Let's take a look at how the item came to be known as a polo shirt and how it soon gained its ground around the world.
Another name for the polo shirt – the tennis shirt – gives a lot away about its origins. Pioneered by Rene Lacoste in the late 1920s, the French tennis champion designed the garment to replace classic tennis whites (long-sleeved white button-up shirts, flannel trousers and ties) with something a lot more appropriate and comfortable for players. His fame grew with the help of his logo, the now famous Crocodile. After retiring from his career in tennis, Lacoste teamed up with a clothing merchandiser to push the shirt in European and North American markets. Gradually, polo players overtook the trend as their previous attire was also found to be outdated and unsuited to games.
In the 1970s, Ralph Lauren produced his version of the shirt that further spread its international acclaim.
Nowadays, polo shirts are widely used in uniforms due to their smart casual appearance. School children sport polo shirts with their school's logo, as do workers in the retail industry. As it's seen as a smarter alternative to the classic T-shirt, the polo can be worn to occasions that adhere to the smart casual dress code.
Learn how to style a polo shirt for any season, be it a particularly chilly winter or a pleasantly sunny summer.
Autumn and Winter
In the chillier months of the year, polo shirts are great for layering. Team the shirt with a V-neck woollen jumper or a long-sleeved jersey shirt. Its collar will look great peeking out. Wear the ensemble with a pair of chinos or smart jeans and throw on a tweed or woollen coat with accessories such as a scarf or knitted hat. Finish of the look with a pair of sturdy leather brogues or boots.
Spring and Summer
In the spring and summer season, polo shirts look excellent both with long trousers and shorts. Choose a striped polo shirt and team it with shorts in a block colour. Wear with flip flops for a casual, beach style look or team with classic tennis shoes or plimsolls for prim and preppy chic that ladies love.
To invest in a proper, good quality mens polo shirt head to more high-end high street retailers, such as AllSaints, Lacoste and Abercrombie & Fitch.