History of the ladies polo shirt
For many women, where their clothing comes from is not nearly as important as what it looks like when they put it on. But knowing where your favorite t-shirt or polo shirt first originated can give a better sense of how this piece of clothing might fit into your wardrobe. The ladies polo shirt, for example, actually has its roots in sports and athletic activities played by men – and of course, this tradition has continued to endure over the centuries, finally assimilating into women’s style and fashion.
What you might not realize is that the polo shirt can be called by many names – a tennis shirt or a golf shirt is commonly used in everyday conversations, for example. Though the names might change, all refer to the idea of a lightly constructed shirt that has a collar, a few buttons (no more than three) in front of the neck with the ability to be buttoned up or left open as well as two narrow slits in the sides of the shirt at the bottom for better movement. While the material may change depending on your use for the polo shirt, many can be found in a wide range of colors and patterns in cotton, though the texture is created by using knitted cloth and not a woven material. Dressier versions of the polo shirt design can also be found, often in materials like wool, silk, or other manmade materials.
Most fashion history will point out that the ladies polo shirt originated as a piece in the tennis attire of men. Dating back to the 1800s and early 1900s, male tennis players would wear polo shirts to give them better ease of movement without sacrificing good looks during their matches. Instead of their traditional long sleeve shirts and ties, the players were able to move about the court more quickly when they added this more casual shirt to their wardrobe.
So, the development of the ladies polo shirt came from a need for comfort, rather than for a new style or statement. By realizing this, Rene Lacoste became the first person to design what we now know as the polo shirt. Having been a tennis player and champion himself, he knew the common problems with the stuffier outfits and realized that changes were necessary.
Of course the name ‘polo’ shirt seems to indicate that there was some relevance to the sport of polo as well – and this is an accurate assessment. As the popularity of the polo shirt increased in the sport of tennis, polo players saw the new design as advantageous to their sport as well and began to adopt this shirt for their playtime.
It’s also interesting to note that while the shirt is worn in a number of settings and activities, the name ‘polo shirt’ is the one that has stuck around to generally apply to all of these types of shirts. There are some companies that will label these shirts according to their purpose (tennis or golf, for example), but asking for a polo shirt will also lead you to the right style.
The popularity of this style began to extend to women as a general trend of more casual wear began to come into vogue. Women were able to still look attractive in a polo shirt and dressier trousers instead of having to wear a traditional dress or skirt. Women also adopted this look for the sheer ruggedness of the design and its ability to keep up with their busy lives – even outside of the tennis court or golf course.
Ladies polo shirts may have their origins in men’s history, but their appeal for women is remarkable. You can find polo shirts in every women’s department from infants to misses.