The origin of these now iconic shirts is disputed; they’re thought to either originate with the sport polo and pioneered by Brooks Brothers, or on the other hand stemming from tennis, courtesy of Rene Lacoste.
Although similar stories, the division may possibly come from brand competition, both company’s laying claim to the creation of a classic. Either way, both tales seem viable, so we’ll leave it up to you to decide.
RENE LACOSTE AND TENNIS
During the 1920’s, a Frenchman by the name Rene Lacoste was dominating the sport of tennis, with no less than seven Grand Slam medals beneath his belt throughout his career. Despite his success, Lacoste was dissatisfied with the tennis attire of the time which consisted of long sleeved woven shirts, long flannel trousers and a necktie.
For such a physical activity, the uniform was restrictive and overbearing.
Rene eventually set about designing his own uniform, creating a short sleeved shirt out of breathable fabric, complete with the polo’s defining collar and buttons; the collar to protect the neck from sunburn and the buttons to allow air to circulate around the body, as well as being able to be fastened to prevent flapping as the players ran.
Lacoste debuted his new design in the 1926 US Open, later sewing a crocodile emblem to the breast in recognition of his nickname ‘The Crocodile’.
Upon retiring, Rene teamed up with a friend in the clothing industry and the rest, as you can imagine, is history.
BROOKS BROTHERS AND POLO
The alternative history predates the former, originating in the 1800s in the birthplace of polo itself – India. After the first official polo clubs were established, attention turned to the cumbersome attire of the players; heavy long sleeve shirts made from thick cotton.
Dissatisfied with this, particularly given the physical nature of polo and the humid climate of India, players took to designing their own cooler attire. They cropped the sleeves and, like Rene, sewed collars onto their shirts with buttons, again so as to stop flapping in the wind.
Toward the end of the 19th century, Brooks Brother’s John E. Brooks – grandson to the original founder – embarked on a buying trip to Europe where the makeshift polo shirt design had found it’s way.
Impressed by the practicality of a button collar when watching a polo match on his trip, John took the idea back to the US with him and began applying the design to dress shirts, releasing the first official button-down polo shirt in 1896; some twenty years prior to that of Lacoste.
Here’s why you should join the trend and make the polo shirt your wardrobe staple:
They Easily Fit In Anywhere
One undeniable fact when it comes to polo shirt which makes it a selling point for the outfit is the fact that it can easily fit in at a variety of places.
For Men that don’t really care about fashion and want to remain stylish, they are the way to go as they are basically the answer to everything and that happens to be the unique selling point of the outfit.
The polo can be your answer to everything. Whether you want to meet a client for lunch, you’re going out with your friends for a drink, going clubbing or hanging out with bae, you can always count on a solid polo shirt to keep you looking handsome, relaxed and like someone people can tell their innermost secrets to.
They Are Very Comfortable
Nothing beats comfort and if you’re looking for a reason to wear polo shirts, there you have it. They have a more relaxed fit to ensure that irrespective of the activity you will be passing through at work or play, you’re cool and comfortable.
First and foremost, wear more polo shirts because they’re straight-up comfortable. More so, they have no specific fabric in which they are made from, despite the fact that Piqué cotton is the most popular. You can find polo shirts made in knitted cloth, wool, polyester or even silk.
You Can Pull It Off Irrespective Of Your Personality
This is perhaps the most important reason you should have a polo shirt in your wardrobe. Irrespective of your size and body frame, there’s a likelihood that you would look good on one because there are colours and sizes for everyone.
Whether you’re covered with tattoos o you’re a clean-cut guy, there’s one that suits your personality. Moreover, most are designed for casual comfort, which means that whether you’re in the best shape of your life or you have a little extra weight, there’s a polo out there that’ll make you look like the sexy macho G you envisage. Try one today.