If there is anything in the fashion world that deserves the honour of being called a ‘Classic’, there is nothing more than the beloved Polo Shirt that deserves it. A timeless classic indeed, the Polo Shirt has stood the test of time for its simplicity, comfort, good looks and finesse. A simple piece of fabric, closed down by three buttons at the most, that is all, it pretty much is and the way it has survived for such a long time is commendable.
It is an extremely versatile apparel and is an absolute essential for a man’s wardrobe. It is this very nature of these shirts that has garnered its acceptance all over the world. It would definitely not be wrong to say that polo shirts are an icon of casual and informal apparel. These looked a lot different than they do now and that has a lot to do with the way the initial design was customized with a quest for comfort, looks and feel during mobility in sport. Something that has been around, as long as polo shirts, definitely have quite a bit of history attached to it.
The inception of the this shirt has its origins in the early nineteenth century and is widely accepted to be a parallel to the beginning of polo, the sport. As the name suggests, the polo shirt grew in popularity along with the popularity of the sport itself. Polo was famous with the individuals of the British Army and tea planters and these were the men who first started sporting the shirts which were long sleeved apparel made from cotton with buttons on the collar to secure the collar to the shirt, to keep the collar from flapping when the sport was in progress. The original Polo Shirt although fairly uncomfortable, was widely accepted in the Polo playing fraternity and it took a very significant man, from France, a tennis player to change the Polo shirt into the much familiar polo t-shirt, as we see it, today.
Rene Lacoste was the Frenchman, the tennis star, behind the ‘modern’ polo shirt. It all began with Lacoste’s quest to create something comfortable to wear, on the court. As tennis became more competitive, Lacoste’s design was more appreciated for their comfort. The resultant apparel was also stylish as well as comfortable. Thanks to the popularity of Rene Lacoste and his effort to set up an organization that sold these ‘modernized’ shirts, the trend caught on as a sporting classic that came to be predominantly used in tennis.
The subsequent appearance of Ralph Lauren triggered a brand war between Lacoste, the brand and Polo Ralph Lauren, a specialty apparel company started by Ralph, cementing the popularity of the Polo Shirts in the hearts of customers in America, forever. Numerous other brands such as Versace, Evisu, Burberry London, and Aquascutum, also enjoy huge popularity in the genre.
The Polo shirt, remains a symbol of elegance and decency with the leverage of being a casual, in today’s world. It is an integral part of the corporate casual attire and are the go to choice as a popular choice of wear in an official event that requires the use of casual attire. The branding of a shirt with a company’s brand name as marketing strategy and is widely popular as well.
The author is a fashion enthusiast and someone who likes to explore about the needs and requirements of users that lead to development of apparel, over the course of time. For instance, polo shirts that came into existence for sports, have become a casual wardrobe staple.