Everlasting style items 3: The polo shirt

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, tennis players wore long-sleeved white button-up shirts (often worn with the sleeves rolled up) and ties. The standard attire were found to be too cumbersome and uncomfortable for seven-time Grand Slam tennis champion René Lacoste. He designed a white, short-sleeved, loosely-knit piqué cotton shirt with an unstarched collar and a buttoned placket, which he first wore at the 1926 U.S. Open championship.

Prior to Lacoste’s design, polo players similarly wore thick shirts made from woven cotton. When polo players became aware of Lacoste’s shirt design they adopted it. Lacoste’s design was so dominant in the sport of polo that the term “polo shirt” became the universal name for his shirt. During the early 1970s, Ralph Lauren launched his original fashion line called “Polo”. This collection, featured the now famous silhouette of a polo player and pony, helping to cement the name “polo shirt” on Rene Lacoste’s original design.


Today the polo shirt forms a staple of a modern gentleman’s wardrobe. Choosing a polo shirt that will suit you is not easy to get right. With the range of different types of collars, fittings, buttons and materials available you should be careful in your selection. Thankfully King & Man has listed some simple dos and don’ts for selecting the perfect polo shirt:

  • Do select fitted sleeves
  • Do opt for neutral colours
  • Do avoid oversized logos
  • Don’t wear a t-shirt underneath
  • Don’t choose a shirt that hangs below your pockets
  • Don’t be afraid of stripes

Once you’ve selected your polo shirt(s) your wardrobe will be versatile enough to put together a range of outfits from laid back to business casual. A neutral polo shirt goes equally well with chinos and trainers as it does under a suit. Timelessly stylish and versatile. All hail the polo shirt.

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