The History of the Polo

Winter is finally behind us and we hope we have prepared you well with our handy guides on How to appreciate the real quality of cashmere and on How to take care of your beloved cashmere garments. With the advent of summer, we would like to introduce you to the story behind the Polo shirt, which is also going to be our upcoming summer addition.

  • How did Polo as a sport come into existence?
  • Did you know that the first ever polo shirt was designed for tennis not polo?
  • How did this shirt come to be called a polo shirt, when it was actually worn for tennis?
  • How did Polo as a sport come into existence?

    History of polo shirt by the fleece milano

    While the earliest known roots of polo reach back as far as 6th century BC, the modern form of the horseback sport can be traced back to the 19th Century in India. British soldiers stationed in Northeast India adopted Polo from Indian natives and brought it back to the U.K. where it became synonymous with wealth, royalty, and the upper-class. 


    Did you know that the first ever polo shirt was designed for tennis not polo?

    the history of polo by the fleece milano

    The first ever polo shirt was actually designed for tennis and beared a green alligator as a logo. Finding the “tennis whites” (the long-sleeved button-up white cotton shirt typically worn for tennis) restrictive, this first polo was white, short-sleeved, made of a piqué cotton with a flat protruding collar, a buttoned placket, and a back longer than the front. Worn for the first time at the 1926 U.S. Open championship,  since the early 30’s they reached global success. 


    How did this shirt come to be called a polo shirt, when it was actually worn for tennis?

    polo players the fleece milano

    Originally polo players wore thick long sleeved shirts with a collar, typically made of Oxford cotton, with a button down collar. A famous American menswear brand came up with the idea of a button-down collar after observing collars flipping upward during polo matches. However these shirts were not ideal for polo, so polo players readily adopted tennis polo shirts, once they became aware of them during the 1930s.


    The term polo shirt, which previously had referred only to the long sleeved, buttoned-down shirts traditionally used in polo, soon became a universal term for the tennis shirt.


    By the 1950s, it was in common usage to describe the shirt most commonly thought of as part of “tennis whites.” 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. The following decade saw the polo shirt move beyond sportswear to streetwear, thanks to British brands and to the Mods who adopted it as a symbolic garment.


    Polo has surely come a long way! Many creations & iterations have helped to elevate the piece beyond its sporty roots and made it a wardrobe staple. We understand that well and we are more than excited to launch our idea of Sartorial Polo next week.



    TFM Team

     

    1 comment

    FYI

    The game POLO (chowgan) was founded in ancient Persia (Iran) in 6th century BC. The western world including the Middle-East and central Asia have all copied this amazing sport from the Iranians, which are still today one of the best equestrians in the world!

    Unfortunately due to circumstances such as political sanctions, lack ness of equipment and no support from the government, this ancient sport of kings was forgotten in our rich culture.

    Anyhow, I love to see your polo shirts when they are ready😉✌🏼

    Hanif Darwish April 27, 2021

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