A polo shirt is a form of shirt with a collar, a placket with typically two or three
buttons, and an optional pocket.
Polo shirts are usually made of cotton knit piqué fabric
or interlock fabric. However, there is not an absolute fiber or fabric
construction requirement. In addition to cotton, poly shirts are often
produced in silk, merino wool, synthetic fibers, or blends.
This type of shirt is also known as a golf shirt and
This type of shirt
earned its name because of the shirts used by Polo players.
is a team sport played on horseback. The objective is to score goals against an
opposing team. Players score by driving a small white plastic or wooden ball
into the opposing team's goal using a long-handled mallet. Each polo team
consists of four riders and their mounts. Field polo is played with a solid
plastic sphere (ball) which has replaced the wooden version of the ball in much
of the sport.
Polo players originally wore
thick long-sleeve shirts made of Oxford-cloth cotton. This shirt was the first
to have a buttoned-down collar, which polo players invented in the late 19th
century to keep their collars from flapping in the wind (Brooks Brothers's early
president, John Brooks, noticed this while at a polo match in England and began
producing such a shirt in 1896).
Brooks Brothers still produces this style
of button-down "polo shirt". Still, like early tennis clothing, those clothes
presented a discomfort on the field, and when polo players became aware of
Lacoste’s tennis shirt invention in the 1930s they readily adopted it for use in polo.
In 1920, Lewis Lacey, a Canadian
born of English parents in Montreal, Quebec in 1887, haberdasher and polo
player, began producing a shirt that was embroidered with the logo of a polo
player, a design originated at the Hurlingham Polo Club near Buenos Aires. The
term polo shirt,
which previously had referred only to the long-sleeved buttoned-down shirts
traditionally used in polo, soon became a universal moniker for the tennis
shirt; no later than the 1950s, it was in common usage in the U.S. to describe
the shirt most commonly thought of as part of formal tennis attire. Indeed,
tennis players often would refer to their shirt as a "polo shirt,"
notwithstanding the fact that their sport had used it before polo did.
Ralph Lauren included his "polo shirt" as a
prominent part of his original line called Polo,
thereby helping furthering its already widespread popularity. While not
specifically geared for use by polo players, Lauren’s shirt imitated what by
that time had become the normal attire for polo players.
Over the latter half of the 20th
century, as standard clothing in golf became more casual, the polo shirt was
adopted nearly universally as standard golf attire. Many golf courses and
country clubs require players to wear golf shirts
as a part of their dress code.
Here are a few places that you can often find nice polo