Romper suits, extra-wide-leg trousers and Brit-pop sunglasses; the items that are set to make the biggest impact on our wardrobes this summer could be the most divisive. We may be a bit pre-emptive in our prediction, but we do not envisage the ‘Rom-Him’ – the official title for the romper suit for men – to see out this summer, let alone for seasons to come. So, when it comes to preparing for the upcoming sun-soaked season we are relying on an old favourite - the long-sleeved polo shirt.
We’ve spoken about how a lot of what we wear today finds its origins on the sports field – including the ever-popular drawcord trouser – but the polo shirt could be the greatest sportswear crossover of them all. It was originally introduced in the mid 1920’s by Mr Rene Lacoste, the French tennis player who was looking for a comfortable and contemporary alternative to the simple tennis whites of the day. Yet it wasn’t until the 50’s and 60’s that the polo shirt shook off its sporting roots with thanks to Steve McQueen, Pele, Paul Newman et al. who turned the comfortable sportswear staple into a casual, and more elegant, all-round shirt.
One of the defining features of the original polo shirt was its material; its subtly textured, soft woven fabric known as pique cotton. Chosen for its lightweight and breathable touch, pique cotton was the perfect alternative to the traditional, heavier tees worn in the early 20th century. In the case of the modern day, and the emergence of the knitted polo shirt, the formality of the traditional sportswear piece has been upped a little further.
What makes the polo shirt such a versatile piece, and the reason why so many of us pick one up each summer, is how easily it transcends its sporting origins. Yes, it still maintains the fundamental sporting design elements – short sleeves, soft collar and the half-button placket – but by adopting a fine-knit construction, it also looks incredibly sleek and elegant. Contemporary British brand Timothy Everest – known for its exquisitely fine-knit staples that shows in its range of long-sleeved polos – pay homage to tradition with one of our favourite styles of the season, the Black Lightweight Polo Shirt.
In a classic all-black colour hue and a sharp point collar that makes it a little more formal, this Timothy Everest polo shirt is defined by its tailored fit and delicate mother of pearl button placket. The luxurious cotton-cashmere blend elevates the polo above the ordinary and makes it an extremely functional piece that is suitable for daily wear. Particularly when it is worn to bridge the gap between the relaxed nature of a t-shirt and the formality of a collared shirt with the use of a simple turn-up trouser. Our choice, the Seersucker Trouser from Uniforms For The Dedicated is another piece that pays tribute to a second summer trend with its vertical stripe design – and is made suitable for the hot weather with its slightly tapered fit, drawstring elasticated waist and lightweight cotton composition.
It’s not worth losing the formal edge and the slim-cut of the polo shirt by pairing it with a pair of classic sports sneakers, so wear yours with a clean slip-on silhouette such as the Common Projects Retro. A quick and easy-to-wear sneaker, they come with premium black suede uppers that are complemented by the brand’s trusted off-white rubber sole that helps to underline the entire outfit. Finish with discreet, tonal accessories such as the Black Mirror Sunglasses from Monc, the Inventery Stainless Steel Trinket Ring and the Kitmen Keung Long Distance 1.0 Watch, to ensure that the sharp lines of polo shirt shine all the brighter in the summer sun.