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The polo shirt: a symbol of casual chic

Today, this "T-shirt with a collar" is a staple in men's wardrobes, whether worn for sport - its original vocation from which it takes its name - or for everyday wear. Created in 1926, this comfortable yet elegant garment transcends the boundaries between sportswear and fashion, being worn by chic American students, hip-hop stars and... James Bond.

From sportswear to a marker of elegance

Is it any wonder that this top bears the same name as a famous equestrian sport? It's no coincidence. In fact, it was while watching Indians practicing this discipline that the English spotted this outfit - then more akin to a long-sleeved shirt - which they then imported to Europe. At the same time, they adopted this sporting practice created 2,500 years before in Central Asia ("pholo" meaning "ball game" in Tibetan) and gradually adapted the garment to make it more practical. At the end of the 19th century, buttons were added to the collar, which became awkward when players galloped.

But it was a Frenchman who invented today's polo shirt: René Lacoste, the world's number 1 tennis player in the 1920s. To play more comfortably, he replaced the shirt's historic cotton with a more breathable piqué knit, restricted the collar fastening to 2 buttons and shortened the sleeves (a bold move given that, until then, only workers and farmers wore shirtsleeves).

Success was immediate and, with his partner André Gillier, he created the "crocodile brand" bearing his name in 1933. Gradually adopted outside sports circles, polo shirts became a staple of streetwear in France in the 2000s, a style born of urban fashion embodied by the Kaporal brand, for example (see men's polo on

1 garment / multiple uses

One of the keys to the timeless success of this top is certainly its ability to adapt to every type of person and situation.

For example:

  • With a chino and moccasins, it will evoke preppy style and sailing in chic seaside resorts.
  • With jeans, it's just as suitable for a service industry executive who doesn't want to appear too stuffy as it is for a Parisian bobo who appreciates its casual side.
  • With shorts and sneakers, it's its sporting origins that will come to the fore, whether or not you play tennis or rugby.
  • Finally, with cargo pants or a branded tracksuit, it's the hip-hop star or skater in you who will express himself.

Another reason for its longevity is that it is suitable - if chosen correctly - for all body shapes. A few tips for choosing the right size:

  • Are you a slimmer person? Don't choose a model that's too wide. Wearing your polo close to the body will be more elegant and, by buttoning it up, your shoulders will stand out better.
  • Are you of average build? You can opt for a slim fit that's spontaneously comfortable, or, if you want to show off your bust more, go for a slim fit that's better suited to your curves.
  • If you're more of a powerhouse? Don't hesitate to choose a loose-fitting size, as the straight cut of a polo can bring out your curves. And choose a dark color like black.

The final advantage of polo shirts is in fact the range of colors available. Mostly plain (except for the collar in some cases), it can satisfy every taste and be adapted to the season with, for example, pink, blue or yellow in summer and, in winter under a sweater, burgundy, duck green or gray. A wide choice to be found on the website of French brand Kaporal.

From presidents to models, from Hollywood stars to top athletes: this symbol of casual elegance needs to be in your wardrobe to, also, embody a certain French chic.

Valérie from Comme des Français