The polo shirt is perhaps the most difficult piece of menswear to nail. The perennial classic can easily sit anywhere in the spectrum of looking dad-cool (i.e.: Balenciaga’s paternal Spring 2018 lineup) to looking like an uncool dad — depending on fit, design, styling, et al. It’s a timeless staple, sure, but neither fully casual nor formal, it can be puzzling to get right.
When French tennis player René Lacoste invented the polo shirt in the ’20s, none of this went through his mind. Designing it for his sportsmen peers, the original Lacoste polo shirt was loose and baggy, making for ample forehand and backhand room to hit the tennis ball in. His crocodile-emblemed gear soon went beyond the the tennis courts and onto the big screens. And just like that, the polo shirt became part of iconic personalities’ wardrobes: Clint Eastwood, Elvis Presley, you name it.
So the foolproof way to approach the polo shirt is by going back to its roots, referencing the first roster of its harbingers. From suburbia Ivy League poster boy Paul Newman to Japanese style-setter Toshiro Mifune, here’s a guide to how these well-dressed originals champion the old favourite.
And if you feel particularly inspired, you can always shop your polos here.
(Main and featured images: Getty)