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The Intelligent Consumer: Polo performance

Fine-knit polo shirts, I have decided, are rather scrummy. In winter, a man in a long-sleeved, fine-wool polo shirt can do little wrong in my book. But it's nearly summer, so this week we are looking at short- sleeved, lighter-fabric ones, as modelled by Chris (far right), our in- house model, who likes art, the opera, sport and standing around pensively doing things with his hands. Anyway, polo shirts: they aren't as obvious as your bog-standard man's cotton shirt (and easier to wear because they don't need ironing, yeah!), yet they aren't as sporty as those in textured cotton (think Lacoste). At the big, grown-up, designer end, Nicole Farhi and Paul Smith make some of the best, although I have a bit of a penchant for John Smedley ones in the silk-like Sea Island cotton (if you've never stroked someone who's wearing Sea Island cotton, get them to a John Smedley stockist and make them try one on, for goodness sake). So ragazzi, there is no excuse for shabby T-shirts, creased shirts or string vests this summer. AB

Above: Green rayon top, pounds 120, PS by Paul Smith, 43 Floral Street, London WC2, 0171 379 7133, and Paul Smith, 66-68 Bridge Street, Manchester, 0161 831 9111

Above right: Blue check cotton top, pounds 59, Aquascutum. Enquiries: 0800 282922

Right: Green cotton top with navy trim on collar, pounds 22.50, Burton Menswear, West One Shopping Centre, 379 Oxford Street, London W1, and 45-49 The Headrow, Leeds. Enquiries: 0321 287866

Below: Navy/white striped Sea Island cotton top, pounds 63, John Smedley, from American Retro, 35 Old Compton Street, London W1, and S Fisher, 22- 23 Burlington Arcade, London W1. Enquiries: 0171 734 1519

Below right: Green zig-zag knit-top, pounds 36.99, Farah, from Way-In, Harrods, London SW1, and Gorgeous, Church Street, Manchester. Enquiries: 01376 502345

Right: Green check cotton-knit top, pounds 139, checked cotton shorts, pounds 89, Nicole Farhi, 55-56 Long Acre, London WC2. Enquiries: 0171 240 9772