polo shirt

The polo shirt is indeed a classic and a wardrobe staple of the fashion world. We all have worn polo shirts to flaunt the sporty look, pairing it with jeans. Let us take a detailed look at the connection between the shirts and the sports that we know.

The start of the polo shirts was said to have come during the late 19th century in Manipur, India, the birthplace of polo. When soldiers from Britain watched a match, they decided to set up the very first polo club. The sport became very popular with the Indian British tea planters and the British army. Soon after, they focused on the typical attire of the sport, which were long sleeved and thick shirts made from cotton. Since they found these to be uncomfortable, they included collars to their shirts with buttons so as to avoid them from flapping while on the field. By the latter part of the 19th century, John E. Brooks, grandson of the founder of Brooks Brothers, came to England and saw the collars of the players. He brought this to Brooks Brothers where they applied this idea to the company.

In the 1920s, Lewis Lacey, an Irish Argentine polo player and haberdasher opened a shop for men in Buenos Aires and started selling polo shirts with an embroidered polo player image. In 1926, the tennis legend, French man Jean Rene Lacoste invented the modern polo shirt. Since the tennis shirts Lacoste wore were so uncomfortable, he altered it to fit his requirements, using a longer back and a collar that was not starched. He also used the technology of pique cotton, which is both durable and breathable. Jean Rene wore the shirt to a 1926 U.S. Open championship and his fashion style started a trend. Similar men in sports started to replace their usual outfits with the Lacoste tennis shirt, including that of polo. By 1933, Lacoste, alongside his friend Andre Giller, founded the Lacoste Shirt Company. Its popularity was at its height when then United States of America President Dwight Eisenhower wore a Lacoste shirt while he was playing golf.

Fred Perry, in 1954, also another tennis legend, made his own version of the shirt. Selecting the same pique material, Perry added a logo that was stitched on the material, not ironed on. Perry’s version was a real challenge to Lacoste and made it into the clothing of choice for many teenagers. But the polo shirts came into more prominence when Ralph Lauren came into the fashion scene in 1972.

To portray timelessness and sophistication, Ralph Lauren named his polo shirts after the wealthy sport of the royals—polo. These polo shirts were a major part of the polo line that created more popularity for the shirt more than ever.

It is quite interesting how polo shirts have evolved into this wardrobe classic and staple and go to clothing item. Even if polo shirts are typically always worn by males and females alike, it is really great to know about its origins.

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