Short-Sleeved Polo Shirts: In the court of stylish restraint

      8 Minute Read Its development and popularisation has taken some key twists and turns, but a time-honoured knitted polo shirt will always be one of the most fundamental and versatile assets in a man’s wardrobe.
David Niven and Merle Oberon relaxing at the beach (Photo via Getty)

From the regal polo turf of the Kings of Manipur to the immaculately mown courts at the West Side Tennis Club, New York City, the polo shirt first came to prominence in the domain of sporting aristocracy. John E. Brooks of Brooks Brothers had gone some way to starting the polo shirt revolution by inventing the original Oxford cotton button-down, but it wasn’t until French tennis star of the 1920s, Jean René Lacoste, saw his friend the 5th Marquess of Cholmondeley wearing a polo shirt, that the design we recognize today was first mooted.

Up until this point, most tennis players competed wearing starched long-sleeved shirts (and tie) on occasion, which oozed sophisticated glamour, but it could be cumbersome in the heat during long sets. Lacoste, after analysing Cholmondeley’s polo shirt iteration, immediately saw its benefits in negating the attire’s restrictive nature.


    Freddie Anderson


    June 2022


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