Since 1933, the tennis shirt was so popular, that it has become one of the standard categories of clothing. Virtually every major clothier makes some version or variation of Lacoste’s tennis shirt. Today it is worn by both men and women in numerous non-athletic contexts.
In contemporary Western fashion, tennis shirts are considered more casual than woven button-front shirts while still being slightly dressy.
It is also a favored shirt for those working outside, such as groundskeepers and maintenance workers, due to its ruggedness and style. During the 1990s tennis shirt became the standard informal business attire for the high-tech industry and then spread to other industries. Nowadays Polo shirt is often used in retail industry as staff outfit, because it’s less casual than suit, shirt and tie, but more elegant than a regular T-shirt.
In the early 1980s (and also revived briefly in 1997) polo shirts became popular among young professionals in the Nordic countries. This was especially the case in Helsinki, Finland, where blue chip professionals would wear Fred Perry polo shirts in a range of pastels, such as pink and yellow.
Over the years the golf shirt has become a favorite giveaway at many corporate events, and is a fashion style that may be worn with jeans, shorts, slacks and gym shorts. Embroidered Golf Shirts have become the single most popular embroidered product for corporate events.
In 1926 Mr. Rene Lacoste at the U.S. Open championship has worn his new invention – a Polo shirt. Tennis players at this time wore “tennis whites” consisting of long-sleeved white button-up shirts (worn with the sleeves rolled up), flannel trousers, and ties. As you can imagine this garment set was creating problems for ease of play and comfort of wearing. Lacoste’s shirt has eliminated all of those problems and perfectly settled down in the tennis industry. Now every tennis player is wearing Polo shirt.
But why a tennis shirt is called “Polo”?
Before Lacoste’s 1933 mass-marketing of his tennis shirt, polo players 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 a polo match in England and began producing such shirt in 1896). Brooks Brothers still produce 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 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 common use name 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.
Nowadays you can see this shirt worn by players of sports like baseball, football, golf, rugby and many more.