Technicalities | The Polo® Shirt

File this under, did you know.

Speaking of OCBDs. Did you know that Polo, the Ralph Lauren mega-brand, can’t use the word “Polo” on a polo shirt? The word “polo” when used in reference of a woven shirt with a button down collar, is the property of none other than the shirt’s inventor, Brooks Brothers. It is also worth pointing out that Mr. Ralph Lauren was a tie salesman at the Brooks flagship store (346 Madison) just prior to launching his label. Coincidence? Maybe not.

The original Polo.

As my father likes to say: “That is a little known fact, not worth knowing.”

Comments on “Technicalities | The Polo® Shirt

    rye on the rocks on September 4, 2008 10:40 PM:

    Very interesting. I have been schooled.

    Rich on August 17, 2009 11:58 PM:

    Nice fun post.

    I won a bet for knowing that at the ky derby.

    Whens that bag come out?

    David on August 18, 2009 12:50 AM:

    I honestly have wondered why the Yarmouth shirt by Ralph Lauren had a different label. It might be a little known fact not worth knowing for most, but this really satisfies a long-time curiosity for me!

    BobbyRieg on August 18, 2009 1:00 AM:

    I always thought of Polo shirts as the cotton pull over with three buttons at the front like the ones L L Bean sells. Maybe that’s an Ohio thing, but that’s what calls them. Probably used as a style rather than a brand name.

    Adam on August 18, 2009 6:38 AM:

    These aren’t polo shirts, they’re oxfords.

    Josh on August 18, 2009 7:50 AM:

    Adam’s correct in that “polo” has come to define the tennis shirt, but he also demonstrates the trouble with not reading fully the link posted. Follow Adam’s link and scroll down to the subtitle, “Application to polo and other sports”. There you will see that Brooks Brothers is referenced as the inventor of what was then known as the polo shirt.

    To wit:

    “Before Lacoste’s 1933 mass-marketing of his tennis shirt, polo players wore thick long-sleeve shirts made of Oxford-cloth cotton. This shirt was the first to have a buttoned-down collar, which polo players invented in the late nineteenth century to keep their collars from flapping in the wind (Brooks Brothers’s early president John Brooks noticed this while at a polo match in England, and began producing such a shirt in 1896). Brooks Brothers still produces this style of button-down ‘polo shirt’.”

    Speedmaster on September 8, 2009 8:08 AM:

    Very interesting, thanks!

Comments are closed.