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.