By Nii B. Andrews.
A return to the tropics a few days ago made me reach again for a polo shirt.
My preference is for the long sleeved version in pique; the sleeves can always be rolled two thirds of the way up if needed; it is not always appropriate to show bare arms.
The secret weapon is a denim polo.
When well made, the polo has a tail such that it can remain tucked in at all times so as to maintain the best silhouette. It also features mother of pearl buttons with crow foot stitching in the high quality models.
As always, the key to pulling off a polo is getting the right fit. Look for ones that are slightly trimmer in the body, with short sleeves they should hit around the middle of your bicep.
The shirt lengths could be long or short, but if they hang below the hips, it is best to tuck it in.
Of course the solid colors are best, particularly white, navy, forest or olive green, chocolate brown and wine.
If there are no logos or breast pockets, that is excellent; being a corporate bill board has its implications and disadvantages.
The polo shirt was created early in the twentieth century for playing polo; it was the first sports shirt and originally short sleeved.
In the 1920s it was adapted for playing tennis and this culminated in the creation of the famous Lacoste shirt in 1953 with the alligator logo.
Today, the polo is the go to shirt for casual occasions.
But it is preferable if the polo has a stiff and high enough collar so that it can remain above the collar of a sports jacket or blazer or safari jacket.
Such a configuration helps to frame the face; prevents the neck from looking solitary and pole like and assists in covering the hollow at the anterior base of the neck.
A soft floppy collar on a faded or shapeless polo in terms of aesthetics leaves much to be desired. Those types of polo ought to be reserved for doing chores around and within the house.
Well fitting chinos, corduroy, linen or dress pants over brown dress loafers or chukkas complete the elegant look. If anyone suggested spectators, then they certainly must be in a high style bracket with the elan to carry it off.
A casual belt such as woven leather or surcingle can always also provide additional interest.
Cargo shorts or pants accompanying a polo whether topped with a baseball cap and sneakers on the feet should be reserved if at all for a very limited number of occasions.
Why? Let us simply say it obviously lacks a “certain exquisite propriety” of dress that Lord Byron admired and referenced in Brummell.
There are almost always much better options for a comfortable casual/ laid back outfit or ensemble.
As in all things with a refined sartorial elegance, the ladies can certainly also partake in sporting the polo…and the savvy ones do. See Jacky O above!
Long live the polo with no logos or cargos, please!