Let’s discuss polo shirts for a minute.
The common belief is that the ubiquitous polo shirt can also be called a tennis shirt or a golf shirt. This belief is wrong. Sorry. We fully understand that there are many among us who are genetically predisposed to a lack of grasp of nuance—and that is okay.
Let us explain the category subtleties.
If you want to look way back into the history of short-sleeved and collared shirts, the simple fact of the matter is that polo players started wearing short-sleeved, button-down-collared shirts, in order to keep the collars from flapping in their faces, sometime between the invention of the game and now.
Meanwhile, in France somewhere, René Lacoste decided that the kit typically worn for tennis was too much a pain in his style, so he developed the alligator logo and a shirt most commonly referred to these days as a polo shirt—even though it is actually a tennis shirt.
Sometime between that moment and the early 1970s, some golfers got together and declared tweed knickers and sport coats too formal for their beloved game, so they took Lacoste’s shirt design, changed the cut from Fitted French Svelte to Boxcar Roomy, employed some highly flammable synthetic fabric instead of the organic cotton of Lacoste’s original spec, and dubbed the design “Golf Shirt.” And, perhaps as an ode to the sport’s British Isle roots, many designers have seen fit to take British Racing Stripes and place them horizontally on their golf shirts to enhance the athletic shape many golfers choose to embrace.
Your obvious question at this point is: So, is this a bona fide polo shirt?
To be honest, this is a hybrid—part polo, part golf, part tennis. But we will refer to it as a polo shirt for the simple fact that you can play a sanctioned bike polo tournament but you can’t play bike golf or bike tennis.
Call it what you want, this is a really nice shirt that is suitable for just about any occasion.