The Lacoste L.12.12 Polo Shirt: A Modern Classic

It’s difficult to imagine a world without polo shirts. They are worn by people of all ages, from all walks of life. Your Granddad probably had one and the style icon James Dean was also a fan. Few have been able to escape the polo shirt’s sporty charm. 

 There’s no doubt about it, it’s a classic, and considered by many to be a solid staple in men’s and women’s wardrobes today. Hitting that perfect sweet spot between being dressier than a t-shirt but more casual than a button-up shirt. There are few items of clothing more loved and well respected than the humble polo shirt. Which is the most famous of them all? Everyone has their favourites. But what we can say for sure was which one came first and that was the Lacoste L12 L12 Polo shirt. 

In 1926 the French Tennis Player Renè Lacoste perhaps didn’t know it at the time but he was about to change mens fashion forever. In the 1920’s tennis players wear button up shirts with full-length trousers and Renè, quite rightly decided that this was not appropriate attire for the fast-paced game of Tennis. So he started using a shirt with a button-placket closure that was less rigid than the shirts from before. He chose to have a shirt made from cotton-mesh pique that was stretchy and allowed more ease of movement when playing. The shirt was the first of it’s kind and so he wanted it to be branded. He had been given nickname ‘crocodile’ due to the profile that his long nose gave him and so began ironing a small crocodile logo onto his shirt. It  was the first established clothing item to had visible branding on it.

Renè went on to win the US Open Championship that year. Other tennis players, perhaps seeking a technical advantage, became interested in the shirt and requests for their own shirts began to flood in. Soon the demand was not only coming from other tennis players but amateur’s and as dressing became less and less formal eventually made it’s way into everyday wear of people all over the world. 

The polo eventually became the now legendary L12 L12 Polo Shirt and still stands today as the most popular item in Lacoste’s range. It is characterised by several iconic features; ribbed collar and armbands, 2 button placket, mother of pearl buttons, a sporty yet relaxed fit, and of course created from 100% Piquè cotton. They come in almost any colour you can imagine and today there are multiple variants but the original is still as striking today as it was all those years ago. 

Here at Stuarts London we love the Lacoste L12 L12 Polo Shirt and we’ve got together a nice range online and in store. 


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