Jersey Shirts

Chris Black: Passionate About Polo Shirts

By Chris Black

Jul 13, 2022

Chris Black: Passionate About Polo Shirts


Chris Black – friend of the brand, writer, and co-host of the How Long Gone podcast – pledges his allegiance to that evergreen staple of men's wardrobes everywhere: the polo shirt.


The polo shirt has been a staple in my wardrobe since I was a child. I have distinct memories of my accountant Dad wearing a polo shirt tucked into his Levi's with a pair of chocolate brown leather wallabees on his feet. This is a man who is profoundly unconcerned with clothing or really even his appearance. It worked, but it was by total accident. 

The polo shirt occupies that tricky white space between a t-shirt and an oxford, unfussy, but ever so slightly more formal, even if the collar is a bit rumpled. Of course, the fit is crucial. It should be slim but not fitted, long enough to tuck in, but not so long that it becomes a tunic. I have worn a polo with shorts and sneakers, vintage jeans and loafers, even a summer suit. It is the most versatile shirt in my closet. 

The polo has a history that actually dates back to 1926. As well as being in possession of a formidable backhand slice, iconic tennis player René Lacoste also had an eye for fashion and designed his own short-sleeved shirt made from lightweight, flexible, breathable cotton known as jersey petit piqué. The first polo was designed with a flat ribbed collar, a three-button placket, and Monsieur Lacoste even had the forethought to make the back longer than the front, to stop the shirt from coming untucked.

Unfortunately, over time, the market has been flooded with synthetic versions. These sweat-wicking golf shirts don't flatter the wearer and remind me of a less-than-talented athlete or a sunburned tipsy college football enthusiast that is talking just a bit too loudly. Avoid these at all costs. In this case, like many others, simple and classic is always best. 

If you still need convincing, stop reading this brilliant poetic waxing, open a new browser tab and start poking around. You will find guitar god Eric Clapton wearing a white polo under a trench with perfect jeans and loafers, The Libertines frontman Pete Doherty in a black long sleeve version paired with black trousers and some knee-high wellies (he is backstage at Glastonbury, of course), and Sidney Portier with his tucked and buttons unfastened. 

A classic pique works best, a hard-wearing and versatile fabric that ages gracefully over time. The color lightens from sun exposure, the ends begin to fray, it's a shirt that is meant to be worn forever, it's immune to trends, and it looks good on most people. You can spill a drink on it and recover if a button falls off and you sew on a new one. It's a forever shirt, a perennial garment. I want my favorite navy version hung in the rafters when I retire. 

It's grown-up and casual. I don't think there is a better way to dress. Just ask my Dad.

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