REBEL BORN BOURGEOIS: HISTORY OF THE POLO T-SHIRT

REBEL BORN BOURGEOIS: HISTORY OF THE POLO T-SHIRT

Rebellious yet extremely elegant, worn by aristocrats on tennis courts, but also by the “Clash” on the stages of musical concerts. The history of the polo is fascinating and travels around the world: invented in India, appreciated and loved by the French, but with a proudly English passport.

The polo shirt represents many concepts and expresses many ideas (and ideologies). Retracing its history is a succession of emotions and journeys, as well as a true social evolution. The polo shirt has now become the symbol of a certain sporty/casual lifestyle, which however has taken unexpected paths.

The first to start wearing it were the officers stationed in the Ganges country: while they discovered the game of polo on horseback, they also adopted the practical t-shirt with a collar closed by 2 or 3 buttons, in a shirt style, with a breast pocket.

The history of the polo

At the end of the 19th century, Parisian aristocrats began a new trend of keeping fit by doing physical activity and dedicating themselves to sport.

JOHN BROOKS (Brooks Brothers) was enlightened by polo players during a business trip to England, where he attended a match. In fact, he decided to apply the collars of their uniforms to his shirts upon his return to America (hence the invention of the “button-down shirt”). Brooks considered the idea of button collars revolutionary and sought to capitalize on this innovation upon his return to the United States.

LEWIS LACEY (British polo player, of Canadian origin), created the horse polo player logo when he opened a sporting goods store in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the 1920s.

The polo t-shirt remained linked to the world of sport for a long time and in 1926, the tennis player RENE ‘LACOSTE (a bourgeois rebel), designed a new t-shirt which he wore in his tennis matches that year. At that time, people went to play tennis, dressed as if they were going to a formal aperitif. It was the beginning of a real triumph.

Lacoste cut the sleeves off the shirt and embroidered a crocodile (his lucky talisman). Lacoste had seen a crocodile in Boston in 1927, where he was with the team to play the Davis Cup semi-final against Australia. The meeting wasn’t exactly dangerous: the crocodile, in fact, was in a leather shop, translated onto a bag, which Lacoste immediately imagined was perfect for holding his rackets. The team captain, Pierre Gilou, mocking him, promised him that if he won the two singles matches he had to play, he would give him the bag.

About twenty years later, another tennis player, this time across the Channel, began to follow a similar path. But the story was completely different. FRED PERRY was in fact the son of a worker in a factory that produced cotton, and who became a Member of Parliament for the Labor Party. It was he who pushed his son to practice tennis: a form of reaction to what he had not been able to practice when he was young. In 1952, Fred Perry wore his first polo shirt at Wimbledon.

It was then RALPH LAUREN, in 1972, who definitively consecrated the combination of the name with that item of clothing thanks to his new fashion line, called “Polo”, which saw the Polo t-shirt as the real jewel in the crown of the entire collection.

Today this item of clothing is a true symbol of “easy” and informal elegance. In an increasingly dynamic world, where we try to dress without “constraints”, the polo t-shirt has now conquered the lights of many stages.

From the most classic sportswear, to “leisure”, from fashion to… workwear. Today the polo t-shirt is still living on the wings of its ancient success, and continues to evolve along a path of constant research and development.

BTECH has not remained immune to the charm of this item of clothing rich in history, and today offers its own “style” full of technicality, comfort and high-level performance.