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The Polo Shirt Then And Now

18th September 2013 | Posted in Mens

There aren't many pieces hanging up in your wardrobe that quite carry the same amount of euphoric nostalgia than that of the polo shirt. Since its inception, it has spanned age groups, gracing the style of sportsmen, as well as nearly every subculture that has existed in Britain. The polo shirt then, is as versatile as it is rich in history.

When the subject of the origins of the polo is raised, opinion is well and truly divided.

Simply put, some believe that the origins of the polo shirt are quite literally within its purpose. With British polo players in India needing something light and cool (as well as being undoubtedly stylish), to play their sport in the searing heat, their original polo shirts were long sleeved with full front buttoning. Adaptations included button down collars, to prevent it flying up during the game- a feature that many styles still keep today.

However, more in line to popular belief, the general creation of the polo shirt is attributed to one Jean Rene Lacoste. A French tennis player, Lacoste ran rampant on the court, winning seven major singles titles, as well as two Davis Cups during his spell as a devastating opponent.

It was during his time as a player, that Lacoste developed his now world famous design. In an era when tennis shirts were all long sleeved and quite literally like a modern day shirt, Lacoste played in a short sleeve, pique cotton polo shirt.

It featured a ribbed collar that he wore turned up to protect his neck from the sun, as well as a longer tail to make sure that it stayed tucked in during play.

The next stage in Lacoste's development was the brands emblem. Jean Rene Lacoste became known as the 'crocodile', after the American press dubbed him it, following a bet he made with the French Davis Cup team- a win, in return for a crocodile skin suitcase.

The Lacoste crocodile was drawn up, and Jean Lacoste embroidered it onto the blazer he wore to enter the tennis court. The same Lacoste crocodile still features on every Lacoste polo made today.

Also accredited with a huge colour infusion into style, during a time when white was the colour of choice, Lacoste were the first company to infuse bright, bold colours onto their polo designs during the early 1950's.


Such a classic style demands a lot of respect- so make sure that you do your polo shirt justice when you pick the style for you.

Lacoste L.12.12 polos at oxygenclothing.co.uk

Pay homage to the godfather of the polo shirt with the original style in its purest form. The L.12.12 features a classic cut and man features from the original design by Jean Rene Lacoste; such as the ribbed collar and sleeve, as well as the crocodile chest logo.

This polo has to be one of the mos iconic pieces of clothing of all time. The Lacoste L.12.12 in white is the perfect honour to the original white tennis shirt, whilst the black and navy give a dressier side to a style that has and forever will defy the tests of time.

Ralph Lauren Custom Fit Polos at oxygenclothing.co.uk

Another true icon of the polo shirt, Ralph Lauren has been the last word in preppy American style for over 40 years. With it's typically American pomp infused styles, the Ralph Lauren polo shirt is the ultimate expression of casual style with a smart tip.

Finished with the Ralph Lauren polo player logo, these custom fit polos come in a great range of colours. With eye caching colours like the active blue and plum, we love the subtle marle of the Ralph Lauren Delta Blue polo- it's perfect for that typical Ralph Lauren look with a stylish twist in the fabric.

Paul Smith polos at oxygenclothing.co.uk

Great British designer Paul Smith has hit the nail on the head as he continues to deliver his take on traditional British fashion with a sublimely timeless flourish. Featuring a double button fastening, and traditional features such as a ribbed collar and sleeve, the stripe Paul Smith zebra proudly adorns the chest. We love the rich colour of the Paul Smith Burgundy Polo, but think that the purple adds a touch of fun to any look-where as the white is a true simple classic.

Lyle & Scott polos

Another brand with a strong sporting heritage, Scottish outfitters Lyle & Scott have been at the forefront of a number of subcultures, kitting out some of the sleekest looks. With this in mind, we've opted for this easy colour palette, giving a traditional spread of black, grey and white.

Fred Perry polos

Famed for their huge affiliation with tennis, thanks to the legend that is Fred Perry, the laurel brand that became a firm favourite with Britain's sub culture, from the skin heads to the mods, is a true celebration of Britain's roots. Although Fred Perry now offer a great range of printed and patterned polo shirts, we've stuck with the classic twin tipped editions, show here in an eye catching red, an understated tonal navy marl, and a classic grey with a black tip.

Pretty Green polos

Founded by the infamous Mr Liam Gallagher, Pretty Green is now an established label with a fiercely loyal following. Hinting on a host of classic and iconic styles- from the Lennon jacket, to Harrington and fishtail jackets worn by the Brighton mods, Pretty Green is a physical celebration of Britain's stylish past. Giving a well crafted to style of old, these Pretty Green twin tip polos in ecru, navy and burgundy are a sure fire weekend style staple.

Ryan J Gray

 

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