Monday, 16 April 2012

Polo and Fashion - second chukka

I noticed that I had a few visitors on my previous post called ‘Polo and Fashion’, particularly from North and South America, so I am going to write some more about fashion in the polo world!
Of course, the most obvious item of clothing that springs to mind when thinking about polo fashion, is the polo shirt. A long-sleeved polo shirt was originally worn by polo players in England, after the game arrived from India in 1834. Tennis player Rene Lacoste invented the short-sleeve polo shirt, with a longer tail, soft collar and loose knit in 1926, and it has since been adopted by polo players and golfers, as well as becoming leisurewear for us all.
Ralph Lauren introduced his version of the polo shirt in 1972, and it is now probably the most recognisable polo shirt brand in the world.
A more recent addition to the polo field are white jeans. This trend was started by the Argentinian polo players originally, and seems to have been adopted around the world. I’m unsure exactly when it became de rigueur in the UK, but looking back at old photos, it seems that some players had started wearing white jeans by 1970, although HRH Prince Charles was still wearing jodhpurs by 1988.
But what do you wear if you are going to watch a game of polo in the UK? It really depends on the type of event you are going to. If you are attending one of the famous polo games, such as Cartier or Veuve Cliquot, then you probably want to dress up.
Dressing up is easier for gents than ladies, as a pair of chino’s, smart shirt and blazer is the normal dress code for them.
For ladies it is a touch trickier to get right. Remember ladies, that polo matches normally take place in a field and you may have to walk from the car park, so avoid stilettos and long dresses. Hats are not mandatory, but by all means wear one if, like me, you burn easily on a summer’s day, as you may be sitting or standing outside for several hours.
If it is a damp summer’s day, I have worn a brightly coloured raincoat over my summer dress to Cartier, but at the Veuve Cliquot Gold Cup last year, I confess that I abandoned all thoughts of fashion, and went for comfort:

Low heel boots,

skinny jeans

and a trusty Barbour (with hood) are a girl’s best friend when standing behind the boards watching a polo match in showery rain! The same attire is also suitable for arena polo played outside in the British winter, but you may also want to add a warm gilet under your waterproofs.

If, however, you are a lady attending a less formal match, then jeans or a casual dress are all perfectly acceptable, for example when attending Polo in the Park at the Hurlingham Club or Gaucho Polo (indoor arena polo) at the O2. I have worn denim jeggings, black boots and a biker-style red Barbour to the Gaucho Polo.


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