The polo shirt as we know it today made its debut at the US Open in 1929. The short-sleeved shirt was the brainchild of tennis superstar Rene Lacoste and was made from a lightweight pique cotton jersey. It featured a three button placket and a soft collar that was just stiff enough to be turned up to protect the neck from the hot summer sun. Before this revolutionary moment, tennis players had been forced to wear buttoned-up shirts with long sleeves that were perpetually rolled-up; an indication of just how uncomfortable and restrictive these garments were.
This modern polo shirt struck the all too elusive balance of being both comfortable and smart, and Lacoste soon spotted a business opportunity. Partnering with American manufacturer Andre Gillier in the 1930s, the pair put the modern tennis shirt into mass production. It was at this point that the polo shirt became the uniform for all competing tennis players. Seeing it’s obvious benefits, it wasn’t long before it was also adopted by polo players and golfers alike.