I wouldn’t say that I was your typical polo shirt wearer, but when the weather calls for it or we are on the continent, nothing speaks of summer to me like a Lacoste polo shirt, particularly a white one. Whilst it is a shame that mine remains in the wardrobe for most of the year, it does give me something to look forward to through the winter months. I remain a fan of the crocodile since I first discovered Lacoste at the tender age of 9yrs old, when I was at my most fashion conscious. Historically, however, like most cottons they shrink after the first wash so they are never long enough second outing or thereafter, resembling a crop top on some wearers. So they have never formed part of my wardrobe lexicon.
That was until I saw a picture of JFK wearing a long sleeve, grey cotton pique polo and khaki’s relaxing on the deck of a yacht; only the latter had appealed to me until that time, now all of a sudden, both did! Thus followed and intense search for the aforementioned polo, which lead me to Brooks Brothers, the American preppy outfitters. To the best of my knowledge, it was Brooks who had made those sported by JFK. While I was not taken with the buttoning single cuff design, I did rather like it’s pointed placket. And to my surprise, Brooks they still make that very design, but they are now only available in bold stripes and resemble an old school rugby shirt. Not the look I was hoping to achieve.
Foregoing my desire for the original Brook Brothers design of pointed placket, which no one else I could find offered, I continued my search for grey long sleeve polos, which lead me to J. Crew, who are my American outfitter of choice. To my delight they were able to provide me with a very similar grey cotton pique, long sleeve polo – albeit with a square placket but it does nothing to detract from the shirts appeal. I have patronised J. Crew since discovering their first foray into bricks and mortar in the UK, on Lambs Conduit St. in London. I now make good use of their basics such as chinos, belts, shorts, swimmers and the like.
So far, so good. But upon receipt, it was clear that I was no match for an American medium, so swapped them for a small. With regards proportion i.e. sleeve and back length, they are not far off, but they are too loose in the torso. Still, good for weekends spent playing with the saucepan lids. But nothing more.
However, following a chance encounter with with an old friend from the rag trade, I was informed of the Swiss shirtmaker whom they now work for, who have been making exquisite shirts for five generations. Keen to show me their wears, we met at our London outpost, The Hoxton Hotel to thumb some shirtings and see what was on offer. Amongst their rather fine offering of exquisite 2ply Swiss and Italian shirtings including Panama, Poplin, Fil-a-Fil, dobby and flannel to name but a few, there was an entire bunch dedicated to pique cottons for polo shirts – I couldn’t believe my luck!
Itching to give one a try, I commissioned a long sleeve polo in navy, believing it to be a more versatile colour to use for work, but using my own shirt measurements which I hoped would provide me the length and fit I desire. Less than 5 wks later, the shirt was finished. And I could not be more happy with the results; really good fit, great handle and wonderful shade of navy blue with subtly contrasting dark blue buttons. And as for the obligatory laundering test; she passed with flying colours!
When I had originally researched the long sleeve polo that JKF had worn, I was not a fan of the single button cuff. But this, among other design details such as more formal shirt collars including button down collars, are something which we can also offer; some of which we are now in the process of prototyping, courtesy of our Swiss counterparts.
In the meantime, the original Brown in Town long sleeve polo featuring the classic design of knitted cuffs and collar has received some glowing compliments and are now available, together with your choice of customisations, to order by appointment.
I hope that you will enjoy yours as much as I have mine; polo anyone..?!