The polo is a short sleeve cotton shirt with a collar and a couple of buttons at the neck, and a shirttail in the back that is cut longer than the front. But there are lots of variations on the classic style, including long sleeve or sleeveless polos, and polos manufactured from alternative fabrics like poly, merino or silk.
While the polo shirt originated on the polo field, it gained popularity as a tennis or golf shirt. Today it’s recognized as casual wear, as appropriate for backyard barbeques and baseball games as it is for athletics.
Google ‘polo shirt’ and you’ll most likely come up with results from Ralph Lauren, who popularized the look with his brand Polo Ralph Lauren. But credit for pioneering the style goes to René Lacoste, the French tennis player who adapted the oxford cloth shirts worn by polo players for tennis. With a few modifications, he crafted a garment that was perfectly suited for athletics, while keeping with the buttoned-up, preppy tennis aesthetic. Lacoste’s shirts were, and are, easily identifiable by the little green crocodile emblem on the left breast.
Most women’s polos fall into the realm of casual or active wear. As such, corresponding garments should reflect the active but preppy look. By all means, pair your polo with tennis skirts or golf shorts, but if you want to sport your shirt beyond the court or links, there are other ways to put together an outfit. A polo and jeans is classic American style—don’t forget a belt, shoulder bag, and sandals to complete the look. You can also wear a polo with a skirt. Add a pair of wedges and a hat, and you’ll be summer party ready. Don’t forget to play around with the collar—‘popping’ it up completely, or just in the back can dramatically change your style.
A polo outfit is the perfect weekend look, and it can take you everywhere you need to go on a casual day off. A classic piqué or pima weave cotton polo shirt goes from brunch, to the beach, to a backyard barbeque in a snap. Its versatility makes the polo an iconic style, definitely worthy of a place in your weekend wardrobe.