History of the Polo Shirt

The origins of the polo shirt adoption in the West can be traced back to India in the 1850s. British soldiers stationed in Manipur, India, witnessed polo players wearing long-sleeved, cotton knit shirts during their matches. The shirts were lightweight and breathable and the stretch in the fabrics made them perfect for outdoor activities, and the collars were pinned down so they wouldn’t flap around as the players moved (which eventually gave rise to the “Button Down Polo”). The soldiers adopted the shirts for their own purposes and brought them back to the U.K. 

It is believed that John E. Brooks, the founder of Brooks Brothers, initially introduced the style to the U.S. after a trip to London in the 1890s. The style gained popularity among tennis players and other athletes in the 1930s after tennis player René Lacoste began selling “Lacoste” branded polo shirts with a crocodile emblazoned on them. The polo shirt continued to make its way into mainstream fashion over the years, and the world-wide recognition of its preppy, sporty style today is thanks in large part to Ralph Lauren and his branded “Polo Ralph Lauren” shirts, which launched in 1967.

Today polo shirts are worn in both sport and casual situations. The materials from which they are made vary widely, from synthetic performance blends to recycled wood pulps like Refibra™, though they are all generally stretchy and knit in structure. The ideal polo shirt fit is fairly consistent across the board—relaxed but not too slim to allow for comfort and movement. To learn how to create your perfect polo shirt fit, click the following link: How to Achieve the Perfect Polo Shirt Fit.

man in green polo shirt
The Proper Cloth Polo Shirt