy them in five different colors, pair them with their Dockers, and soldier on to work in a never-ending style rut.

We know it is an easy formula: polo shirt plus khaki pants, but Men of Minnesota, we'd like to exhort you to a higher level of style. If the description of your shirt says "moisture-wicking," it's probably too casual for the office. Save the golf shirt for golf, and try something else for work - whether it's a dress shirt in a fun stripe or great gingham pattern, or a lightweight cotton sweater for those well air-conditioned offices. We'll even buy a regular polo in the very casual places, as long as you promise not to make it a uniform.

Want more style rules? Check out some of our other favorites here.

For more on men's style, check out Bethany's other work, or subscribe via email to get it delivered piping hot to your inbox. Have a question or comment? Email her at and you may just see it here.


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