The long-sleeved polo shirt is a wardrobe staple. Versatile and comfortable, it gives just the right degree of smart-casual style whether worn alone or used as layering. Let’s take a look at the history of the polo shirt and how best to style it.
The history of the polo shirt
The origins of the polo shirt are a matter of historical debate. Some fashion historians believe it was created in 19th century India where it was worn by British polo players; however, for many, the polo shirt is synonymous with French tennis player Rene Lacoste, who made the style popular in the 1920s.
Lacoste shunned the traditional long-sleeved shirts and ties worn by players in favour of his own softer and more breathable short-sleeved polo shirt design. He went on to launch a signature clothing line after teaming up with leading French knitwear manufacturer Andre Gillier in the 1930s. Rene Lacoste has even made it into Time Magazine’s All-Time 100 fashion icons. Lacoste’s knitted polo shirts inspired a young designer called Ralph Lauren, who launched his own version of the tennis shirt in 1972 made from pique cotton.
How to style a long-sleeved polo shirt
– Style it smart
Long-sleeved polo shirts are great for creating a smarter look, depending on the type you choose. A fine-knit polo shirt will create a smarter appearance, especially when worn with dark jeans, trousers or chinos and dark shoes. Top it off with a smart blazer to really up your style game. Retailers such as EJ Menswear offer iconic mens Ralph Lauren polo shirts, which are perfect for creating a smarter look.
– Use it for layering
Use your long-sleeved polo shirt to add an extra layer of warmth underneath a bodywarmer or cardigan. Aim to have a white, black or grey version in your wardrobe, as these neutral colours go with everything.
– Athleisure style
Capitalise on the current trend for athletic style and wear your long-sleeved polo shirt with a pair of joggers, preferably in a colour that matches your shirt. Choose a premium-looking jogger to achieve a put-together but sporty style.
– Laidback style
Pique cotton long-sleeved polo shirts will offer a more casual look in addition to being comfortable and more lightweight than their knitted counterpart. Choose whatever colour takes your fancy and team it with casual jeans and trainers.