Summer would be a lot less bright if not for the polo shirt. These brilliant, short-sleeve classics have been a staple of every man’s off-duty wardrobe for decades. They’re truly the workhorse of your summer wardrobe—ready for golf, tennis and poolside lounging. Thought to have been made hip by the preppy set in the 1980s—who popped up the collars in cool defiance—they’ve actually been around quite a bit longer.
In the late 1920s, as French athlete René Lacoste was making history on the courts as a renowned tennis champion, his signature style was also making fashion history. While most of his fellow players wore long-sleeve shirts (and ties) during matches, Lacoste opted to wear a short-sleeve shirt that was lightweight and breathable—and made for an unencumbered swing. By the 1930s, with retirement approaching, the tennis champ did what most modern athletes do: He created a line of clothing that bore his name. His knit short-sleeve shirt, complete with its iconic logo, was introduced soon after. This shirt started a revolution in men’s active wear, with many clothiers introducing their own—including Brooks Brothers, whose Golden Fleece polo (taking its name from our iconic logo) was introduced in 1965.
Cut to the 1990s and early 2000s as business casual clothing quickly became de rigeur for the office. Men began to demand more structured polos—no longer settling for flimsy knit shirts and a generic fit. Recognizing this, Brooks Brothers began innovating a key part of our sportswear. Today’s Supima® Cotton Performance Polo is an evolution our quality tailoring and is offered in fine fabrics and three silhouettes: Classic, Slim and Extra-Slim Fit. Every knit shirt is built for long wear, too. “Our polos are not disposable,” says Guy Voglino, Vice President of Men’s Retail Global Merchandising at Brooks. “After 50 or 60 machine washes, they’re still wearing like new.” That’s a credit to the super-soft Supima cotton used to craft each shirt, which is specially treated to help these shirts retain their shape and to resist shrinking, fading and pilling. Plus, the inherent properties of Supima make the fibers absorb dye deeply for long-lasting, fade-resistant color.