, also known as a golf shirt
or formerly a tennis shirt
, is a T-shaped shirt with a collar, typically two or three buttons down a slit below the collar, and an optional pocket. A zipper may substitute for buttons, or neither may be present. Polo shirts are usually made of knitted cloth (rather than woven cloth), usually pique
cotton or, less commonly, silk, merino wool, or synthetic fibers.
In the nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries
, tennis players ordinarily wore "tennis whites" consisting of long-sleeved white button-up shirts (worn with the sleeves rolled up), flannel trousers, and ties.
As one might expect, this attire presented several problems for ease of play and comfort on the court.
René Lacoste, the French 7-time Grand Slam tennis champion, decided that the stiff tennis attire was too cumbersome and uncomfortable He designed a white, short-sleeved, loosely knit piqué cotton (he called the cotton weave jersey petit piqué) shirt with an un-starched, flat protruding collar, a buttoned placket, and a longer shirt-tail in back than in front (known today as a "tennis tail" which he first wore at the 1926 U.S. Open championship. Beginning in 1927, Lacoste placed a crocodile emblem on the left breast of his shirts, as the American press had begun to refer to him as "the alligator", a nickname which he embraced.
Lacoste's design mitigated the problems that traditional tennis attire created
- the short, cuffed sleeves solved the tendency of long-sleeves to roll ...