The polo shirt improves its performance
THE TRADITIONAL polo shirt began life in
the late 19th century as, appropriately, a polo
shirt, popularized in India and transported to
colonial Britain by polo players. ;e white
Oxford-cloth cotton shirts were designed
with long sleeves and button-down collars to
keep them from ;apping in the faces of players as they were riding in the wind.
In the early 20th century, French seven-time Grand Slam champion René Lacoste set
out to design more comfortable tennis wear,
based on the long-sleeve polo shirt. Lacoste’s
short-sleeve design featured a small ribbed
protruding collar that was le; unstarched,
short sleeves with ribbed bands, a buttoned
placket and an elongated shirttail that would
not pull out during vigorous physical exertion. He ;rst wore the shirt at the 1926 U.S.
Open Championship and began to market
the design a;er retiring and forming the company Chemise Lacoste.
;e next stage in the shirt’s evolution has
been the development of the performance polo.
“We’re seeing performance fabrics making their way into a lot of apparel, particularly
in polo shirts,” says Costco buyer Dorothy
Weissman. Typically these shirts feature mois-ture-wicking properties and some polyester
to provide easy-care, no-iron maintenance.
Some performance fabrics also incorporate
UPF sun protection. A “plated” collar that
won’t curl up around the edges and a long
shirttail that remains tucked in are features of
the higher-quality polos.
“One of the great things about these
shirts is that the new fabrics let designers
work in a much wider variety of colors and
patterns,” says Dorothy. “;is means that the
shirts can be used for more than just golf or
tennis, and will look good in the o;ce or out
on the town.”—T. Foster Jones
By 1950 this shirt style was almost universally known as the polo shirt.
Polo shirts have been available in three
main styles stemming from Lacoste’s original
design: piqué, a durable garment fashioned in
a raised design; interlock, which feels so; and
;rm, with good elasticity; and lisle, which is
made by combing and then tightly twisting
long-staple cotton ;bers into two-ply yarn
that imparts a very silky, so; texture.
The Costco Connection
Costco is releasing a series of brand-name
performance polo shirts—including a
Kirkland Signature™ polo—over several
months: Greg Norman polo in January,
Hathaway and Adidas in March, Kirkland
Signature in April, Cutter & Buck in May
and Pebble Beach in June.
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FEBRUARY 2012 ;e Costco Connection 47