Wednesday, April 1, 2009

How Tennis or Polo Shirt Evolve

The tennis shirt was not in this style back in the nineteenth or early twentieth century. Former tennis players had to contend with formal attires such as long-sleeved shirts, trousers and ties, which were just not practical on the court. The attire, similar to what we wear to office today, was stiff and awkward to wear while playing tennis. Therefore, Rene Lacoste, who was a French 7-time Grand Slam tennis champion, took matters into his hands and created a new line of apparel, specially designed to wear on the tennis court. Named after himself, Lacoste, this new tennis shirt was un-starched, made of loosely knitted pique cotton and had a longer shirt tail at the back. Also, the tennis shirt had a upturnable collar intended to protect the neck from prolonged sun exposure. Interestingly, this type of collar design was already discovered by polo players in the late nineteenth century, before Lacoste invented his tennis shirt in 1929. The idea of button-down collar stemmed from the need to keep the collar of the polo shirt from flapping in the wind. However, generally a polo shirt was unpleasant to wear as it was made of Oxford-cloth cotton and had long sleeves. As a result, the polo players were more than happy to adapt their polo shirts to Lacoste’s creation in the 1930s.

By 1950s, polo shirts were deemed as part of the standard tennis attire in America. It was highly sought after. In fact, the tennis players also cite their court uniform as a polo shirt”, although in reality, the t-shirt was initially designed for tennis and was only taken on by polo players a good many years later.

The t-shirt was made even more popular,because of Ralph Lauren. In 1967, he added polo shirt into his already famous clothing line called Polo. However, his polo shirts were not meant to be worn by professional players. They were only imitations of the style of what the polo players were wearing at that time.

The subsequent sport that adopted the design of tennis shirt was golf. As golf attire evolved into a more laidback and less formal design in the twentieth century, golfers started to wear tennis shirts as well. In fact, we see that almost all the golfers in the modern days wear tennis shirts. Lady golf attire is more creative with different shades of colors. But the design for golf shirt is a bit different from tennis shirt as it has various golf cuts. Meanwhile, tennis shirts have evolved into its own clothing category of clothing due to its perpetual popularity. Both men and women today wear it as daily attire. When round-neck T-shirts are considered too casual and official business wear too formal, many semi-professional and retail workers find tennis shirts or polo ralph lauren favorable. As a result, almost every major clothing producer has come up with some kind of imitations of Lacoste’s tennis shirts. At present, people regard tennis shirts as smart casual wear.