Stunning two-snap placket pique polos
The exact origin of the polo shirt is not 100% clear, but it is thought to date back to the late 19th century in Manipur, India, when polo players first wore the style as sporting attire. The sport grew in popularity, with the British Army and British tea planters in India becoming regular players. The sport of polo eventually went on to become known as 'the sport of kings', and served as an Olympic sport during the 1930’s.
Around this time, the French tennis legend Jean Rene Lacoste had become one of the dominant players of the era. Most give him the credit of 'inventing' the modern polo shirt. As a response to the traditional tennis attire, which he found too restrictive and uncomfortable, he set about designing something better. The garment he came up with was a white, short sleeved, loosely knitted, pique cotton shirt with an unstarched, flat collar, a buttoned placket and a slightly longer tail, branded with a small crocodile logo. It became a sporting classic.
In the late 1940s, the English tennis legend Fred Perry was approached to produce a white sports shirt, which was to be similar in style to the Lacoste polo shirt. Launched at Wimbledon in 1952, the Fred Perry tennis shirt was an immediate success, becoming a hit with teenagers and marking the beginning of the transition from sport-wear to fashion. The white tennis shirt was only supplemented in the late 50s, when mods began demanding more varied colour palettes.
The Fred Perry shirt became the garment-of-choice for diverse groups of teenagers throughout the 1960s and 70s, ranging from the skinheads to the Northern soul scene. The brand's logo, was a laurel wreath based on the original symbol for Wimbledon. It was a departure from Lacoste’s appliqué crocodile, as the crest was embroidered into the material – not ironed on.
Prior to Lacoste’s original innovation, polo players were also wearing thick, uncomfortable shirts made from woven cotton. When polo players became aware of Lacoste’s shirt design they readily adopted it for use in their sport. Infact, Lacoste’s design was so dominant in the sport of polo that the term ‘polo shirt’ became its universal name. Indeed, tennis players would even refer to their shirt as a ‘polo shirt’ even though their sport had used it earlier than polo players had.
In 1972, Ralph Lauren included his polo shirt as part of his original fashion line called ‘Polo’. This line, featuring an embroidered emblem depicting a polo player and pony, has no doubt helped to cement the name ‘polo shirt’; instantly becoming an American classic, with the shirt itself developing iconic status as the embodiment of Polo lifestyle.
The 1980's became the decade of the polo shirt. Along with Lacoste, Fred Perry, Ralph Lauren, new polo shirt brands were emerging on the green lawns of Wimbledon. They were worn by two new and unlikely fashion icons, who just happened to be the era’s most successful and charismatic tennis champions - Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. They blazed a trail for brands that would become synonymous with the 80’s - Sergio Tacchini and Fila. The classic pique polo-shirt really was the undisputed king of this new fashion phenomenon, and as Wimbledon's hallowed lawns were the main shop window, they televised live into the living rooms of both the working and middle-class youth who went on to define the football casual culture. Comfortable, stylish and unwaveringly popular – here’s our take on this modern classic.
Available: March 2013
Contrast colours: Navy and Ecru, Ecru and Green, Ecru and Burgundy, Burgundy and Navy
Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, XL and XXL
Retail price: £44.99
- Two-snap placket.
- Ribbed collar and cuffs.
- 'goalsoul' embroidered on the back-neck
- Our embroidered man accents the left chest.
- 100% combed ring-spun cotton pique
- Tipped contoured collar and welt cuffs
- Drop tail and side vents
- Etched buttons
- Woven neck and outer label.
Available now both online and in-store.
- March 06, 2013
- Cristian Bustamante