A polo shirt, also referred to as a tennis or golf shirt, is a shirt that has a soft collar and short-sleeves. It also has an abbreviated button placket at the neck and a slightly longer back than front. While urban wear has included more fashions that use the polo shirt, generally speaking individuals, particularly men who wear polo shirts have in popular culture been synonymous with men of middle to upper class upbringing. Before the last ten or so years when polo shirt wear was almost worn indiscriminately by both men and women of various socioeconomic backgrounds, polo shirts were largely worn by preppy, rich individuals who, as the name suggests, played sports such as polo, tennis and golf.
Polo shirts were perhaps most popularized after Gram Slam champion René Lacoste who did not like the stiff and starchy feel of the status quo tennis shirts to which he and his contemporaries were forced to wear in the 1920s. He decided to make a tennis shirt made out of a looser cotton knit that would provide “give” during games, and presumably wouldn't irritate the skin. While Lacoste was famous for making for polo shirt famous for tennis aficionados, the polo shirt did originate as a shirt worn by polo players. Historically, however, those polo shirts were initially long-sleeved and then evolved to primarily be worn with short-sleeves in order to make playing more comfortable.
As of the early 1970s, fashion behemoth, Ralph Lauren, debuted his version of the polo shirt, which to date is perhaps the most iconic version. If it is not the most iconic version, it certainly ties with Lacoste’s version of the polo shirt with the emblematic Crocodile symbol on the left breastplate area of each shirt. Polo shirts can be dressed down with jeans and fashionable sneakers, or they can be dressed up with a suede blazer and dress shoes. Polo shirts are versatile garments that can be purchased affordably. For instance, shops like the Gap sell them for no more than forty dollars, whereas higher end shops can sell them for more than ten times that amount. Regardless, they are still greatly popular shirts that can be worn in a preppy, hipster, urban, etc. way.
When worn correctly, can be used to show status, class and elite-ness in a man (and woman)