UPDATE: My original list of Sunspel Riviera Polo alternatives was one of my most popular posts in 2020. Unfortunately, most of the alternatives I found aren’t available again this year. I didn’t want to keep sending you to a bunch of broken product links, so I decided to revisit this post and find a new selection of alternatives.
The Sunspel Riviera Polo has become a staple for Bond fans looking for a relatively low-cost Bond brand to buy. Compared to brands like Tom Ford and even Orlebar Brown, the Sunspel Riviera Polo’s $135 price tag is modest.
But $135 for a polo shirt is still a lot of money. It’s hard to find budget-friendly options that replicate all the details from the Sunspel polo, but not impossible. Here’s what I look for: a breast pocket, a point collar, a hem that lands at your hips and a tailored-but-not-tight fit. Aside from those, features like a two-button placket and woven fabric are extra considerations.
With those criteria in mind, here is my updated list of budget-friendly Sunspel Riviera Polo alternatives to help you replicate that Casino Royale look.
This Goodthreads polo is one of the few alternatives from last year that are still available. It doesn’t look like it has many bells and whistles, and it looks less fitted that some of the other options on this list. But it has a nice collar, a straight hem, and a breast pocket (although it’s the wrong shape). It’s definitely not the closest match for the Sunspel polo, but if you’re looking for a basic navy polo to pair with tan pants, this will definitely do the trick.
I’m in love with this polo. As looks go, it’s the perfect alternative for the Riviera polo. It has the point collar, the breast pocket, the right length in the hem, that perfect tailored look AND it has a two-button placket. That should be reason enough to buy it, but this one has the added bonus of being a towelling shirt. I love a good towelling shirt. Plus, in this context, it combines Connery’s towelling attire with one of Craig’s most iconic looks—an impossible combination to beat. (I already ordered one!)
Honestly, I’m on the fence about this option. I chose it because it checks all the right boxes: a point collar, breast pocket, hip-length hem and tailored fit. It’s a three-button placket instead of two, but that isn’t a deal breaker. My biggest complaint is that I really, really, really don’t like the white buttons. I prefer buttons that blend in with the fabric. But if you don’t mind the white buttons, this is a good option.
The Vesper Polo from Mack Weldon is the most expensive alternative on this list, but it’s also the closest match to the Sunspel polo. (In fact, Mack Weldon designed their Vesper Polo after the Casino Royale polo, hence the name “Vesper.”)
The Vesper Polo gets just about every detail right, from the hem and fit to the sleeve length and breast pocket. There are only two subtle differences between the Vesper and Riviera polos: 1) the Vesper Polo doesn’t have a point collar, and 2) the Vesper’s “total eclipse blue” color is a bit lighter than the “navy” Sunspel. Other than that, I think most people would be hard-pressed to tell the two shirts apart. I own two Vesper polos and have been extremely pleased with both.
If you don’t want to settle for anything other than the real deal for a Bond product, you can’t go wrong with the Sunspel Riviera Polo—it gets every detail right. The point collar stays in place all day, the straight hem ends right where it should so you can leave it untucked without looking like you’re wearing a skirt, and the tailored fit is slim enough to accentuate your physique without being too tight or restrictive. In short, it is the perfect polo. I have two and I wear them all the time in the summer.
There are a few opportunities throughout the year to get a Riviera Polo at a nice discount. Two or three times a year, Sunspel runs a 30% off sale that includes the navy Riviera Polo so you can pick it up for under $100. You can also find them through third-party sellers like End Clothing for $125 or less if they have a sale.
What do you think of the options on my list? Do you have any other alternatives you’d recommend? As always, let me know in the comments below or come find me over on Instagram (@bondonabudget). Happy shopping!