Ralph Lauren and His Iconic Polo Shirt Brand

polo shirt

If you try to find a word that would describe Ralph Lauren to a T, you will probably say “polo.” This is not surprising given that his brand is called Polo—polo shirts that have a logo with a polo rider is one of the most iconic items of the brand. Actually, when Lauren himself was on the cover of TIME Magazine in 1986, he was described as “Polo’s Ralph Lauren” and of course, he wore a polo shirt. However, as described by the story, the connection between his name and polo shirts began as something a little bit more stressful and tedious.

Lauren had his beginnings in fashion by being a Brooks Brothers sales clerk. Afterwards, he was a sales person for a necktie group. By the middle of the 1960s, he carried to the company, the thought of increasing its range of products. His designs were usually double the size of the usual skinny cravat during that time. He eventually was able to be part of the tie business by using his own hard work. When he required a name for his label, he needed something that sounded perfect for the lifestyle that he wanted and as seen on movie screens and Esquire magazine. Hence, even if he has never even seen the sport being played in person, he decided on the sport of polo. These ties that were trend setting were what brought Lauren into the interesting and cut throat world of fashion.

The polo shirt, which gradually turned into a profitable regular for the company, came much later. Polo shirts, which he spelled with a big “P,” yet the generic is not, can root its origins to an Argentinean polo club in the latter part of the 19th century, wherein players saw that the typical uniform for the game was just simply too hot to play in it. Of course, the rest was all sports history.

One of the polo stars of Argentina, Lewis Lacey, in 1920, created a Buenos Aires sports shop, wherein he sold the shirt with the embossed logo of the player on top of a pony. After a few years, the rich gentry started to wear polo shirts that were custom made as leisure wear while on the French Riviera and at the typical international watering spots around the area. By 1933, the French Rene Lacoste, a tennis star, also known as “Le Crocodile” (because of his very snappy playing), started designing and creating shirts that had a crocodile logo on the chest. The garment of Lacoste was initially marketed in the United States of America by 1951 in the name of the popular English tailor named Jack Izod. Soon, the Izod Lacoste shirt rapidly became the American standard. By 1972, Ralph Lauren showed to people his version of the polo shirts with his own motif of the polo player.

So if you see Ralph Lauren and you think of polo shirts, it is not very surprising, given this history and background for the brand. It probably would not be shocking to anyone if Ralph Lauren appears on another cover of a magazine wherein he is called “Polo’s Ralph Lauren” again.


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