The back to school mood is so prevalent this season that even the most rebellious amongst us will struggle to stay out of looks resembling compulsory uniform. If Burberry can be blamed with reinstating the T-bar brogue in the extra-curricular wardrobe, then Prada are to blame for the resurgence in the PE polo shirt.
At the Italian house’s resort 2019 show, there they were tucked beneath sharp jackets and popping out in colour-block brights or abstract prints. Layered with chunky resin necklaces, this sportswear staple that gets pulled out for all kinds of competitive pursuits – golf, tennis, its namesake polo – proves to be a smarter take on sportswear than the ab-bearing tracksuits, second-skin leggings or chunky trainers that we tend to define the genre as today.
With a polo the opportunities are endless. Just ask Gigi Hadid. She took the classic Ralph Lauren style in a poppy tangerine shade for a spin after dark by teaming it with a silk floor-length skirt. This take has been championed on the Miu Miu catwalks for some time: a feather-trimmed skirt one season, a totally sheer sequined version the next.
At Dior, the big story of the season, tie-dye, was brought to life on a long-sleeved version and illustrates how the polo shirt can be the perfect gateway piece to help you transition from sportswear devotee to a smarter way of dressing, if your life is now expecting that of you. Bye, bye all-day uni pyjamas, hello professional polo shirts.
Of course, polo shirts worn off court are nothing new. In the ’00s they brought together those who wanted to channel frat-boy energy and those that were total Simple Life devotees. Nothing complemented a Juicy Couture tracksuit than a popped polo collar. Fred Perry’s style that continues to be made in England as they been since the ’50s, has become as much a signifier of Perry’s own tennis legacy as they are of the subcultures that have defined Britain’s landscape. They are forever a rock’n’roll favourite.
Today, keep it sharp in a fit that sits close to the body – for now, the oversized iterations are best left to the more senior members at your grandparent’s golf club – and then have fun with what you pair it with. Baggy denim shorts and sliders are solid partners when the some comes out, but as the weather warms up break up a twin-set suit like this gingham offering from ASOS with your polo popping through. Ralph Lauren’s tie-dye is our “if you only pick one” choice.
Game. Set. Don’t match. Get your hands on one of these polos now…