History of the Polo

History of the Polo

From the courts to the catwalk.

Helping men strike the balance between formality and flair for almost a century, the polo shirt remains an indispensable style staple in wardrobes worldwide.

Suitable for all occasions, the modern polo shirt has its roots in tennis and was first worn by René Lacoste in the 1930s, who’d sought to create a less cumbersome and more comfortable alternative to the starched button-up shirts that had previously graced the courts. And at the US Open in 1926, an instant classic was born.

Offering increased movement and breathability, Lacoste’s creation quickly transcended the sport and, following his retirement, the seventime Grand Slam winner teamed with André Gillier to take his invention beyond rackets and balls.

Lacoste’s legacy lives on to this day and the brand’s motif pays homage to his tennis-playing nickname, ‘The Crocodile’, bestowed upon him by American journalists who marvelled at his ruthlessness on the court. His tennis shirt became the polo shirt when it was popularised by the American polo players of the 1950s, and it retains a prominence in both sports, alongside golf and badminton, while Fred Perry’s take on the style became an instant hit at Wimbledon in 1952.

The polo shirt achieved real fashion cut-through in 1972, when Ralph Lauren launched his original Polo collection, which drew inspiration from the polo player’s uniform, and showcased the look to a wider audience than ever before.

Available in practically any colour, made from a variety of materials, and manufactured and marketed by a hugely diverse line-up of brands, the polo shirt has evolved beyond recognition in the 90 years since Lacoste’s trail-blazing innovation.


Our snapshot of a classic.

Ben Sherman’s Romford polo shirt captures the elegance and versatility that characterises the modern pique style, offering a short sleeve classic fit in cotton.

With much of the brand’s heritage in the Mod movement of the 1960s, Ben Sherman’s Romford includes an affectionate nod to the era with twin tipping on the collar and cuffs, alongside our trademark branded tab and understated chest embroidery.

The Romford is available across 20 colourways, from a sharp bright white or hunter green to more subtle tones including ash blue and pineapple slice.

Pair a darker shade with our slim stretch chino in light ash or putty, or add a bright white Romford to Ben Sherman’s Camden fit trouser in navy.