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Do polo players really wear polo shirts?

June 5, 2015

poloIn the 1920s, tennis players ran around the courts in white long sleeve dress shirts with a tie and flannel slacks. This proved to be rather uncomfortable for the world’s # 1 player of 1926 and 1927. Borrowing the concept of knitted cotton jerseys from polo players, Rene Lacoste, winner of seven grand slams and nicknamed the alligator, decided to modify the shirts for comfort and performance. So, he created a shirt made of knitted cotton (versus woven) with a soft collar. He could have hardly imagined how popular this new shirt would become. In partnership w/ Andre Gillier, he created the company La Chemise Lacoste, which today is known simply as Lacoste.

The tennis shirt, later called the polo shirt, has become a staple for men’s fashion. Personally, I love them and consider them an essential part of my casual look. They pair well with jeans or khakis and work well in almost any color. The knitted cotton allows them to breathe while adding the strength needed for everyday life or sports. Of course, my favorite polo shirts come from Lacoste and sport the famous alligator logo. But, I also like other brands such as Ralph Lauren.

Wear them while playing golf or tennis. Also, try various fabrics with less durability, but more appeal off the course or court. As always, make sure that it fits you properly. Furthermore, preserve them for future wear with a V-neck undershirt. This brings me to one of my own personal great lessons – never wear a crew neck undershirt with a polo or other open collar shirt. I can’t tell you the number of times that I see this in a given week, much less in a single day. Can you picture these men typing feverishly at their computers, popping in an out of meetings, and selling products, with a white triangle just under their chins? Very distracting. It leaves me feeling like they forgot to button their shirts or forgot their ties at home. Truth is they don’t know this concept. I didn’t know this for years. If you are guilty of the crew neck beneath the polo, start on a new path right away.

Be mindful of the collar as it tends to morph into odd shapes over time if you let it. Iron the collar to keep it from creating a folded line. You can dress up the polo with a blazer and khakis or dress it down with jeans. Buy all different colors starting with solid white and solid black. Horizontal stripes are also stylish. And, the next time you have a tennis match, round of golf, or a polo game scheduled, grab your favorite polo and head out the door with gusto.


© Copyright Fashion for the Average Man.

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