THE POLO SHIRT
Versatile, relaxed and quietly stylish, the polo shirt is one of fashion’s smartest wardrobe investments. Grazia USA Style Editor Ty Gaskins sees them as the male equivalent of the LBD – the ultimate day-to-nighter that will work hard all year long. Whether you go classic or statement, the polo shirt is the style essential every man needs.
Almost 100 years after its creation, the polo shirt still reigns supreme in any fashion aficionado's wardrobe. The influence of athleisure on luxury fashion profoundly changed how we dress way before the rise of Y2K trends like boxer shorts, joggers, and even adidas high-fashion crossovers. The polo shirt was first designed by René Lacoste (yes, Lacoste as in the French fashion label), after he was inspired by his friend, who played polo and one day joined Lacoste for a tennis match wearing a short-sleeved shirt with a button-down collar. Lacoste then designed his own, adding his now signature crocodile motif on the chest representing his nickname, ‘Le Crocodile.’
Ever since I can remember, the polo shirt has been a huge part of my personal style. I'm born and raised in southern Virginia, to add context. The best part about the polo shirt is its versatility. Although I can't recall when it wasn't a go-to option in my closet, my style has evolved since my adolescent years, and so has the polo shirt. Today's interpretation isn't that of its origins yet is still rooted in the same sensibilities: a comfortable option that doesn't sacrifice style.
The polo shirt can now be found in infinite silhouettes, styles, colors, materials, and patterns. Not only is it an easy and timeless choice, but it also has the potential to make a bold statement. Take this Gucci polo shirt or Missoni option for example. I like to refer to the polo shirt as the LBD for men; a safe option that can take you from a casual daytime look to a dressier evening version (accessories and footwear are essential here, we'll get into that later.) A polo shirt is a dependable piece that, even if you aren't the most avid fashion person or shopper, will take you far.
Right now, we're in high summer where temperatures are peaking globally due to a heat wave — err... effects of global warming. I live by the motto less is best and throwing on a polo with a pair of trousers and trainers is an ideal summer outfit that’s simultaneously cool, relaxed, and straightforward.
Remember when I told you I'd get back to the accessories and shoes? Well, here is the insider tip. Often, I find myself running from the office to work events and parties. When I know my day will be jam-packed, leaving little to no time to head home and change, I more than not opt for a polo shirt. To transition a polo from day to night, take the look mentioned above, for example, and swap the trainers for a pair of loafers. Add a few statement jewellery options, and please don't forget a belt —et voila, ready to hit the town.
Although right now al fresco parties and holidays are front of mind, autumn will be here faster than you know it. Sure, the ease of putting on just a polo shirt and shorts are numbered this year, but it doesn't mean it's time to pack them into storage just yet. The colder months are arguably my favorite time to sport the style for one simple reason: layering. A reliable base, the polo is the ultimate when it comes to achieving the perfect layered look.
As a fashion editor, I look to the runways to determine the upcoming season's next trends that readers should know about. To no surprise, the autumn/winter 2022 menswear shows gave an exemplary display of just how to style the polo shirt once temperatures drop. Dior added layers of outerwear like trench coats and bomber jackets. Fendi threw classic tailored suit jackets on top. Meanwhile, Fashion Week favorite label Botter reinvented the polo with long-sleeves and oversized silhouettes offering more coverage to brace the elements. That’s the polo shirt for you – there to serve all year round.