Polo Shirt History

The History of the Polo Shirt


Ralph Lauren’s Polo shirts trace their origins to a polo club in Argentina in the late 19th century, where players found that the traditional gear for the game was just too hot to play in. In 1920 one of Argentina’s polo stars, Lewis Lacey, opened a sports shop in Buenos Aires, where he sold the shirt embossed with the logo of a player astride a pony. Within a few years moneyed gentry began donning custom-made polo shirts as leisure wear on the French Riviera and at other international watering spots. In 1933 French Tennis Star Rene Lacoste, known as “le Crocodile” for his snappy style of play, began producing a polo shirt with a crocodile logo on the breast. Lacoste’s garment was first marketed in the U.S. in 1951 under the name of a famous English tailor, Jack Izod. The Izod Lacoste shirt quickly became an American standard. In 1972 Lauren introduced a version featuring his own polo-player motif.

Source: http://time.com/4055543/ralph-lauren-polo-shirt/

Big Pony

Since 2005, Ralph Lauren has partnered with sports associations like the United States Tennis Association, and outfitted Wimbledon in 2006. The “Big Pony” logo sprang up around this time as a way to make the Polo branding much more visible. “The Big Pony has been associated with the product collections tied to our successful sporting partnerships such as Olympics, U.S. Open and Wimbledon,” said a Ralph Lauren spokesperson to The Wall Street Journal in 2012, when they sponsored the Olympic Team Uniforms. Most of the Big Pony shirts have the number ‘3’ on the right sleeve because player “Number Three is the tactical leader … and … the best player on the team.”


Most of the Big Pony shirts are monochromatic, but there are some full color versions as well.

The U.S. Polo Association took the large-logo trend a step further, embroidering two horse-and-rider teams. Not to be outdone, Ralph Lauren released a special edition shirt with an entire polo match on the front!

Animal Logos

Animal logos are a common motif on polo shirts—from left to right: Lacoste, Banana Republic, Express, Abercrombie & Fitch, Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren Polo, Original Penguin by Munsingwear, American Eagle, Hollister

Trends come and go, but the standard for polo shirts is to leave the top unbuttoned and the collar down.